As I got older, my mind expanded and was drawn to individuality and expression. Fashion was and still is a way I express my creativity without actually communicating verbally; it is a silent language. In recent years, I wanted to immerse myself in the fashion industry and become active within the community. When I learned about FIT’s (Fashion Institute of Technology) summer classes for high school students in New York City, I signed up and was overwhelmed with excitement about the opportunity to pursue my curiosities beyond my school studies and hobbies. Presented with more than thirty classes to choose from, I enrolled in two: Anatomy of Fashion and Drawing the Fashion Figure. Despite the anxiety that comes with delving into a fast-paced, intensive course of study, I was elated to find myself immersed in the fashion industry among diverse students with similar interests.
At the start of my studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the bustling city of New York, I collaborated with students from all over the world, such as young women from China, Jordan, Paraguay, Italy, England and Australia. Being a member of this diverse team was exhilarating; I was intrigued by their cultures and unique styles. Being surrounded by fashion-focused individuals heightened my ambitions to pursue a career in the industry as I was introduced to foreign perspectives. Our professor was ingenious and innovative. He was acquainted with premier designers such as Diane Von Furstenberg, Michael Kors and style extraordinaire, Tim Gunn. I educated myself and took the initiative to study every notable fashion designer in the industry. Top designers such as Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Hermes, Phoebe Philo and Alexander McQueen became my constant muses. I familiarized myself with various staple logos, memorable articles of clothing, and silhouettes and patterns from each designer. I learned the history of each brand and their accompanying philosophy. Interestingly, each designer had an ideal woman in their mind for whom the fashions were made. In addition, my professor taught my class about the exciting event Fashion Month in which big and small house designers present their seasonal collections for the world to absorb. Fashion month takes place during September. The first four weeks are hosted, respectively, in New York City, London, Milan and Paris. The basis of the event is new designers introducing their collection and being judged on their level of success or failure. Bloggers, celebrities, designers and journalists sit front row during the shows, turning a critical eye to the unique, bold creations. Just like these audience members, I developed a knack for analyzing fashionable works. Along with my class, I explored the FIT museum and toured the exhibits of donated costumes and stunning dresses ranging from the early twentieth century to present day modern pieces. The iconic Christian Dior navy dress that actress Marilyn Monroe wore for the spread of American Vogue was a prominent piece of the collection, as were vintage Chanel and John Galliano pieces.
I found myself in awe of the powerful individuals that constitute and guide this vibrant industry. For example, the famous editor and chief of “Vogue Magazine,” Anna Wintour, developed the Met Ball, held every first Monday of May annually at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The guest list includes well-known artists, models, actors, designers and other influential figures in society who dress up for the event. The guests’ attire is required to match that year’s theme, stimulating interest for an event that raises millions of dollars for the museum. Involving the consumer culture and media at such a great magnitude has helped propel fashion into a robust industry.
One of my goals during my summer at FIT was to develop my personal style in dress and fashion. Individual style cannot be forced. Instead, it must develop organically and reflect both the person I am and aspire to be. Even though style is in one sense an exterior shell, I still feel that I can transform my personal by wearing something that is striking or even taboo by conservative standards. Expanding one’s horizons is healthy, which is something that was drilled into me during my three-week-long program. I found myself feeling more confident, adventurous and daring.
Along with personal style, came street style and how it affects today’s fashion industry. Street style is the most organic and exciting way individuals express their creativity and unique tastes. During fashion month especially, street style flourishes. The outfits exude personality and ingenuity, creating inspiration and excitement for others to observe. I learned to love the hunt for the latest trends that pushed fashion’s boundaries, and even tried making my own spin offs based on the outfits. After all, fashion is a fluid, continuously amassing blend of styles and tastes.
At the end of my studies at FIT, my class visited the Mood shop in the garment district of NYC, getting a taste of the natural environment that a job in fashion design holds. Mood is a garment store where we selected swatches of our favorite fabrics to attach to collage journals. On our last day, I showcased my journal along with the rest of my class, exhibiting my transformed sense of style one last time. I treasured the curriculum and atmosphere of FIT’s summer courses; I now have a better understanding of how the industry works and what jobs may exist. I encourage all students with an interest in fashion or the arts to take advantage of the available opportunities in the form of an internship or a precollege workshop such as the program at FIT. Pursuing your interests at an young age can, at a minimum, prepare you for a rewarding career.
Graphics: Marina Geider