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Academic Affairs records
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Academic Affairs records

  • US NNFIT SC.FITA.3
  • subgroup
  • 1944

Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)

FIT Oral histories project

Launched in 1978, an oral history of the fashion industries has been maintained by the Gladys Marcus Library’s Special Collections and Archives department, amassing nearly 375 oral history holdings in various formats, to date, and growing.

In anticipation of FIT's 75th anniversary in 2019, “FIT Talks” was established and institutionalized in [2012?] to make available previously inaccessible content, and to continue to build a rich library of oral histories representative of the fashion and broader creative industries that will be of interest and available to the public at large.

Interviews already include current and former members of the FIT community as well as significant and well-known figures in the fashion industry. For example, charming dialogue about fashion between Princess Grace of Monaco and designer Vera Maxwell is now available to any researcher. Interviews provided through Ford Models, Inc. are also part of the collection.

Fashion Institute of Technology-SUNY, Gladys Marcus Library, College Archives

Annette Green interview, 1996 March 12

This interview discusses Annette Green's contributions to The Fragrance Foundation. It begins with a discussion on the history of the company, Green's initial introduction and eventual rehabilitation of the foundation, and it's current position in the industry. Green discusses her involvement with starting the Cosmetic and Fragrance Program at FIT.

Symposium records

Bound copy of all of the papers and presentations delivered at the 2007 Symposium "Focus on Fashion Journalism.

Julian Tomchin interview, 1986 November 24

This conversation has three main components: first, Tomchin discusses his work in the home furnishings department, consolidating the department into one cohesive collection under the guidance of a fashion director, similar to the structure of the clothing departments. This allowed the department to present more fully developed design ideas to the customer, encouraging the customer to work as her own decorator, just as the fashion departments allowed her to be her own stylist. Next, Tomchin speaks at length about Bloomingdale's emphasis on exclusivity of product, whether through the development of Bloomingdale's own signature products, through the introduction of new international products through the country promotions, or through the collaborative efforts between Bloomingdale's and manufacturers to create products that would be of special interest to the Bloomingdale's customer. This convseration focuses heavily on the importance of the educated buyer in understanding other cultures and being able to translate the excitement of products to the customer. Finally, Tomchin speaks to the major contributions and milestones of Bloomingdale's CEO Marvin S. Traub, who opened 5 new Bloomingdale's stores during the first 8 years of Tomchin's tenure with the department store. Traub is described as having a parental sense of care and interest in the store and as having a level of respect for the customer that translated into thoughtful selection and exhibition of products.

Conversation between Grace Kelly and Vera Maxwell, with an interview of Kelly by John Touhey

This interview consists of two main portions, the first being a casual conversation between Vera Maxwell and Princess Grace while looking at a photo album. The second portion is a formal interview by FIT's John Touhey with Princess Grace.

In the first portion, Maxwell and Princess Grace reminisce on their times together in Switzerland and their mutual love of tweed. The photo album prompts conversation regarding the accelerating rate of change in fashion, various hemlines, and fashionable silhouettes. The loose fitting styles popular at the time of the interview prompt Maxwell to repeatedly mention classic tailoring and body types. Press coverage of the fashion industry as well as coverage of Princess Grace's style is also discussed.

In the formal interview with John Touhey, Princess Grace describes her relationship with Vera Maxwell and then moves on to discuss trends in women's fashion and how they relate to personal style. She mentions her particular distaste for the "sack look" (likely referring to the gunney sack dress) and mini skirts, both popular styles at the time of the interview. Dior, Saint Laurent, Ben Zuckerman, and Vera Maxwell are all mentioned as favorite designers. An American film actress before becoming the Princess of Monaco, Kelly often had a large hand in developing her film costumes and she discusses working with costumer Edith Head while filming with Alfred Hitchcock.

There is also an interview with Nancy White about 2/3rds into the transcript.

Maxwell, Vera

The Reminiscences of Theodore Fred Kuper, 1967 September 29 and 1969 August 15

Articles and interview of Theodore Fred Kuper about the origins of the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.), conducted by the Oral History Research Office of Columbia University in 1969. "These reminiscences of Theodore Fred Kuper refer to the creation and development of the Fashion Institute of Technology, a Community College of the City of New York under the program of the University of the State of New York, together with the creation of the Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industry. The tape recording of these recollections was started on September 29, 1967 by Lionel White, Fashion Institute, serving as recorder for Columbia University Oral History Office and continued from time to time in California by Mr. Kuper until completion on August 15, 1969." Kuper describes the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)'s roots in the immigrant-run garment industry. He details early leaders in its development, and how, under the leadership of personalities such as Shirley Goodman, they sought support and funding to expand the institution's reputation and place in New York City.

Columbia University Center for Oral History Research

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