FIT in Milan Fashion Design Students Tap Into Their Creativity and Resilience

Andrea N. Diaz Aviles, Canvas

When the COVID-19 pandemic drove students from around the globe to return to their homes to complete their studies, that included FIT’s cohort at FIT in Italy. The Fashion Design BFA students (knitwear and sportswear specializations) studying in Milan—who were accustomed to being able to execute their visions with state-of-the-art equipment—were forced to complete their capsule collections by hand, in their bedrooms and at their kitchen tables.

And the results are nothing short of stunning.

Like FIT in New York, the BFA students typically end their year in Milan with a Future of Fashion runway show during which they display their capsule collections. This spring, of course, that was impossible, so the group created a short documentary video to show their processes—dyeing, sewing, and patternmaking—as well as everything happening outside their windows, including protests in the streets. The video was shot completely on iPhones by the students themselves. In addition to sharing their extraordinary work, they revealed the students’ patience, courage, and resilience.

Like many who spent their spring semester adapting—and have continued to adapt this fall—the Milan students at first found their situations challenging. They joined classes that in many cases were in a different time zone, and many of them (particularly the knitwear students) suddenly had to shift to working solely by hand. Still, the students, in the end, found the experience made them more creative, inspiring new ways of working, and made them work harder than they would have if everything had gone on as planned.

The students and their capsule collections are as follows:

  • Marie Vilanova, Cyberscape
  • Jialin Zhao, Stop Slut Shaming Me
  • Yatong Wang, Shadow
  • Marina Lukin, Outside-In
  • Tongxin Cai, The Blooming of Life
  • Michelle Lun Lopez, 168HRS
  • Andrea N. Diaz Aviles, Canvas
  • Jessica Nicole Contreras, Dual Affliction
  • Nell Mary Tercek, Second Skin
  • Lauren Santaniello, Compression
  • Yican Yu, (My) Chemistry

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