On a Tuesday afternoon in early October, a group of FIT Global Fashion Management (GFM) graduate students from across three continents could be found lying on carpets at Galerie Lelong & Co. in Chelsea. How was this helping these emerging fashion executives prepare for managerial positions in the international fashion industry? It was near the end of the GFM New York Seminar, an intensive 10 days of lectures, cultural exchange, and discovery as the FIT program welcomed the students from its partner schools in Paris and Hong Kong (three of the most important regions in the world for apparel production, design, and commerce). And this particular afternoon was focused on the arts.
This year’s New York seminar covered topics as varied as Perspectives on Entrepreneurship, Current Ideas in New Technology for the Apparel Industry, and New Concepts in Retail. But the group also took time to explore New York’s diversity and history through visits to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and The Museum of the City of New York, among others.
On this day, however, their attention was on the rugs displayed in Protruding Patterns, a solo exhibition of work by Beijing-based artist Lin Tianmiao that transformed the main gallery with woven carpets. Visitors to the gallery were encouraged to walk on the artist’s intricate, labor-intensive work made with textiles and thread.
“We think of ourselves not strictly as a fashion program,” said Pamela Ellsworth, associate professor and chair of FIT’s GFM program. “We’ve been collaborating more with other departments and programs.” One of those collaborations has been with FIT’s Art Market Studies graduate program, whose chair, Natasha Degen, spoke to the students before they broke into smaller groups to tour art galleries in the neighborhood, an event led by faculty from FIT’s History of Art department. The goal was to explore the topic of contemporary art and fashion by viewing contemporary art inside the galleries and outside on the Highline.
Offered by FIT in collaboration with Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong and Institut Français de la Mode in Paris, the Global Fashion Management program draws upon an international faculty and the facilities and industry contacts of three major institutions on three continents, with the whole student cohort spending time on each campus during their studies. “This is one of the things that sets us apart,” Ellsworth says. “No one else does what we do with the international component.”