History and Tradition Meet to Create Contemporary Inspiration in “Modern Passage”

The first cohort of the Fashion Design MFA program at FIT graduates this spring, but you can get a glimpse of them—and their work—in the site-specific video installation Modern Passage, now on view in the Creative Technology and Design Showcase (on the Fifth Floor of the Pomerantz Center along the corridor toward the Gladys Marcus Library).

Modern Passage is part of IMPACT: Creativity for Civility, Diversity, and Inclusion, an interdisciplinary project supported by FIT’s Diversity Council, and is on view through March 28.

The installation shows the students in two ways—dressed in keeping with their cultural heritage and background (a view from the past), as well as dressed in their present-day style featuring designs of their own. With technology developed by The Molecule—an innovation design studio in New York—cameras above each of the screens respond to the presence of the viewer, triggering the images to shift from profile (the cultural view) to facing the viewer (the modern view).

The idea of Modern Passage came from C.J. Yeh, who developed the notion as a “radical collaboration,” which is part of the three-pronged pedagogy of the Creative Technology and Design (the other two are guided experiential learning, or GEL, and cutting-edge specialized courses).

The idea to feature the Fashion Design MFA students is rooted in the notion of human transformation and the students’ work being so much about where they come from. According to Yeh, it’s also about approaching fashion from a conceptual perspective. “Our goal is not about chasing technology, but making sure technology is being used to move something forward,” he said.

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