The Fashion Institute of Technology’s (FIT) Fashion Design MFA Class of 2023 presented UNI/VERSAL, a runway show featuring their graduate collections, at Spring Studios during New York Fashion Week. The show debuted 112 looks, with 14 students each presenting an eight-look collection developed prior to their graduation, which took place in May.

UNI / VERSAL celebrated the limitless creativity, drive, and spirit of the designers as they prepared to launch their careers and help define the future of the fashion industry. The collections address themes of individuality, innovation, and cohesiveness.

Representing four continents, the designers featured in UNI / VERSAL were as follows: Morgan Cardwell, Vasundhra Dhamija Kaylie Haueisen, Youna Jin, Kuai Li, Yitong Lui, Anthony Oyer, Lilach Porges, Catherine Ziyue Tang, Xinyue Maggie Tao, Valeria Watson, Tom Zhendong Wen, Deborah Won, and Luna Zining Ye. Together, the designers developed an artist/creative statement in support of their work:

“We believe that what sets our class apart is the diversity we represent in our various backgrounds, styles, and concepts. Yet despite this breadth, we support each other as a unified body. When naming our collective show, we wanted to find a title that represented this symbiosis of people and passions. We decided that the theme UNI/VERSAL (Uni: derived from the Latin word unus meaning “one,” and Versal: an archaic term for “entire” or “whole”) best represents our individuality as well as our cohesiveness. Each of us has a unique creative universe that brings inspiration to all of us. Each collection that you see today is derived from these spaces of self-exploration.”

“I am so proud of this class’s resilience, determination, and unconventional creativity in their storytelling,” said Dr. Brooke Carlson, interim dean, the FIT School of Graduate Studies. “This cohort began their studies with COVID still strong and masking required. They graduated with COVID no longer at the epicenter of their lives, and as evidenced by their work, it’s clear that they felt unrestrained and well-prepared to succeed in the fashion business, no matter what paths they choose to take.”

“Throughout their two years in the program, these talented 2023 graduates have been guided by a gifted and experienced faculty of creatives and industry professionals that includes award-winning fashion designer and threeASFOUR co-founder Gabi Asfour, among others,” said Cathleen Sheehan, chair and professor, Fashion Design MFA program, FIT. “We’ve all been impressed by their collaborative spirit and commitment as students and look forward to the positive impact they’ll make as emerging fashion designers.”

Models’ makeup was provided by New York Makeup Academy; hair was provided by R + Co.

FIT’s MFA in Fashion Design is a creative laboratory where technology, talent, and inspiration intersect in one of the world’s premier fashion capitals. The relentless pace of the fashion system can hinder innovation. At FIT, we slow it down to make room for experimentation, reflection, and artistic growth and provide insight and education on urgent social issues impacting the fashion landscape. Students graduate with a thesis collection that is uniquely their own.

About FIT

A part of the State University of New York (SUNY), FIT has been a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology throughout its history. Providing almost 9,000 students with an uncommon blend of hands-on, practical experience, theory, and a firm grounding in the liberal arts, the college offers a wide range of affordable programs that foster innovation and collaboration. Its distinctive curriculum is geared to today’s rapidly growing creative economy, including fields such as computer animation, toy design, production management, film and media, and cosmetics and fragrance marketing. Internationally renowned, FIT draws on its New York City location to provide a vibrant, creative community in which to learn. The college offers nearly 50 majors and grants AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, preparing students for professional success and leadership in the new creative economy. Among notable alumni in fashion are Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Norma Kamali, Reem Acra, Brian Atwood, Stephen Burrows, Dennis Basso, Daniel Roseberry, Francisco Costa, Nanette Lepore, Bibhu Mohapatra, Ralph Rucci, John Bartlett, Peter Do, and Michelle Smith. Other prominent graduates include Leslie Blodgett, creator of Bare Minerals; international restaurant designer Tony Chi; and Nina Garcia, editor-in-chief of ELLE. fitnyc.edu

About the School of Graduate Studies

The School of Graduate Studies at FIT provides advanced professional education in seven

distinctive areas, promoting excellence in the post-baccalaureate study of fashion, business, art, beauty,

and design. The school offers programs leading to the MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, and is

dedicated to advancing research in the creative industries and fostering innovative

collaborations that link students and faculty with industry and professional partners worldwide.

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