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FIT Judgment Day Set Students on the Path to Fashion Stardom

By Mathew Katz | April 17, 2013 3:01pm

CHELSEA — It's judgment day at FIT.

Students at the Fashion Institute of Technology put their best work on display for the school's annual Judging Day, when fashion superstars come to the school to critique the senior class' thesis projects.

About 250 pieces were displayed on mannequins in the school's Great Hall, from sportswear to evening gowns, lingerie to knitted sweaters. A handful of judges will choose only 80 to be modeled at the school's Future of Fashion runway show on May 1.

"It gives these students the opportunity to at least be judged — that's the reward, since it's a huge part of the industry," said Colette Wong, chairwoman of the school's fashion design program.

"To be judged by a professional, you know they're going to be critical."

Each garment is made entirely by the FIT students, from conception to design to actual production, using a variety of materials. In addition to those clothes chosen for the runway show, the school will also award honors to students for best use of cotton and best use of color.

First-time judge and fashion blogger Bryan Grey-Yambao said he was impressed by the quality of many of the items on display, especially the knit pieces.

"The knitwear in incredible," he said. "Some pieces there are ready to buy."

He added that deciding which pieces worked and which didn't was an easy choice, but he hoped that all students would learn from being judged.

"As an industry, in fashion, things are always rejected, all the time," he said.

Kristen Shirley, the market editor at Elle, was similarly impressed by what was on display, and immediately knew what she liked — and what she didn't.

"If I have to sit there and think about if I like it or not, it probably isn't working," she said.

Shirley added that many of the designs seemed like a good artistic concept, but weren't necessarily something you'd want to wear.

"Remember, it's a garment — it's a work of art, but it needs to be worn," she said.

The judges will make their decisions on which garments will go to the show Wednesday evening — at which point some students will be overjoyed, but many others will be disappointed, according to Wong.

"There will be tears, but this is the industry," she said.