WWD Series Emphasizes FIT’s Importance in Fashion Illustration

Fashion illustration of women in swimsuits in a pool
“Swimwear 82” by Robert Passantino is in FIT’s Frances Neady Collection.

From December 28 to 30, WWD ran a series of features about its history of fashion illustration, including profiles of iconic illustrators who have helped define the publication’s look. Tonya Blazio-Licorish, Fabric Styling ’96 and a faculty member in FIT’s Color Specialist certificate program, came up with the idea. Blazio-Licorish is an archivist for WWD’s parent company, PMC Media, and has been planning ways to promote WWD’s rich history of fashion illustration. The editors thought one article would not be enough.

When Blazio-Licorish looked for illustrators to feature, all roads led to FIT. Steven Stipelman, Robert Passantino, and Kichisaburo Ogawa studied at FIT. Stipelman is a full professor at the college, and Richard Rosenfeld teaches as well. The legendary Antonio Lopez, whose work is now collected as fine art, also studied at FIT. Blazio-Licorish wrote about half the stories; WWD staffers wrote the rest.

Headshot of Black woman with short hair and eyeglasses
Tonya Blazio-Licorish.

“These illustrations help you imagine a time when fashion was very different,” Blazio-Licorish says. “It’s such a fantasy-driven space.”

The series can be found on WWD’s website. Members of the FIT community can access WWD for free through the Gladys Marcus Library.

Blazio-Licorish received an outpouring of gratitude for spearheading the package: “Steven Stipelman gave me an A-plus.”

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