(NEW YORK) Are you in or are you out? Fatigued students with rattled nerves wandered the floor of the Great Hall at FIT today as their final designs were carefully looked over and critiqued to decide whether or not they had made it into the school’s annual “Future of Fashion” runway show, taking place on May 1st. The judges who will be deciding their fate include: Elle creative director Joe Zee; Kate Betts, contributing editor to Time and The Daily Beast; Saks Fifth Avenue senior fashion director Colleen Sherin; stylist Alana Kelen; fashion blogger Bryanboy, and style expert Lilliana Vazquez.
Only 80 looks will make the show out of 250 contenders. It’s often perceived as a make-it-or-break-it moment for students as they hope to make it in the fashion world and land the job of their dreams. “I try from the beginning of the semester to prepare them to not define the experience by whether or not they got in the show. I want them to define their experience by whether or not they created a masterpiece for their portfolio. That’s what they should be focusing on,” said professor Alexandra Armillas. “In all of my years in the industry I’ve never interviewed someone and asked them, ‘Did you get in the FIT fashion show?’ It’s not going to make or break their career.” Armillas would know, as she’s an FIT alum who spent 20 years as the head designer for Dior intimate apparel.
We caught up with one of Armillas’ pupils to see whether or not the pressure was taking a toll. “It took me months since I first started designing my pieces,” said student Jennifer Campagna. “It’s very stressful. Especially because I’ve put so much of my work and my time into it. You want it to pay off.” But being a good sport, she added, “Having it here and having everyone appreciate it is rewarding in itself though.” And how about the competition? Burgeoning knitwear designer currently interning at Michael Kors, Katie Lewis told us, “That’s hard to describe, because we’re all friends. It’s intense, but just like football players, you beat each other up and then you go hang out.” So, is judging day anything like Project Runway? “Oh definitely! Only worse,” said Lewis. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Those who made it in will know by this eve when the school announces who made the cut. Stay tuned to find out whose designs were deemed worthy for the runway. Bonne chance!