FIT's Fashion Class of 2024 on the Future

FIT's Fashion Class of 2024 on the Future

By Justin MoranMay 29, 2024

Student fashion shows often feel like the most honest snapshots of our time, reflecting the complicated hopes and fears of the next generation.

At the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Future of Fashion Runway Show, 73 students from FIT’s class of 2024 Fashion Design BFA program showcased 82 different designs. Spanning four continents, 20 countries and 21 US states, the group represented five FIT concentrations — childrenswear, intimate apparel, knitwear, special occasion, sportswear — and delivered an equally wide range of themes: from sustainability to size-inclusivity.

Below, PAPER spotlights a selection of FIT’s students and learns more about what they’d like to see from the fashion industry.

Abigail Black

Photography: Michael Loccisano/Getty

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

I would like to see the industry increase and sustain sustainability practices, and demonstrate continued efforts of inclusivity, such as body type. I’d love to see genuine slow, sustainable fashion, as well as brands that encourage consumers to properly care for their garments. These practices would increase a garment’s lifespan for less waste. I’d also like to see clothing that transcends the boundaries of gender to make those feel empowered and comfortable.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

Growing up mixed race, in a household with two separate cultures, really allowed me to appreciate the diversity, versatility, and the origin of things. My thesis collection is inspired by an old Filipino legend of a woman who transforms into a bat-winged monster. It is believed the story came from the colonization and spread of religion in the Philippines. As a designer, prioritizing comfortability, fit, and the technical hand craftsmanship of a garment are important to me. As part of my design ethos, I like to honor the story of things.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I’m excited to see where the future of fashion will go. Through my peers and the values of my generation, I believe the industry will see a lot of change, innovation and growth in the future.

Andrea Maris

Photography: Michael Loccisano/Getty

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

Allowing people of all sizes to feel as beautiful as they are. While there has been an increase in inclusive fashion, a large majority of high fashion brands still choose to represent thin women as the epitome of beauty. These women are most definitely beautiful, but so are curvier women and they deserve to be represented in luxury items. In stores, size ranges are far too limited. It is far easier to be “fashionable” and own high-quality pieces in a smaller body. The largest size that most stores have would not fit a mass amount of people.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

Body inclusion. I am very vocal in the eating disorder community since I believe it is tied closely to fashion. Fashion is what dictates the “ideal body.” Having a repetitive image of what is “ideal” and not seeing yourself in that representation can cause harmful self-loathing and a significant decrease in confidence. My perspective is centered on my determination to improve the relationship that we have with our bodies. I have always been frustrated with how we make our own lives more painful by judging our bodies. Maybe it’s human nature to constantly be seeking perfection. But maybe it can be reframed as seeking to be perfect at loving the body you have instead of hating yourself while striving to achieve “the perfect body.”

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

We are finally realizing how large of an impact we have on the world and how we can incorporate better production practices. I am hopeful for a shift towards sustainable vegan fabrics since an animal does not have to suffer for us to have beautiful clothes. The innovations that are being explored for silk production, leather and fur are all important for our future. To have a cleaner world, we must care about the independence between us and animals.

Shaghayegh (Cher) Mourdazadegun

Photography: Michael Loccisano/Getty

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

I would like to see the fashion industry embrace a more inclusive and collaborative approach, where cultural exchange and mutual influence between the East and West are celebrated and integrated into mainstream fashion. This was the inspiration for my thesis collection, “Intersection of East and West.” By breaking down barriers and highlighting the rich, diverse aesthetics from different cultures, we can create unique, harmonious designs that transcend borders and resonate universally. This change would not only foster creativity and innovation but also promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritages that shape our world.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

I'm bringing a fusion of cultural appreciation, inclusivity and a vision for a fashion industry that transcends boundaries. I design to promote a more inclusive and diverse narrative within fashion. I want my work to reflect the richness of cultural diversity while fostering unity and understanding, evoking a sense of belonging everywhere. Ultimately, I envision fashion as a platform for cross-cultural dialogue and expression, where everyone feels represented and empowered.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I believe that as we continue to break down barriers and celebrate diverse cultures, fashion will evolve into a platform that truly represents the rich tapestry of our global society. The growing awareness and appreciation for different cultural influences within the industry indicate a positive shift towards a more inclusive narrative. This evolution holds the potential to not only redefine beauty standards, but also foster greater unity and understanding among people from diverse backgrounds.

Leticia Galbis

Photography: Michael Loccisano/Getty

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

As a Cuban-American designer, I grew up very rich in culture and spirituality. I come from a family of refugees forced to leave Cuba because they were vocal and strong in their beliefs. I like to think I can harness that dedication, devotion and strength in my art. I know that my family has used music and art to keep a connection to their heritage, and to create the sense of peace and hope that they have always longed for in their home country. My work is based in surrealism. I’ve experienced firsthand how finding beauty in the strange and peace in the absurd can feel grounding. It was grounding for my family and for me. I want to show people, through every piece I create, that they are seen and that there is hope.

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

We are living in a time where we cannot afford for sustainability to be a hobby. It is crucial for our survival and future. Social media consistently feeds us new trends and insecurities, and it is a bottomless pit. If we want to preserve this industry, we need it to slow down.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

My generation gives me hope as I continue to see how attuned we are to the current state of the environment. The industry provides fantasy and comfort for their consumer, but I don’t think those concepts hold true for consumers anymore. Thrifting has become a popular way of sourcing clothing and experimenting with styles due to its accessibility, cost-effectiveness and sustainability. Our communities are starting to see value in slow-fashion, and I believe that it is time for those of us in the fashion industry to listen to what they are saying.

Sergio Jair Garcia Munoz

Photography: Michael Loccisano/Getty

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

As a young designer who grew up in a very small town in Mexico, I am committed to contributing to the creation of a conscious fashion system that goes beyond using social and cultural ideals merely to support sales. I envision a fashion cycle that embraces talent from all backgrounds and does not exclude minorities. I want to contribute to this industry in a way that encourages people to question the narratives presented by fashion brands and to seek deeper meaning. By referencing my cultural heritage and embracing Latino design, I want to infuse innovation and creativity while supporting the often forgotten craftsmanship of local artisans.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

I am championing the significance of cultural diversity by exploring unconventional materials and fostering collaborations with indigenous artisans. By blending tradition with innovation, these partnerships not only breathe new life into age-old practices but also ensure that artisans are duly recognized and compensated for their contributions. Supporting artisans is not only about crafting beautiful pieces, it's about cultivating a platform for diverse voices to be heard, celebrated and empowered.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I understand the profound impact our choices can have on shaping the future. I aim to be a part of the solution. I hope for a future where culturally resonant collections, honoring the rich heritage of Latino culture, are not only created and embraced but also celebrated on a global scale. It's through these authentic expressions of diversity that we pave the way for a more inclusive and culturally vibrant industry landscape.

Riley Grossman

Photography: Michael Loccisano/Getty

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

I would like to see a shift in the way the industry supports students and graduates. I haven't seen or heard enough about how new designers are supported when they transition out of university. I love the way DIY spaces like Fantastic Toiles create space for designers to exhibit or sell their work. Spaces like this give designers opportunities to participate in the industry while still maintaining their creative autonomy.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

Experimentation. I try not to be bound by one specific aesthetic, but instead have each project be in some sort of conversation with the next. In the beginning of my studies, all of my projects were about identity and trying to understand my personal space. My projects then became about a person rather than myself, tracking my relationship at the time. My most current work does not look at people at all, but instead at objects of importance — trinkets, stuffed animals — and their unique ability to heal. Each project is an attempt to connect with the viewer. Whether they find something they relate to, feel comforted or confused by, I hope to create a safe space to elicit some sort of personal feeling.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I’m most hopeful about the camaraderie I’ve found in university. I feel like the graduates at this time share a real bond with each other. It may be because we share the experience of learning the foundation of fashion design in our bedrooms because of COVID, but nonetheless both during my time at FIT as well as when I studied abroad at Central Saint Martins I feel like there is a real support and encouragement among students. In knitwear especially, everyone helps each other out, shares their techniques and encourages experimentation.

Zhiman Huang

Photography: Michael Loccisano/Getty

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

I'd like to see the fashion industry embrace new technologies. Innovations like AI and 3D-printing can bring incredible possibilities to fabrications, allowing designers to experiment with materials in ways that were previously unimaginable. This could lead to the creation of brand new products and a fresh perspective on fashion.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

My perspective emphasizes the integration of technology and sustainability within fashion. I believe that leveraging innovations like AI, 3D-printing and new sustainable materials can revolutionize how we design, produce and consume fashion. This approach not only fosters creativity and customization, but also leads to novel and interesting designs that push the boundaries of traditional fashion.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I'm most hopeful about the potential for technology to drive sustainability and innovation in fashion with advancements like AI, 3D-printing and new sustainable materials like Mycelium Leather, Pineapple Leather, Orange Fiber. We have the opportunity to create designs that are exciting, but also environmentally friendly. These technologies can help reduce waste, promote ethical production practices and offer greater customization for consumers.

Photos courtesy of FIT