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Alumni Notes


JOEL SPECTOR, FASHION ILLUSTRATION, got into portraiture after enjoying a multi-decade career in illustration, with an emphasis on fashion (Women’s Wear Daily, Lord & Taylor, Bill Blass, Christian Dior). A finalist in the Portrait Society of America’s 2011 International Portrait Competition, Spector has a portrait of actor Eli Wallach on display at the Players Club. His portrait of opera singer Patrice Munsel, which is in the permanent exhibition at the National Arts Club, will be displayed at the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center next year.


MICHAEL CORITSIDIS, ADVERTISING AND COMMUNICATIONS, is a job-readiness strategist and work experience program counselor with FEGS, a nonprofit health and human services organization. Coritsidis is also an independent career coach who offers one-on-one and group counseling based on his own “Seven Steps to Employment Success System,” which covers everything from resume writing to interview techniques.


LAUREN ISAACSON-LEV, ADVERTISING AND COMMUNICATIONS, TEXTILE AND APPAREL MARKETING ’82, is vice president of business development at Impressions, a marketing communications agency on Long Island, and an adjunct assistant professor of Advertising and Marketing Communications at FIT. She also blogs about marketing communications and the media for Patch (, the hyper-local online community news platform.


EVE HEIDENREICH LILLEY, PATTERNMAKING TECHNOLOGY, moved to Boise, ID, eight years ago and founded Transformations Custom Sewing. Working from sketches and current garments, Lilley and her staff produce copies and original designs for both apparel and home decor. When clients need fine fabrics, Lilley sends them to her friend, Diana Turner ’84 (see below). Lilley previously worked at Calvin Klein and Christian Dior and operated a home sewing business in Seattle for 13 years.


PAUL GALLO, FASHION DESIGN, lives in California, where he started his own eponymous label, now known as Gallofornia. He co-founded Shannon-Gallo Skinwear with FIT classmate Toni Shannon, and he also co-designs the women’s line Effie’s Heart, designs costumes for theater and film, teaches design at City College of San Francisco, and sells his patented Getta Grip Sewing Clips, an alternative to conventional fabric pins, which come etched with original artwork.


DIANA SIMPSON TURNER, FASHION BUYING AND MERCHANDISING, runs Caledonia Fine Fabrics in Boise, ID. Turner began sewing at her mother’s fabric shop in Westchester, NY, put herself through college managing Georgeou Furs, and ran a chain of Benetton outlets in Boise and Seattle before founding Caledonia with her mom in 1995. Today, the 6,000-square-foot facility includes a fabric showroom, a yarn shop, and a sewing school. It was featured in the October 2010 issue of Glamour.


CONNIE CARMAN, FASHION BUYING AND MERCHANDISING, is the buyer for the Fairmont Store in the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. Carman, who previously worked for Banana Republic and The Limited, also runs Couture Planet (, which sells handbags made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled newspaper. She’s currently working on a line of men’s accessories.


YOLANDA BRUNSON-SARRABO, MARKETING: FASHION AND RELATED INDUSTRIES, is associate product line manager at Foot Locker Inc., where she oversees global private label programs in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Brunson is also the author of The Ins and Outs of the Fashion Industry—From a Fashion Insider (iUniverse, 2005); founder of the fashion website; and a wardrobe consultant to independent film company New Breed. She is currently establishing a foundation in memory of her mother, a lung cancer victim, and plans to publish her next book, Another Face ... of Multiple Myeloma, this year.


ELIZABETH OLSEN, ACCESSORIES DESIGN, founded her own footwear company, Olsen Haus Pure Vegan, in 2008. Her high-fashion designs, manufactured with sustainable, animal-free materials (recycled milk jugs, detergent bottles, and industrial waste), have won attention from Vogue and InStyle, and from celebrity customers like Abbie Cornish and Alicia Silverstone. She previously served as creative director for Tommy Hilfiger Handbags, freelanced for Calvin Klein and Liz Claiborne, and worked as a stylist in both print and film.


JENNIFER RAINES, INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND MARKETING, FASHION MERCHANDISING MANAGEMENT ’05, will enter Harvard Business School this fall. For the past five years, Raines has worked as business development manager for Lilly Pulitzer Signature Stores. She has handled everything from sales and marketing to finance and logistics for the company’s wholesale licensed partner stores, which function as independently owned boutiques selling Lilly Pulitzer products.


KATELYN BISCHOF, FASHION DESIGN, was one of nine finalists in the 2011 Oscars Designer Challenge; her silver satin gown, decorated with gold embroidered leaves and Swarovski crystal beading, was featured in a video on the Academy Awards website. Bischof, who hopes to start her own design company in Manhattan, was asked to compete after a contest coordinator saw her work at FIT’s 2010 BFA fashion show.

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