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Paola Aguado
Miami, FL and Venezuela

Art has always been a big influence in my life because of my mother. My mom is a sculptor and she sold her work in local art festivals in Miami. She has always inspired me to create. When I was in the fifth grade, I designed my own dress for my graduation, and my mother made it for me. Since then, I wanted to be a designer. I loved the entire process of making my dress. I would often sketch things out and have my mom make them for me. As I got older, my mother taught me how to sew and since then I’ve been making my own clothes. Creating has always been part of my life and that’s what I love about fashion the most. Fashion to me is not just clothes. It’s art, it’s something beautiful, and something I hope I’ll be doing for the rest of my life.

Raul Aktanov
New York City

My mother taught me how to sew at an early age. That experience has helped me understand the fundamental principles of clothing construction. I have lived many different places and traveled the world. My life before the Fashion Institute of Technology opened me to the simple joys of living wherever I am. Experiencing different cultures and people has allowed me to look at art through a prism of understanding and openness. As I entered FIT’s stimulating environment, my technical skills were polished and my creative abilities were honed even further, thus making me a better creative curator.

Raife Aydin
Istanbul/Turkey

I have been interested in artistic expression since I was a little kid. I started by making music and writing, but I have since discovered that I have a passion for design. Design excites me, and I have a talent for expressing myself through garments. I find it very interesting to adapt any kind of inspiration into covering our bodies. This led me to enroll at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I evolved my skills and my vision in school. I am trying to feed myself every day from any kind of art or life form to design unique pieces. My uniqueness as a designer is that I have an unusual sight on interpreting life through art, and yet I embrace the fact that there is no limit for learning, or improving myself as an artist, or a human being.

HeeJin Baek
Korea

I was born and raised in Korea. When I was a student at Art College in Korea, I decided to challenge myself by traveling abroad alone. My first destination was New York. New York really opened my eyes to fashion. I was very fascinated by the people and their freedom of expression through fashion. I had never realized how much I had been in love with fashion until I visited New York. New York City is my inspiration. Every experience I have had here influences my design. Everybody has a unique personality and life story. I believe what we wear daily tells stories of our lives and our unique personalities. This is why fashion continues to inspire me and urges me to work harder than ever to obtain my dream.

Ariel Biern
Rhode Island

My interest in fashion started at a young age. I enjoyed spending my days alone playing with my Barbies. I repurposed their clothes with a stapler and tape and gave them haircuts to match their look. I loved all aspects of design. If I wasn't dressing my dolls, I was rearranging the furniture in my house or picking out my mother’s outfit for the night. My father is a jewelry designer and his work influenced my interest in design. I was also inspired by his impressive collection of erotic vintage movie posters and rare marbles. The only time I am truly in my element is when I am designing. It stimulates me in every area. I also enjoy being around other designers. We all have a connection and it's exciting to be around people who share your passion.

Brandie Burditt
Houston, TX

I grew up in an unexciting town outside of Houston. I became interested in art and drawing mostly as an escape from my boredom. I gravitated toward fashion sketches in my teenage years as I became more aware of clothing and style. The total lack of clothing stores, much less exciting clothing, only fueled my desire to become a fashion designer. If I couldn’t buy cool clothes, I’d just have to make them. My teenage desire for interesting, weird, but wearable clothes speaks to my aesthetic now. The combination of dramatic, gathered silhouettes with simple, modern fabrics or pared-down garments covered with a curious print really encompasses my lifelong desire for captivating fashion.

Jinjoo Cho
Korea

My designs won't just stay on flat paper. I design clothes that are tangible. The most exciting part for me as a fashion designer is the process of actualizing the designs that are in my head. The process is not like waving a magic wand. I struggle for hours or days to figure it out, and it is hard not to give up. But as I struggle with it, I get a better understanding of the human body and fabrics. It always spurs me on to another creation. And that, I believe, makes me a better designer.

Lynn Choi
Chicago, Il

I have been interested in fashion ever since I was little. I loved the assortment of fabrics and colors in the aisles of fabric stores. I have always been captivated by the fact that you can express yourself by manipulating fabrics into something new and exciting. My design aesthetic focuses on creating new things out of simple shapes, always searching for something unexpected and organic. Fashion is a form of art, a way to express who you are and how you’re feeling. This is why I became a designer.

Michael Christopher Creegan
Clarks Summit, PA

Forward and progressive. My design aesthetic has been in the making from a very young age. My youth revolved around creativity. My passion for architecture and graphic design (and prior education in the latter) eventually informed my work in fashion. Since moving to New York in 2009, my perspective has found a home in fashion design. With a sci-fi look into the past and a pure look into the future, my design aesthetic straddles the lines between minimalism and maximalism, utopian and dystopian. As a young designer, I believe that my work stands tall due to my unwavering point of view and my conviction with silhouette and textiles. I strive to make people think through blurring the lines of fantasy and reality.

Carla Davis
Brooklyn, New York

I've had an innate interest in fashion ever since I can remember. I had my first encounter with fashion design in my high school fashion class. Since then, I have been immersed in it between classes and industry experiences. Fashion design, like other modes of art, provides an outlet for self-expression without verbalization. Fashion has a truly transformative power, and can invoke feelings in the wearer, making him or her feel any range of emotions. I love the process of seeing a design through to fruition, from the initial idea, to sketching, to production.

Dani Dvash
Tel Aviv, Israel

My first encounter with apparel—or perhaps I should say proper clothing—was in grandfather's atelier in my hometown in Israel. When I was around seven years old, my dad would invite me to tag along. Each time, I would gladly oblige, anticipating the reunion with the wool stacks on the first floor, and the brown patterns hanging by my granddad's sewing machine, along with chalk and a cushion of pins. For me, it was a place where refined sorcery happened every single day. It was where a plain piece of wool was cut and carved to fit a man's body in the most attractive and intelligent way I could imagine. Sometimes we would meet a client who came in for a fitting, trying on a raw jacket that was missing its sleeves. I would observe them as they fine-tuned the piece, learning the little secrets of the process almost like a spy. Years later I rebelled against my family's wishes for me to pursue a more "realistic" career, or at least a science-based one. (Both of my parents have degrees in chemistry from the University of Moscow). Instead, I followed my passion to carve something of my own. I started with private sewing lessons, which evolved into a professional fashion design program in Tel Aviv. Eventually, I found my way to New York City to continue my education and professional training at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Corby Enfiejian
McEwensville, PA

For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with beauty. Be it the opulence of Versailles or the simplicity of a sunset, it all fascinated me. At some point, I began to think about how people can incorporate beautiful things into their daily lives. Fashion was the first thing that came to mind, and in my early teenage years I decided to go into fashion design. When it comes to apparel, there are infinite ways to create wearable art. As a designer, I am inspired by art, nature, fantasy, and grandeur, and I incorporate these elements into my design process. Because everyone wears clothes, and everyone deserves to wear something beautiful.

Nil Ergun
Turkey

I’m a 22-year-old Fashion Design student. I am half Colombian and half Turkish. I have always felt very lucky about this combination because I grew up with two completely different cultures. Therefore, I have gained different points of view and tastes of life. I am fluent in three languages: English, Spanish, and Turkish. Besides fashion, I’m interested in dancing and have been doing professional Latin dancing for two years now. I was seven years old when I decided to become a fashion designer. Because I have always been determined and patient, I never lost the excitement and the enthusiasm I had inside. And I know to survive in the fashion industry. You need to be willing to observe and create each time and be happy with what you are doing.

Emily Downs
New Hope, PA

Since I was a little girl I’ve been attracted to fabric, color, and fashion. I always wanted to pick out my own clothes and mix and match different colors, patterns, and textiles. I always knew my love for fashion could be my career path. During my time at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I’ve channeled my passion through design. I’ve also learned elements of the industry that not only can fulfill a dream, but also a career. I’ve come a long way since I was a little girl, but I still am attracted to the same inspirations. In my senior collection I went back to my roots, quite literally (in my Swiss chard print). I have incorporated colors, images, and patterns that are close to my heart. One element I’ve always loved about fashion is the ability to cohesively mix and match all different kinds of textiles. My collection illustrates that combining fabrics in different innovative ways has been my inspiration.

Kaiya Fine
New York City, NY

I do not know if I would label myself as a designer. I have always been observant. All my life I have been inspired by my surroundings, from people to materials. All our secrets are held in the details. It is a scientific fact that we are always evolving, and I think that fact pertains to both our physical and emotional states. Emotion is what drives us and fashion is just another way to express that. I have learned through my years at school that fashion comes in all shapes and styles. Everyone needs to dress him or herself, and as a designer we get the privilege to give another self-expression through our own artistic inspiration. I can only hope that as I continue to grow my love for things and people grow with me.

Dianna Gonzalez
Yonkers, New York

I became interested in fashion design as a child. My mother used to work for a clothing factory. I took fashion seriously when I was in high school, where I majored in fashion and learned sewing and draping. I loved sewing and drawing but did not know how to pursue it until a former student of the Fashion Institute of Technology talked to me about the school. I continued my education in design because I enjoy making something conceptual into a garment. I enjoy the process of sewing and garment development. I was most inspired by my mother. I differentiate myself from the rest because I am inspired by firsthand experiences, such as train stations. I want my clothing to be realistic and wearable.

Simone Henry

I was born on the right side of an island in the West Indies. I lived there with my father on a huge farm until I was seven years old. Instead of playgrounds and Barbie dolls, my sister and I had never-ending fields, gardens, and flower dolls. We had the freedom to explore and let our imaginations run wild. I was very active as a child and had dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete. I still have that athletic spirit mixed with island vibes. Sportswear allows me to express that through design. I am especially drawn to swimwear and resort wear. I love to play with contrast and I’m greatly inspired by people and cultures.

Robert Jakacki
Detroit, Michigan

I am constantly toying with the themes of simplicity and androgyny. I design by stripping classics down to their essentials and giving them new functions, like a jacket into a T-shirt or a tunic into a men’s coat. I am drawn to tight color stories and fabrics with very rich textures. I like applying these rich textiles to simple contemporary silhouettes that are easy and wearable. It gives the feeling of a relaxed elegance, not too dressed up and not too dressed down. I have a heavy interest in menswear, whether as a source of inspiration for women’s wear or designing for the menswear market.

Rachel Jones
Auburn, CA

My love of sewing developed at a young age. I learned from my grandmother and my aunt after school and on summer vacations. After high school I moved to New York to study theater, but quickly realized that the life of an actor was not for me. Struggling to figure out my next step, I bought a little Singer on a whim and was reminded of my childhood passion. I soon found myself creating costumes for dance and theater, marrying my love of storytelling and my passion for design. Several years passed and I realized I wanted to tell stories of my own, which brought me to the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Jiwon Kang
Seoul, Korea

As a designer, I am influenced by architecture, nature, and cultures. I grew up in Korea and moved to New York in 2009 to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. I have always believed that an outfit allows for more self-expression than any other source. That is why I started designing. I try to reflect a woman’s personality through my garments. This woman has a personal and artistic integrity but is mysterious and independent. I pay attention to details, quality, and craftsmanship. I value the honesty of interpretations. I don’t compromise to be understood by everyone. I embrace the idea of not being fully accepted so that I can remain different.

Cigdem Feride Kayral
Turkey

I am a 22-year-old Fashion Design student from Turkey. Besides being interested in fashion, I am also interested in learning new languages. I already speak four: Turkish, English, German, and Spanish. I’ve also played piano since I was six and it is also one of my passions in life. Since I had artists in my family, including my mother, I was always interested in painting and artistic pieces. During primary school, I started drawing figures of the girls of my own class in the clothes I envisioned them in. That’s how my fashion journey started. As the years went by, I enhanced my abilities and now I am in New York City with my dream job title. I worked really hard to get this point of my life. Therefore, I will work as hard as I can to take this point to the top. It is really important not to lose our passion for our job. Luckily, the fashion industry is an industry that if you’re in it once, there is no way out.

Hannah Kimmerle
Dundee, Iowa

With a creative spark, eye for fashion, and analytical mindset, I chose to attend FIT to study Fashion Design and Art History. After I was introduced to the world of fashion forecasting and trend analysis at a Peclers Paris presentation, I decided to pursue internships and freelance opportunities in the forecasting and trend analysis industry. At Stylesight and Doneger Creative Services, I gained experience with all aspects of the forecasting and trend analysis process—from color and fabric research to designing and illustrating and client-specific consulting. I found the forecasting world to be an ideal mix of intriguing research, creative design development and analytical thinking. I am pursuing a career in fashion forecasting, trend analysis and trend consulting upon graduation.

Gabrielle King
Chatham, NJ

I became a fashion designer because I love clothes, but I couldn’t always find what I wanted to wear in stores. Before I started designing clothes, I was always drawing. My love of art also pushed me into fashion design. Music is a huge part of my life. Most of the time when I am designing, I am influenced by the music that I listen to. Specific musicians also influence me. I got into Japanese pop culture a while ago, and it has had a big influence on my designs. I love Japanese clothes and music. I even took a few Japanese language classes a few years ago. However, I am not even close to being fluent in Japanese. My dream vacation is to go to Japan. I’m sure that the trip would boost my creativity.

Adnan Kutay
Turkey

I have been interested in fashion design since early childhood. Being a designer was my dream and I moved to New York to fulfill my dreams.

Fashion helps me express myself, my interior, my world. For me, there can never be enough fashion. I want to be in every part of it. I design, create, and produce. I study women’s wear, I have my own menswear line, I do shoes, I do bags—and even that is not enough. Basically, fashion feeds me.

I feel like I am on the right track. I am ready to work so hard and do my best in fashion. I can’t imagine myself in any other job. With luck, I will reach my dreams.

Jennifer La Punta
Monroe TWP, New Jersey

Inspired by history and fiction, I create ready-to-wear clothing with a touch of my unique interests. I was always artistic and designed clothing even before I realized I wanted to become a designer. Through a close family member in the fashion industry, I was exposed to a whole new spectrum of art. I immersed myself in the field. I realized how a wardrobe can define an individual. So I set out to define myself and others like me. I took pre-college courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology three years before being accepted into the associates program. With an immense love for costume and theatrical themes, I find ways to marry my theatrics into convenient, individual garments that can fit into everyone’s wardrobe. I strive to create clothing that spans across the many genres of fashion.

Jae Lee
Hicksville, NY

Before entering the world of fashion design, my main focus was in Fine Arts. Fashion was never something I thought I would be a part of. But the more I became involved, the more I fell in love. I won the AAS Art Specialization Critic’s Award, worked as a fashion production coordinator, and studied abroad at Central Saint Martins. All these experiences have helped mold me into the unique designer I am today. I aim to create visual conversations between the old and new—a dance of tradition and innovation. Now I offer designs fueled by conceptual ideas combined with consumer-aware aesthetics, a multicultural mix between the avant-garde and the functional. I strive to not only design beautiful clothing, but to also tell stories through my creations. Embrace the then, embrace the now, and embrace what’s to come.

Emily Beth Levine
New York City

I have always worked hard to do well in school, but found myself more inspired and successful with creative projects and art than in other subjects. When I attended the summer RISD program for fashion design as a high school student, I really decided to make it a career path. I think every creative person has something unique about them. We think differently and that’s something special, but what makes me who I am is my drive to never give up. I constantly set goals I think are impossible so that I can push myself into a positive learning experience. We all have our doubts, but I think that if you have the passion and love for the field you want to enter, there is no reason why you wouldn’t make it. My rule of thumb has always been to work hard, do your best and success will follow.

Susan Mooney
Troy, NY

I began my journey as a designer long before the day I walked through the doors for my first fashion class at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I cannot recall the exact day, since I was only four years old. But I remember the moment I exclaimed to my aunt who had taken me clothes shopping, “Wow, look all those beautiful bras and panties!” I did not realize they were bathing suits, but I knew that I saw something beautiful and I had a vision for what I wanted. That vision has stayed with me and grown into a desire to create clothes that make women feel empowered and beautiful.

Cecily Moore
Providence, Rhode Island

I spent my childhood building rockets out of soda bottles and molecules out of gumdrops with my chemist mother. But I also spent it layering three pairs of pants and matching my underwear to every outfit I wore. Thus, I developed a strong interest in both science and fashion. Somewhere along the way, I learned to connect scientific thinking with my creative side. I utilize it as inspiration for my imaginative force. This drive led me to Fashion Institute of Technology to pursue a Fashion Design career in the world’s greatest city. Fashion helps people express individuality, and through fashion design I can give the world a window into my aesthetic. I focus on crisp, clean design with a modern luxe spin. I channel ingenuity through inventive silhouettes, creative styling, and a sophisticated color palette to match any woman’s adventurous spirit.

Bradley Mounce
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

From a young age, I have loved all aspects of art and design. Thanks to an encouraging upbringing I have been able to explore and fall more in love with them each day. After high school, it was a natural transition for me to apply to fashion schools. After finishing a one-year degree program in Milan at IED I applied to the Fashion Institute of Technology. My years here have taught me a lot about creativity, hard work, technique, and dedication—strengthening my passion for this industry. People and their stories inspire me and I love approachable and beautiful design that helps transform them. As Coco Chanel once said, “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”

Young Joon Oh
Seoul/ Korea

I have been many things—a technician, a waiter, a salesman, and a businessman. But those careers did not satisfy me because I always wanted to be a fashion designer. I fondly remember my first night at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Muslins on the ironing board smelled like golden brown bread that had just come out of the oven. When pins dropped and scissors cut the muslins, the sound was of music. Now I am an intern at Thom Browne, my dream company. Sometimes I rush around mid-town running errands. Though the streets and avenues are the same, they are different to me now. I find a bona fide happiness in fashion design. I know who I was, who I wanted to be, and who I am. I am Young Joon Oh.

Aubrey Pedersen
Lancaster, PA

After spending the majority of my childhood with my family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I moved to New York City to pursue my dream of becoming a fashion designer. Creativity was a clear passion from childhood as I hosted my own Barbie fashion shows and drew on every surface in reach. I attribute my motivation in this challenging industry to my loving family and friends. Throughout my career as a fashion student, I have remained true to my feminine aesthetic. I am driven by the love of color and the idea of creating garments that women want to wear. I believe that life is beautiful—an idea I try to translate into my work.

Rosita Nathalie Oviedo
Jackson Heights, New York

I have been drawing since I was four years old. I chose to pursue a creative life because drawing and sketching felt natural to me. Designing clothes is my way of expressing myself freely. I have always had a sense of style in the way I dressed. I felt that with my natural talent and my artist mindset, I could design clothes without any restrictions. In general, designers appreciate even the littlest things that the world offers. They see beauty in everything and use that beauty to design clothes that the world can appreciate. I can observe something from different angles and tap into a deep philosophical meaning of it. That is how I think when I begin to design and get inspired. I like to combine beauty and strength in both colors and fabrics because I think, as a woman, it is important to feel that way about yourself. It is my hobby, my passion and my life.

Seohyun Park
Republic Of Korea

Ever since I was 11 years old, fashion has been in my mind. I have a passion for this industry. There is no other place I want to be, and I am eager to see my creations come to life. I observe everything around me, taking bits and pieces that inspire me to make my designs. Although fashion tends to recycle every season, trends and fit are important to me. I do not say that I love fashion; rather, I say that I am addicted to fashion.

Miguel Angel Pena
Healdsburg, CA

My sister was always my idol as a child. Due to her severe childhood illnesses, she never had the chance to live the full life that I had. So I guess I always pursued her interests to fulfill her dreams for her. That being said, I fell into fashion by chance. I was always a creative person, but I never knew that design would be my ultimate outlet. I’m interested in how clothes can emanate a certain type of energy or confidence from a person. Once I started to pursue fashion, I developed a better understanding of how to think about clothes creatively and abstractly. I realized that designing meant thinking of new ways to solve a problem, much like an engineer. I was fascinated with the idea of looking at a garment like a problem that needed a new solution. I don’t like to make my inspirations too literal. I like my ideas to be a bit disguised. I try to use humor and cleverness to express these ides. I like when you can’t really understand how great something is until you get to experience it in detail. Subtleties excite me the most.

Hannah Renfro
Knoxville, TN

I have always enjoyed the process of making things—it is so rewarding to be able to come up with a concept and see it through. I felt this way even when I was a little girl living in Tennessee making clothes for my dolls. I always hoped I could have a career making things come to life. I was thrilled when I realized that people actually had to design and make the clothes that we wear. I immediately knew this was what I wanted to do. I have learned that I also love to make women feel confident and cool and that I am interested in fashion as a business. I am inspired by everything from my travels out west and abroad in Europe and Japan to my fear of the dentist. I am so excited and humbled to be here in New York at the Fashion Institute of Technology living my dream!

Ninette Rodriguez

I have always been an artist in some way, always different – taking the different route while others were going down the same path. I fell in love with fashion as a sophomore in high school. It was the only thing that I knew belonged to me, and that I saw myself doing. I started the fashion club and the modeling club, which are still alive today. When it came time to pick a college, FIT was my only choice. When I was rejected the first time, I was scared. I said to myself over and over again: Where do I go? What will I do? Now I laugh when I think about my reaction. Now, I know that moment four years ago was the beginning of my fashion career, not the end. I did my first semester at Nassau Community College, determined to apply to FIT again. The second time I was accepted— and I was going to be a part of the fashion world I wanted to enter so badly. FIT very much evolved my artistry, my mind, and even my way of thinking. The designers that I admire, especially Alexander McQueen, shaped my aesthetic. When I design or sketch, he sparks so much inspiration, which I translate into my own style. To me, he is the epitome of Fashion – the one the other designers look to for inspiration. Now close to graduating, I’m concentrating on my senior collection, which is a dream come true. Yes, the process is overwhelming, but I’m extremely excited and can’t wait for my new beginning as part of the design world.

Carly Rosenbrook
Minneapolis, Minnesota

I began designing because I had a strong affinity for aesthetics, specifically the conceptual and technical possibilities of fashion and the human form. I find the process of collection development (from the first spark of an idea to the last detail of construction) to be a captivating and fulfilling journey. I believe in the continuance of building on knowledge and skill as well as maintaining a grasp on contemporary culture both subversive and mainstream. To produce innovative, intelligent fashion design, it is crucial to understand what is new and relevant globally and to analyze, criticize or interpret. In my most recent work, I’ve tried to concentrate on unusual materials and current high- tech processes to reflect the evolving, technical world of today through understated minimalist form.

Daniel Silverstain
Ra’annana, Israel

I am an Israeli designer based in New York City. Since I was a kid, I always knew I would live in New York one day. The moment I realized I would like to study fashion design, I knew it was the right time to make that step. Every single time I step off the plane at JFK, I feel that instantaneous rush that inspires and gets me to create. New York is a massive hub of fashion. The norm in New York City is not to be the norm, and that is my daily motivation and design ideology. I explore textiles and natural forms in an era of high technology and industrialism. Architecture and art of the mid-20th century interlock with every inspiration and I use them in a range of simplified shapes that complement the female body and give it a sophisticated, yet comfortable look.

Amiko Simonetti
Huntington, NY

I design because I love creation. I enjoy the ability to harness an idea, nurture it, watch it grow, and build it to full fruition. At the most basic level, I like design because I like to play. I like to experiment with prints, colors, and embellishments. I am in awe of the endless possibilities of products that can be built with the creative tool.

Michelle Sweet
Castleton NY, USA

I am from a small town in upstate New York. I came to New York when I was 19 to pursue my dreams of becoming a designer at FIT. I love design because it allows you to express yourself through your work. It also allows others a creative outlet through wearing your designs. I have wanted to be a designer ever since I was young. I grew up making cloths for my dolls and quickly graduated to making clothing for myself. Designing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I love coming up with new and interesting ways to create and wear a garment, and mixing elements that one would not normally put together. Designing is a fun creative process, and I am excited to see what the fashion industry has in store for me after graduation!

Asli (Oblina) Tapucu
Turkey

Before I came to FIT I was planning to be an illustrator or cartoonist, but then I realized that I have an interest in clothing, styling and other divisions of fashion industry. I worked in the fashion business before I started school so I already had connections with contemporary artists who encouraged me to study fashion design. In my country, there is a lack of design and creative understanding. So I want to improve myself in every subject and meet new people. Eventually, I want to share my ideas with my country and the world. I am open to new challenges, always curious about new things. Every journey, my cultural background, and different visions give me inspiration and all my decisions are a lesson. I hope to have a remarkable place in fashion world.

Natasha Thomas
New York, USA

I grew up making Barbie doll dresses out of cut-up socks. I don’t know if this is normal for most kids, but it was normal to me. My grandmother was a seamstress and my mother is a Fashion Institute of Technology alum. Growing up with women like that is how my taste for creating began. Creating is one of the best ways for me to express myself; it’s part of my being. I design because I love to see the process of something being made from an idea or concept. I can take two yards of fabric to create a garment that can change the idea someone had about the fabric or about their body. It can actually make them feel really good about themselves. This is what pushes me to design.

Lauren Tormenta
New York / America

I was born and raised in Westchester, New York. My love for fashion began when I started traveling at a very young age. Traveling to Europe exposed me to the massive differences in cultures. I was exposed to great landmarks, such as the beautiful castles in Portugal to the amazing paintings of past queens and kings. The paintings showed the details of the costume and the rich moods. I immediately became drawn to fashion and began sketching my own ideas right away. I design because I love to create things that do not exist. I am drawn to moods, which lead me to create a design on paper. Then through fabric, I am able to create something that can convey that mood. What is unique to me as a person and a designer is the way certain things inspire me. I am inspired by images and things that give off power, beauty, and independence. I want the woman wearing my clothes and people looking at her to feel the same way—powerful , beautiful, and independent.

Gizem Turan
Turkey-Istanbul

I’ve always had a love for clothes, because it’s a perfect way to express yourself. Actually, my family has a background in the textile industry. That was the biggest factor for me to choose a fashion major. My grandmother is my fashion leader because she is the best tailor I’ve ever met. When I was a child I went a fabric store with my grandmother and we sewed little clothes together. The fashion world is very challenging. You have to develop yourself day by day. You must be creative to succeed as a fashion designer. Knowing how to mix and blend colors, choose the right pattern and fabric, and mix and match styles with accessories shows good qualities for a fashion designer. On the other hand, it helps to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I am an international student in fashion design at both Istanbul Technical University and FIT. This collaboration gave me very important experiences and knowledge.

Tuncin Uner
Turkey

I left my hometown, and changed my life to become a designer. Every day, I realize that it was the best decision I've ever made. It’s simple: I LOVE my job. I live and breathe my work. It is really inspiring that as I create my work, my work creates me. I do what I do because of my passion to be creative and my passion to produce. I just start making things and learn from them. I’m constantly pushing myself to improve and I keep learning every single day. Since fashion is unlimited, I want to be a designer. I want to be unlimited.

Anna Vaynshteyn
New York, New York

I love the technical and creative aspects of fashion design. I was probably going to major in computer science like the rest of my family. But I went on to study fashion after taking a summer class at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I really enjoy solving problems, and the enigma of turning a sketch into a garment. There are so many unexpected glitches along the way. I love how designing forces me to think on my feet and be really clever sometimes. Another thing that I love about design is creating a really desirable and wearable garment. To me that is the ultimate—making something that is both irresistible and strangely sensible. I feel that in our education, we are so often steered toward designing showpieces and more experimental clothes, but that’s not my aspiration at all. I am especially inspired by the early 1990s Donna Karan and Giorgio Armani looks and Bill Cunningham’s late 1980’s runway shots for Details. They were such cool and easy looks and so New York. I think this special “New York” quality is lost now and I would like to channel that in my designs.

Crysbel Vivar
Brooklyn, NY

Ever since the third grade, I sketched outfits and dresses in my composition notebook to pass the time when my younger brother and I were forced to visit my mother at work. Her boss noticed my talent and suggested that I pursue a career in the fashion industry as a designer. From that moment, I made fashion a priority. I auditioned for a design major at the High School of Fashion Industries. As silly as it sounds, my high school moments were the best years of my life because I absorbed and gained so much knowledge from my teachers and classmates. I’ve always felt accepted in the fashion industry.

Sofia Wahlberg
Stockholm/Sweden

I come from a very arts-oriented family and I was encouraged to explore my artistic abilities at an early age. Before my teenage years, I was very shy and not that good with words. So fashion became a great interest of mine and, in a way, a medium of expression. Since the age of 14, I have worked in several clothing stores where I enjoyed learning more about fit and customers’ needs and aesthetics. Before coming to the Fashion Institute of Technology, I studied one year of fashion design in Los Angeles where I improved my patternmaking and design skills. New York is my favorite city (I have also lived in Spain and Mexico). The cultural variety inspires me to design better and to think outside the box. I enjoy designing for people who love to get dressed and add their own personality to their outfits.

Tara Wood
Howell, New Jersey

Growing up, I found myself traveling to New York City from time to time. The city felt like an adventure to me, something busy and exciting. I became interested in all the people there, living together yet separately. The many views of humanity intrigued me and I realized that people could be expressed any way they chose. That way, I saw fashion not only as an expression of one’s own views, but also how they wished to be viewed, as projections, whether as a statement of art or a comfort for their wellbeing. I like to mix the two spectrums. My inspiration never takes the form of a single physical item, rather it is an abstract idea. I design thinking of life itself—it’s moments and emotions. People aren't simple so I feel my clothes shouldn't be either. I want to always explore that.

Alexa Wright
Kingwood, Texas

I chose to come to FIT to major in fashion design because I am passionate about expressing myself through a three-dimensional practical, wearable art form. I design to represent a strong, mysterious woman who values subtle details over frills and overt drama. I draw much inspiration from the ease of Eastern dressing. I like clothing to feel effortless and casual with fit, fabrication, and styling to create a unique look. My favorite part of the process is selecting interesting fabrics that lend themselves to mixing, matching, and experimentation. I am drawn to mixing classic prints and patterns like florals and stripes or plaids and herringbones. In my designs, I explore ideas of identity, gender, and ethnicity.

Ece Yavas
Bursa/ Turkey

I was born and raised in Turkey, where there is a long history of textiles dating back to time of Justinian of the Roman Empire. I was exposed to fashion in early childhood. My family has been in the business of producing fabrics from women’s apparel for three generations. Therefore, I am able to work with fabrics and use textiles creatively. I design because I feel compelled to create, give life to ideas. My designs are expressions of my feelings and thoughts. My designs have a unique sense of shapes. Designs can take many shapes and sizes, thus, showing your style. I take my inspiration to another level and pass on the joy of my personality. I moved to New York to carry out my dreams. I am excited to see what is next for me.

Kyunghee Yu
Korea/Seoul

When I was young, my grandmother did a lot of hand sewing at home. Sometimes, she made little purses for me. When I was around 12 years old, my mother took a Korean traditional clothing course and made all of the pieces for me and my sister. Our country’s traditional clothing is called “Han-Bok.” When I wore mom’s Han-Bok, I could feel how much she loved me, especially since Han-Bok is a very complicated design. Even now, while I am in fashion school, making the pieces is not easy for me. My mother inspired me, at a young age, to make garments because I couldn’t believe that she made Han-Bok for my sister and I. That made me happy. I think that if someone is really likes fashion and my designs, I want to make them happy with my work. I want to communicate with people through design.

Deniz Basak Zincirlioglu
Turkey

I’ve always loved clothes since I was a child so I decided to study fashion design. I never had more passion or motivation than I have for designing clothes. I love to be inspired by other designers and life in New York City to help me design my clothes. Living in New York and gaining experience at the Fashion Institute of Technology was one of my biggest dreams. As a sportswear major, I want to focus mostly on casual wear. I think it appeals to a wide range of customers. After I graduate, I want to work in a big name corporation until I can establish my own fashion line.

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