Every year, the FIT community and industry have eagerly anticipated the Future of Fashion runway show, a glamorous presentation of the freshest, wildest, and most technically impressive garments from the graduating class. In 2020, a year in which COVID-19 upended expectations, the runway show could not take place. FIT posted the garments and student bios on the Future of Fashion website, but this could not equal the impact of the runway.
Now the 2020 graduates have a new way to attract the eyes of fashion companies, buyers, and the media. From September 30 to November 1, the 75 designs that would have been shown in the Future of Fashion are taking center stage in a dedicated hub within the Coterie and Children’s Club online marketplaces. (This year, the Coterie and Children’s Club trade shows, major industry events that connect fashion brands with retailers, are taking place entirely on digital platforms.)
Fashion executives from Informa Markets Fashion, the company that produces Coterie and Children’s Club, and NuOrder, the ecommerce platform powering these marketplaces, brought an editorial spin to the student designs, surfacing their favorites and commenting on them. The company is also featuring the showcase on social media.
So far, these platforms have already brought 20,000 retailers to peruse the latest collections from 1,100 brands and place wholesale orders. While these professionals, along with numerous fashion journalists, are navigating the site, they can explore the student designs in the FIT Future of Fashion 2020 Showcase.
The collaboration came about after Tom Nastos ’81, FIT Foundation board member and chief commercial officer of Informa Markets Fashion, reached out to FIT in the midst of the pandemic with an offer to collaborate to boost the visibility of the graduates’ collections. Troy Richards, dean of the School of Art and Design, gladly accepted.
“We feel it’s our responsibility to convene, connect, and support these graduates, particularly during a pandemic,” says Nancy Walsh, president of Informa Markets Fashion. “Students are getting unparalleled access to the fashion industry, from brand executives scouting for new talent to name recognition for buyers looking for innovation.”
Richards is excited for the fashion industry to see the graduates’ creations. “The thing that stands out about the work is how it reflects their resiliency,” he says. “They had to finish their designs at home, at their kitchen tables, by hand. But so much of the work still possesses an optimism, and it demonstrates both technical skill and solid creative concepts.”
Here are five of the student designs: