For ten days each fall, students from around the world convene at FIT for an in-depth seminar that focuses on leadership, cross-cultural understanding, and the global marketplace. One cohort of students is in FIT’s Global Fashion Management (GFM) master’s program. The program is offered in collaboration with similar graduate programs at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong and Institut Français de la Mode in Paris, whose students travel to New York for the seminar. At others times during the year, students from each school meet in Paris, where they focus on historical aspects and the contemporary luxury industry, and in Hong Kong, where production, supply chain, and consumer demographics and demand are studied.
FIT’s Master of Professional Studies in Global Fashion Management prepares emerging fashion executives for top managerial positions in the international fashion industry. The program draws upon an international faculty and the facilities and industry contacts of these three major institutions.
The theme for September’s seminar, which was held September 19–28, was creative thinking applied to business. Speakers and topics included:
- Cynthia Ringo, managing partner with DBL Investors, on “Fashion and Impact”
- Stacy Van Praagh, of SSVP Fashion Consulting, on “State of the Industry”
- Anne Manning, founding partner of Drumcircle LLC, on “Creative Thinking Is Serious Business: An Introduction to Creative Problem Solving”
- James Rhee, executive chairman and CEO, Ashley Stuart, and founder and president, FirePine, on “Reinventing a Brand and Redefining Loyalty Through Mobility, Social Media, and Math”
- Michael Appel, president, Appel Associates, on “The International Trade Invasion”
The seminar also included site visits. In Brooklyn, the students toured Manufacture New York, a 160,000-square-foot fashion incubator, design studio, and education lab in Sunset Park. There, they observed designers at work and got a first look at a sprawling floor that is about to become a collaborative manufacturing and design hub for small-scale designers and makers who can no longer afford the skyrocketing costs of Manhattan’s Garment District. The LEED-certified hub will include areas for innovations in wearable tech and biomaterials, as well as offices and traditional factory space.