History of the Museum
|The Museum at FIT is one of only a handful of museums in the world
devoted to the art of fashion. The Museum was founded in 1967 to support
the educational programs of the Fashion Institute of Technology
(FIT), a college that is part of the State University of New York
(SUNY) system. Known then as the Design Laboratory, The Museum at FIT
began presenting exhibitions in the 1970s, utilizing a collection on
long-term loan from the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Over time, The Museum at
FIT has acquired its own collection,
which now consists of more than 50,000 garments and accessories from
the eighteenth century to the present, as well as thousands of textiles
and other fashion-related material.
In the 1980s, the Design Laboratory was becoming something more than a valuable educational tool. The late Richard Martin and his colleague, Harold Koda, organized seminal fashion exhibitions such as Fashion and Surrealism, Three Women, and Jocks and Nerds. A conservation laboratory was also established to care for the rapidly growing collection of clothing and textiles.
To better advance knowledge of fashion, The Museum at FIT launched its first annual Fashion Symposium in 2003 in conjunction with the exhibition Femme Fatale: Fashion and Visual Culture in Fin-de-Siècle Paris. This ambitious, two-day symposium addresses a theme related to the current museum special exhibition and features an interdisciplinary mix of noted scholars, authors, and curators from around the world.
The Couture Council of The Museum at FIT is a membership group that supports the Museumís exhibitions and public programs. The first Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion in 2006 was given to Ralph Rucci in 2006. Recipients of the award are chosen by the Couture Council Advisory Committee, an independent group consisting of curators, editors, and retailers. Other awardees include Alber Elbaz, Isabel Toledo, Dries Van Noten, Valentino, Karl Lagerfeld, and Oscar de la Renta.