FIT Future of Fashion


FIT Future of Fashion 2019 Recap
Words by Hannah Rose Prendergast

Ciarra King, photo courtesy of GETTY for FIT

In early May, the Fashion Institute of Technology presented their latest installment of the ‘Future of Fashion.’ This year, the event showcased 99 looks from the graduating class of FIT’s Fashion Design BFA program.
Each year, industry critics/designers provide mentorship to students during their final semester as they prepare for the show. From there, a panel of fashion media professionals selects which garments will make it to the runway and then decide the winning looks in each of the specializations: knitwear, children’s wear, special occasion, intimate apparel, and the newly added category of streetwear and athletics. Among the 2019 Critic Award recipients were Ciarra King, Ariel Clarke (sportswear), Aldrian Diaz, and Jesse Doherty (knitwear).
Ciarra King kicked things off with a twist on the classic button-down accompanied by a wool waistcoat and a pair of organza pants. Her second ensemble, an asymmetrical wool jumpsuit sitting atop a ruffled bodysuit, maintained the perfect mix of tradition and contemporary. Inspired by her Chinese/Filipino heritage, King explains, “My concept stemmed from my personal journey with classifying my cultural identity, so I used that same train of thought to reimagine the classification of clothes, what makes a shirt a shirt, etc.”

Ariel Clarke, photos courtesy of GETTY for FIT

Ariel Clarke aimed to “represent the underrepresented” by incorporating the flags of eight different countries into a cold-shouldered drawstring top coupled with a pair of black track pants. Later, she stunned with a nylon puffer jacket that despite its overwhelming size, felt very light and optimistic. These are clothes that people from around the world can identify with, and for that, Clarke accomplished her goal in recognizing “all of those responsible for the rise of America.”

Aldrian Diaz, photos courtesy of GETTY for FIT

Aldrian Diaz was the definition of Camp with his oversize knit green jumper featuring a rhinestone Chuckie from ‘Rugrats,’ and on the back, a giant care label read “50 % HOMO, 50% SEXUAL.” This was followed up with an equally fun knit pink mini vest with the word “BRAT” sewn on the front. Finishing touches to both pieces were made with giant cartoonish hands. Meant to be worn with attitude, Diaz had no choice but to cast the beautiful queen Serena Tea to walk in his creations.
For Jesse Doherty, the future of fashion looks luxurious and sustainable. This materialized in a navy cotton and silver lurex wrap top with an intarsia yoke overlay and drop crotch trousers. Even with so many moving parts, there was unexpected ease, but it was Doherty’s next look—a grey lyocell metallic hand crochet bikini with a beaded matching cover set—that really solidified his mastery of resort wear.

Jesse Doherty, photo coutesy of GETTY for FIT

The overall theme of the night was how to use fashion to protect yourself not just from the elements but from the “news of the day.” As judge Ken Downing put it, there was “the sense of wanting to wrap yourself [up] and all but disappear into the beautiful amounts of fabrics.”