As graduating seniors, many college students take finals and turn in papers before capping off their last four years with commencement. But when you're studying fashion design — especially at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) — things are a little different.
On Wednesday, 73 graduating students from FIT's Fashion Design BFA program presented a total of 87 looks to industry professionals spanning every corner of fashion. The annual Future of Fashion runway show took place right outside FIT's doors in Manhattan, and represented the four concentrations: knitwear, sportswear, intimate apparel and special occasion. A handful of students in each category received Critic Awards from industry professionals who mentored them during their final semester.
Meet the winners of FIT's 2023 Future of Fashion Critic Awards, and see all the looks by graduating students featured on the runway, below.
Presented with a Critics Award by designer Jonathan Cohen and a Macy's Bold Representation Award for Best Use of Sustainable Materials, Jacob Caraccilo presented a look inspired by the uniforms of the National Park Service. It's a maximalist's upcycled dream, made using organic eucalyptus fabric.
In the Special Occasion category, Sammi Chen received an award from Marchesa's Georgina Chapman for a red gown adorned with a golden solar expression attached at the hip, cinching the silhouette for a beautifully classic, feminine shape.
Daija Simpson, the knitwear designer at Oscar de la Renta, gave Veronica Creed a Critics Award for a voluminous knit dress with exaggerated blue puffs peeking out throughou. The look features hand embroidery and a snood-like attached scarf wrapped around the bodice.
Katelyn De Levante Raphael
Awarded by designer Sally LaPointe, Katelyn De Levante Raphael sent two looks down the Future of Fashion runway — the first a sportswear jacket and pants set with cargo pockets, a belted waist and smocked sleeves; the second a pinstriped mini skirt and blazer duo with a hint of pink embroidery.
The only designer who received a Critics Award for intimate apparel was Rachel Gewirtz, who was recognized by Fleur du Mal Founder and CEO Jennifer Zuccarini. The student dreamt up a corset outlined by multicolored beads and lace, and trailed by a long, dark turquoise lace train.
Sergio Hudson selected Vanessa Gray for his Critics Award. Both of Gray's looks married different textiles and textures to create one beautifully bonded aesthetic. The graduate used a primarily neutral color palette and showcased her reconstructing abilities with a reworked denim jacket and khaki maxi skirt.
In the Special Occasion category, Yuri Ikegaya was designer Ralph Rucci's Critic Award, showcasing a long, upcycled fur collared coat and an elegant black evening gown with pockets and a high neck.
Taking inspiration from vintage patterns and gardening clothing, Chaeeun Lee won the Critics Award from the senior design director of knitwear at Coach, Stacey Tester. The pink dress with mismatched fabrics boasted completely knitted puff sleeves, a knit camisole and a ruffled bib collar.
Awarded by Nicole Miller, Cecilia Wolf mixed traditional tailoring and feminine dressing in a look that featured a tulle skirt meeting a dress shirt layered beneath a restructured suit vest. Layers of tulle and raw hems of fabric were bunched to make a bouquet-like detail on the side.
Amanda Zanetti got Naeem Khan's Critic Award in the Special Occasion category. Largely inspired by her passion for dance, Zanetti dipped into the aesthetic of balletcore with a soft pink lace gown, finished with a sizable tulle detail spanning the entire circumference of the dress.
Lancy Zhang — Marshall Columbia's Critic Award pick — presented one of the more structural looks of the evening: a wide, boxy jacket over a skirt featuring the arms of blazers all around.
To see all the looks from the night, scroll through the gallery below.