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Friday, April 28, 2006

Part IIA: My FIT experience - 1st and 2nd year

My experience at FIT was a fairly positive one. I had some very interesting classes and sometimes I wish I was still there! Life was a lot simpler then, though I never realized it til I was out of school and in the sometimes very unforgiving fashion industry.

When my friends from high school would come home from break and we would meet up, they were shocked by the type of course work I was doing. While they are writing term papers and spending hours in boring lecture halls, I was sewing, drawing, and draping! It wasn't as easy as it sounded and deadlines were tight, but it was a lot more fun than they were having!


I found FIT was unique in that freshman foundation courses were non-existent. From day one we were immersed in course work directly related to our major. One reason for this related to the fact that FIT offers their program in two separate sections. After 2 years, you receive an AAS degree. You then apply for the BFA program and continue for another 2 years. In the BFA program you concentrate on a specific area of study - for me it was knitwear.

During the 1st and 2nd semesters, they build your garment construction skills with classes such as draping, sewing and patternmaking. Prior sewing experience helps a lot! Drawing a pretty picture means nothing if you don't know how to construct it. Draping classes were a total of 7 hours long split over two days. Sewing and patternmaking classes were 4 hours long.

We also had several drawing courses to tune our eye and train our hand. We had classes with live models where we learned proportion and how to draw fashion croquis. Croquis are very un-human, skinny, tall bodies we use to draw our designs on. Our skills were further tuned with a life drawing class. Fashion illustration combined drawing croquis and clothing the figures with our designs. They focused on how to draw the garment so it hangs correctly on the body, how to work with markers, how to style hair and make-up, etc. Drawing classes typically lasted about 4 hours.

However, just because I was in a Fashion program didn't mean I didn't have to take any "real" courses. Two semesters of English and Art History were required, along with science and math classes.

My third and fourth semesters built upon the skills already taught in the first year. Fourth semester focused on how to put together a portfolio on the illustration end. On the sewing/draping end we were required to create a garment which was exhibited in the annual Fashion Show. We were each required to create one look and had 12 weeks to complete it. Usually a fashion show exhibits your senior collection and will consist of 5-10 looks, but because this was a two year program not all students were continuing their studies. It was also a very large program with about 120 students so 5-10 looks each were out of the question.

Sometimes I wish I had gone to a different school so I could have had a senior collection, but now that I'm in the "real-world" I realize it wouldn't have mattered one bit. Also, there aren't too many four year programs that offer studies in specializations such as knitwear. In my next installment, I'll talk about my course work from my third and fourth year, knitwear specialization, and my internship for a sweater company.


Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa,

U don't know me, but I was searching for info ont he internet and came across your site. I just got accpeted to Parsons AAS in Fashion Design and wnat to know if this is a god program and whether it's worth doing it. I know Parsons is a good shcool for fashion, but I've also heard that their AAS progam kinda suck when compared to the BFA. I don't really know anyone in fashion so I kinda want to get some ideas form ppl that went through the system. I've also applied to FIT too, but stillhave yet to hear from them. By the way, i'm 25, got my BA already, so I want to learn as much as possible with an AAS. Let me know your comments. U can email me at lawrencewan69@yahoo.com. You advise will be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

hey melissa. im an international student and i just got accepted to FIT's AAS fashion studies programme. i wanted to know if this degree is worth the money i will be spending because i am financially restraint. i dont want to take so much student loan and then find out that this degree isnt that great, and may not lead me to get a good paying job, since i will need to pay off my loans. please help me out if u have any knowledge abt this degree. also want to know if it is as good as the BFA degree in fashion design. ur advice will be much appreciated.

myra chaudhri

u can mail me at myrachaudhri@hotmail.com