“And if that fashion show was any indication of where our industry is going, the future is very bright,” said Karlie Kloss, who received the Fashion Icon award at FIT’s Future of Fashion ’23 Celebration and Honors in Manhattan on Wednesday night.
Kloss gave a few remarks at the party following the annual FIT Future of Fashion runway show that featured 87 designs, showcasing the work of 73 students selected from FIT’s class of 2023 Fashion Design BFA program. The runway show was held outdoors at the FIT campus.
The diverse group of students represented four continents, 11 countries and 21 U.S. states from four concentrations: knitwear, sportswear, intimate apparel and special occasion. The innovative designs were inspired by the students’ personal stories and addressed many of today’s issues such as sustainability, gender fluidity and size inclusivity.
The show was sponsored by Macy’s under its social purpose platform, Mission Every One, dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable future.
In introducing the fashion show, Dr. Joyce Brown, president of FIT, told the audience, “The students we celebrate tonight are among 8,000 students who attend FIT today and as most of you know, our programs span all of the creative industries — we like to say that we stand at the crossroads of design and business….Students come to us with raw talent and gain knowledge and skills from our dedicated faculty in the fields of beauty, advertising and marketing, interior design, business management, toy design, textiles, animation…and of course our calling card — fashion design.”
Attendees included Mickey Drexler, Ken Downing, Mara Hoffman, Jane Hertzmark Hudis, Noah Kozlowski, Kate Lanphear, Abbey Doneger, Sally LaPointe, Fern Mallis, Nicole Miller, Bibhu Mohapatra, Deirdre Quinn, Larry Leeds, Jill Stuart and Zaldy, among others. The evening was hosted by Ashley Graham.
“This is one of my favorite fashion shows,” said Downing, creative director of Halston. He said he is not only an FIT alumnus, but he loves the students’ “bridled enthusiasm and creativity.”
“That sardine can, I giggled, and the nutritional information on the back, and the lawn furniture chair,” he said, citing some of the more clever ideas that came down the runway. “I loved the diversity of ideas, the micro looks, the maxi looks, the maximalism with the layers of knits and the minimalistic statement. It’s a great show. This institution is one of the best gems in our city.”
Eleven Critic Award winners were recognized with distinction during the runway show. Those students were Jacob Caraccilo for sportswear; Sammi Chen for special occasion; Veronica Creed for knitwear; Katelyn de Levante Raphael for sportswear; Rachel Gewirtz for intimate apparel; Vanessa Gray for sportswear; Yuri Ikegava for special occasion; Chaeeun Lee for knitwear; Cecilia Wolf for sportswear; Amanda Zanetti for special occasion, and Lancy Zhang for sportswear.
Wolf’s look, for example, was a cutout embroidered blouse, tie, short/tulle dress; wool pulled jacket, and vintage suiting fragmented flower, while Gray showed a denim deconstructed bolero jacket, patchwork lace bodysuit and denim skirt with lace inserts. Zanetti presented a mauve Chantilly lace column dress with hand-dyed/pleated tulle ruffles and beaded appliqués.
Macy’s in-house team selected Mariah Does Hooke as the winner for its Macy’s x FIT Every Body Collection Capsule because her look flatters a wide range of body types. Her design was a pale green midi-length shift dress with ruched waist and hardware detailing. The design will be sold at Macy’s Herald Square in New York this fall, with a hangtag featuring Hooke’s name, photo and biography.
Other Macy’s winners were Natalia Bermeo for Best Culturally Inspired Look — a terra-cotta Andean-inspired hand-knit sweater with a multicolor sleeve and brightly colored embellished jacquard. Caraccilo, who won for Best Use of Sustainable Materials, showed a leaf-printed jacket, wildlife vest, plaid shirt and stripe short over burnt edge short. Lorenzo Lukban was awarded Best Gender Neutral Look and presented a black cotton poplin tie-neck blouse, wool wide-leg pants and satin tunic with collaged textile.
Following the show, Hoffman told WWD, “It was great. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a student show. It’s overwhelming to be beginning now. There were so many beautiful things and a lot of smart upcycling and it was nice to see the efforts of sustainability.”
Lafayette 148’s Quinn added, “It was fantastic. The knitwear was amazing. We have a lot of interns from FIT. We have FIT’s Center for Innovation at the Brooklyn Navy Yard,” said Quinn, citing where Lafayette 148 is headquartered.
Mohapatra said he has mentored students and felt the show was wonderful, particularly “the caliber of the workmanship.”
“They each have such unique points of view,” he said. He also thought the casting of the models was diverse, both ethnically and by body shape. He noted that sustainability is ingrained in this generation. “This kind of progressive thinking is woven into their DNA,” he said.
This year, FIT changed things up and held its annual gala directly after the fashion show. The evening honored Kloss as Fashion Icon and Victor Glemaud, designer and FIT alumnus, as Outstanding Alumni honoree.
“FIT nurtured me and truly gave me the foundation to create my own pathways in fashion. Now it’s my honor to contribute and support this amazing faculty of academics here and learn from the students,” said Glemaud, a Haitian American designer who began his namesake business in 2008, having worked at Patrick Robinson, Paco Rabanne and Tommy Hilfiger.
Glemaud said he was a transfer student to FIT after spending three days in cooking school. “When I returned to Queens where I grew up, I started class here at FIT where I instantly felt right at home, welcome and ready to thrive.
“Fashion has always embraced diversity and I am hopeful the fashion industry will be at the forefront of this battle as well as many others that aim to build a more inclusive society. Fashion is a powerful commodity that allows one to transcend and soar,” said Glemaud.
“I don’t claim to have all the answers or give the best advice. I’ve failed just as much as I’ve succeeded, but every day I wake up and feel like I’m just getting started. My advice to you: Stay curious about the world and follow Oprah’s wise words — ‘and remember, when you step out in love, you become someone else’s hope.’”
In accepting her award, Kloss, 30-year-old model, entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded Kode with Klossy, said, “As a 13-year-old girl from St. Louis, Missouri, the idea that I would someday receive an award as a ‘Fashion Icon’ would have been unfathomable.
“My career is a direct result of the very creativity makes up this room,” she added. “I’ve worked with many people throughout the years, and many were members of the FIT alumni network. I’ve seen firsthand how this institution has shaped them into visionaries and provided them the foundational tools to excel. I most definitely wouldn’t be where I am without them.”