WINNERS’ TALES:
Nine top student designers create the Future of Fashion

To discover the best among the next generation of designers, look no further than these nine Critic Award recipients from the class of 2014.
Eighth-semester Fashion Design students cap off their studies by creating a mini-collection of looks in their chosen specialization: sportswear, knitwear, special occasion, intimate apparel, or children’s wear. Each class is assigned a “fashion critic,” a top designer in the industry, to help shape these garments over the course of the semester. Then each critic grants one exceptionally talented student FIT’s prestigious Critic Award.
Hue spoke with this year’s winners before their innovative, head-turning designs graced the runway of FIT’s annual Future of Fashion show on May 1.

WINNERS’ TALES (from left to right): Grace Cox, Gayoung Ahn, Sarah Conlon, Danielle Ortiz,
Joelle Samaha, Natali Collado, Peter Do, Talisa Almonte, and Sarah Angel.

GRACE COX,  Knitwear
Critic: Kate Williams, Donna Karan
NEON-PINK SHOELACE MIXED-MEDIA OVER FUSCHIA WOOL DRESS
“My look would be worn by a big kid, someone who eats ice cream for breakfast, a rebel who’s not actually bad. The double-jacquard dress was inspired by the crazy graphics in Czech, Estonian, and Russian textbooks for children, the hand-crocheted coat by Pee-wee’s Playhouse. I was going to make the coat out of just shoelaces, but Kate suggested mixing in ribbon and felt to make it softer and give it a better drape.”

GAYOUNG AHN,  Sportswear
Critic: Daniel Vosovic ’05
BLACK LEATHER DOTTED TOP AND HIGH-WAIST, DROP-CROTCH PANTS
“I like structured and controlled architectural pieces, and I’m obsessed with stripes and dots. I made my own fabric, and I cut and placed the dots individually. Originally, I had some trouble getting the shape of the top just right. There were sleeves, and Daniel said I had too many details already, so I removed them to make the asymmetry stand out more.”

SARAH CONLON,  Sportswear
Critic: Rebecca Minkoff
GRAY-AND-SILVER WOOLL-AND-SILK WINDBREAKER WITH LAMÉ KILT\
“I love retro-futurism and the Space Age in the 1960s, how designers represented what they thought the future would be. And part of my aesthetic is combining unexpected fabrics and making them work. My look combines metallic silk, gray wool, silver and gold lamé, leather, and fur.”

DANIELLE ORTIZ,  Intimate Apparel
Critic: Jennifer Zuccarini ’02, Fleur du Mal
IVORY-AND-SAGE LACE BANDEAU BRA AND PANTY WITH SHEER BEIGE SHAPEWEAR CONTROL SLIP
“I was inspired by an artwork by Brendan Fowler that I saw at MoMA. The artist combines photography and sculpture in a very chaotic and organic way, which is why I named my collection Organic Chaos. Jennifer loved how I used leather straps to simulate a fan-lacing effect, often seen in corsets.”

JOELLE SAMAHA,  Special Occasion
Critic: Mathieu Mirano
BLACK MANIPULATED LACE AND ORGANZA GOWN
“My piece is very lingerie-inspired. The frayed edges and faggoted seams make it very romantic. Mathieu gave great feedback: he said a smaller bra cup would make the dress look more youthful. The fact that I basically made my own fabric from strips of different laces impressed him.”

NATALI COLLADO,  Children’s Wear
Critic: Lisa Di Napoli, Tommy Hilfiger
LAYERED-SILK HAND BEADED-DRESS WITH MULTIDIRECTIONAL FLUTING
“Most of the children’s dresses I see are super bright; I wanted a tone that would be attractive to parents as well. There are 14 layers of tulle underneath. It was going to be even flouncier, but it would have been overwhelming.”

PETER DO,  Sportswear
Critic: Felicia Zivkovic, Lela Rose
WHITE NEOPRENE LONG COAT
“I was looking at X-rays of astronaut suits from the ’60s, and I made a unisex coat where you can see all the construction. The outer layer is made of spacer fabric—a super light, see-through, breathable neoprene from a mill in Germany—and I combined that with traditional tailoring elements: a belt and pants pockets in the coat.”

TALISA ALMONTE,  Sportswear
Critic: Brandon Sun
WOOL AND SILK GAZAR JACKET AND MINISKIRT WITH COTTON JERSEY T-SHIRT
“I was inspired by geometric shapes, particularly the lines of the Javits Center. To be honest, I was really surprised I won. In the past, they’ve chosen garments that are more dramatic. My work is more subtle.”

SARAH ANGEL,  Knitwear
Critic: Reiko Waisglass, 3.1 Phillip Lim  
NEON CORAL ORGANZA-AND-YARN COAT
“We’re bombarded by images, yet somehow our brains manage all this. I wanted to create an image that’s a lot to take in. I knitted a drop-stitch jersey and fused it to organza, so it acts like a woven but looks like a knit. I couldn’t find yarn in the colors I wanted, so it’s knitted with sewing thread. It was a constant experiment.”