On April 16, FIT invited different inspiring personalities to talk about innovation and creativity. The event was called FIT Talks. The idea was simple and effective; each guest would go on stage and talk for 15 to 20 minutes. Each speech had to center around innovation – something that is significant to the FIT community.
The event started with Maurice Bretzfield, who has been working as a digital marketing consultant for over forty years, helping businesses and individuals differentiate themselves. His topic was Digital Identity, which to him is a key point for every human being. “If you don’t build your digital persona, others will create it for you,” said Bretzfield, beginning his talk. He lectured on the importance of digital presence and building a personal brand, encouraging the audience to get ahead of the game by emphasizing the fact that they are digital natives. “You need to become storytellers; thought leaders. Draw people to your stories by keeping fantasy alive. You need to engage with others by promoting collaboration among your peers.”
Tosha Cole Clemens, a Product Development graduate, spoke about being a fashion writer in today’s industry. Interestingly enough, she has no academic knowledge on journalism or communication. Yet, now she is the proud owner of a PR & Branding Agency that specializes in product placement and works as an international fashion writer. Clemens explained how to stand out as a fashion writer step-by-step. Figure out what you are passionate about; stay in the know; respect your responsibility as a writer; start a blog; get social; contribute to build a portfolio and always be aware that you are your brand. “Be your voice, be what you represent, be as consistent as possible.”
The third speaker, Marie Driscoll, focused her talk on how clothing has become a commodity, yet technology is where people are spending their money. Driscoll is a highly knowledgeable equity analyst with experience on apparel brands, apparel retailers and luxury goods stocks. She spoke about how the consumer is demanding and has all of the power in retail.
William Graper followed, making quite an impression when he said “Creativity in fashion is dead.” Graper is an FIT graduate and has been working as a stylist for publications such as Vogue and V Magazine, among others. Graper stressed that it is our generation that needs to change the tone. He emphasized the need to be conscious of how much creative control we adopt from the leading creative minds of today’s industry instead of cultivating our own creativity.
Sarah Lewitin is currently the Music Director for the popular Canadian fashion brand Aritzia. Lewitin thinks that music helps encourage the spending habits of consumers and she believes that the shopping experience should be as pleasant as possible. “You want to be singing along, to be dancing in the changing room the same way you want to picture yourself doing it at home, at a bar or with your friends. You want that experience to be seamless.”
The event ended with Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, speaking about The Museum and how technology will completely transform the industry. When asked which exhibition she has curated is her favorite, she answered, “The exhibition about the corset reflects twenty years of research in my life and it was studying the corset that turned me on into studying fashion history. That is the one that was most important next to Gothic Glamour and Daphne Guinness’s exhibition.”
Each of the speakers had their own point of view about different aspects of the technological, fashion and creative businesses, but one thing is certain: all of them together result in a master-class of inspiration.