In the Beginning
By Jennifer LoConte and Jonathan Vatner
A history of the college’s early years—and a glimpse into its future
Seventy-five years after FIT’s founding, as fashion degree programs have become commonplace worldwide, it’s hard to grasp just how radical an experiment it was to create the first college devoted to the apparel industry. But in the early 1940s, when the New York State Board of Regents established educational programs and colleges to educate World War II veterans and retrain war workers for private industry, apparel—the state’s largest industry—was ignored. Max Meyer and Dr. Mortimer C. Ritter advocated for this essential education. After unsuccessfully pitching fashion programs to several existing colleges, they decided to start their own.