It’s been awhile, but I know it’s never too late to offer a big congratulations to F.I.T. on their big win with Fusion 2008.
It’s the first time F.I.T. has won two years in a row and it was well deserved. I remember being pretty hard on them at the dress rehearsal and telling them to get it together and they did. Parsons put up an amazing fight and had enough talent to make it an exciting, extremely close race. Our judges, Atoosa Rubenstein, Nole Marin, Austin Scarlett, David Yassky, and Sarah Hartshorne, were all impressed by the caliber of craftmenship and innovation.
They were also bombarded with requests for photos and autographs, with which they graciously accepted. I want to say thank you to them for their time and support and kind emails after the school.
The runway was full of beautiful, fresh, cutting edge designs, and Sawa Takai led the pack for F.I.T.. Sawa picked up the Best Designer Award for that school with her crowd pleasing collection and seemingly perfect tailoring. On the Parsons front, Samantha Hyman won Best Designer with her colorful, ready-for-Barney’s collection that I called the winner a few weeks before (once I saw it, I knew and only told my closest friends ).
Michelle Larsen, Fusion’s assistant director, was key in making this one of the best Fusion’s ever and I’m glad to report she will be back next year. Heather Berkowe, F.I.T.’s coordinator, and Yinan Xia, Parson’s coordinator, did an excellent job bringing the best out of both schools. They are both headed for stardom.
In closing, I want to say this year’s team felt more like a family than ever before. I received some incredible emails from many of the designers describing their experience as “amazing, the time of their life, educational, and important.” It really touched me in a way that’s tough to describe.
I just keep thinking about the last image I saw of Jessica Velez, a F.I.T. designer who won the Fusion Award and the Designer’s Designer Award. She was in tears and I was thinking that she wasn’t happy with something and she came over to me and said, “Thank you so much for this. I’m going to miss everyone so much. This was an incredible opportunity.”
Her reaction, her growth during the competition, her passion for fashion, her desire to succeed, her willingness to make new friends, are reasons Fusion goes on. It’s our heartbeat. People often ask what happens after Fusion and I can tell you that several of the designers from this past year have already felt the ripple effects Fusion has had in the industry. Three of the designers went on interviews for jobs and were interviewed by former Fusioners.
Many of our former Fusioners are heads of major clothing lines or have their own lines, and if you watched Project Runway this past season and loved third place finisher Jillian, well, she is a former Fusioner as well. The longer this show goes on, the more apparent it becomes that it does help. You get a taste of the spotlight and you want it even more. I love that.
Fusion will be TEN YEARS OLD this coming year and it will be the biggest show yet. We are inviting past winners to attend to celebrate them and we are also going to get some incredible judges. I’m looking forward to a huge applicant pool at both schools and seeing the best talent to date. Keep your eyes open for important dates and join our Facebook or Myspace page for the latest news. Until September, thank you to both schools and to all our fans out there.