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Dean Marion Brandriss interview, 1984 December 19

This is an interview with Dean Marion Brandriss, who retired from the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.) in 1973. Brandriss explains her work as an English teacher and how she came to work at the City High School of Needle Trades where she met Mortimer Ritter. Brandriss explains how Ritter hand-picked his favorite instructors to help him build what would become the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.). She discusses touring high schools in the spring of 1944 to recruit students for the inaugural class, and offering incentives such as a weekly scholarship to all prospective students. Brandiss started at the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.) as the Director of Admissions, but elucidates the vast scope of work she and the small team were expected to take on. Brandriss describes the student body demographics, transitioning settings, and evolving admissions policies of the Institute as it continued to grow. Brandriss then explains how departments were added and goes into depth on the particular success of the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)?s Fashion Buying and Merchandising Department. Brandriss ends the interview with a recollection of Mortimer Ritter?s insistence on the Institute?s name, saying that he wanted it to resemble that of M.I.T. in sound and flavor.

Marvin Feldman interview, 1984 November 13 and 21

This is an interview with Marvin Feldman, the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)’s longest-serving president, whose term ran from 1971 to 1992. The interview begins with a summary of Feldman’s military background and education, followed by his early work experience for the Ford Foundation and United States government agencies. He then explains his search for college presidencies in both the private and public sectors, and how he ended up at the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.). He describes the administration, faculty, and physical plant when he joined as president, and the Institute’s evolution from a two-year community college to an institution offering a four-year baccalaureate. Feldman then delves into the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)’s interfacing with both the New York State government and various industry groups. He describes the hierarchy of the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)’s administration and its management style. Feldman goes on to explain how departments grow and develop into viable courses and majors, and gives a detailed description of the Marketing program. He discusses the growth of international fashion merchandising, and then introduces two new Master’s programs. Finally, Feldman discusses the industry’s need for trained workers and how the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.) will function in the years ahead.

Norman Goodman interview, 1985 February 8

This interview is with Norman Goodman, son of one of the original Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.) founders, Abe Goodman. Norman discusses his father’s emigration from Romania and subsequent start in the garment business at age 11. Abe’s ascension in the garment business was swift, and he established A. Goodman Company in 1932. Norman describes the company’s set-up, and his father’s decision to largely employ fellow immigrants. In the 1940s, Abe introduced his son to Dr. Mortimer Ritter. Norman explains his own decision to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.) in order to manage his father’s business. He describes his time at school and the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)’s efforts to make a name for itself via a trade show set up by Arthur Tarsius. Norman graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.) in 1948, but eventually chose to move into real estate. By the 1960s, Abe Goodman had liquidated his garment manufacturing business but continued working with others in the industry such as Mollie Parnis.

Jeannette Jarnow interview, 1984 November 1

This interview is with Jeannette Jarnow, the first chairperson of the Buying and Merchandising Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.). Jarnow describes her professional ascent at the department store, Abraham & Straus, up to 1944; when she took a brief break due to her first pregnancy. Jarnow describes the path that led her to seek out a teaching post at the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.). Instead of offering Jarnow a professorial post, Rosalind Snyder invited her to found the Buying and Merchandising Department in 1956. Jarnow describes the challenges of starting a department including the extent of publicity efforts for the department as well as for the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.) itself, still struggling to make its name known in the Industry. As there were little to no instructional materials available, Jarnow assembled several books such as, “The Mathematics of Retail Merchandising,” and “Inside the Fashion Business,” that would come to be used by other educational institutions as well as by professional training programs. Jarnow briefly theorizes why the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.) was not as impacted by student unrest in the 1960s before launching into a depiction of the industry seminars her department held as a service to the Industry. She continues on to discuss the evolution of merchandising with the rise of chain stores, and the ways in which the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.) stays on top of industry trends. Finally Jarnow lists a host of successful alumni such as Sidney Biddle Barrow, the “Mayflower Madam,” who became famous for founding the most expensive call-girl operation in New York City.

Interview of Rosalind Snyder, 1984 November 1

Rosalind Snyder, Founder Dean Emeritus 1944-1963 of FIT, discusses the Institute’s inception at the Central High School of Needle Trades, it’s founding vision, and it’s progression to a college-level institution. Snyder describes the educational trajectory that led to her initial post as Assistant Director alongside Dr. Mortimer Ritter at the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.). She describes the early demographics of students and the evolution of the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)’s curriculum and educational policy, detailing close relationships with the fashion industry itself. Snyder discusses the spirit of collaboration and creativity in the early days of the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.), listing founding educators and innovators who helped the Institute flourish. Snyder pays particular attention to the 1950s wherein the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.) found a home on 27th street and, in 1951, was authorized as a community college; cementing its status as an academic institution of note. Snyder retired from her post in 1963, but asserts her continued belief in the permanence of the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)’s unique vision of creative exploration.

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

Fred Pomerantz interview, 1981 October 29 and November 5

Fred Pomerantz, long-time CEO and founder of Leslie Faye, discusses his start in the ready-to-wear business at age 10. Although he was briefly fired for insubordination, by age 18 he was running all of M.B. Kaufman. He then went into business with his brother, Michael. Pomerantz Brothers sold fur coats, and Fred talks colorfully of his sales methods. After enlisting as a teen during World War I, Fred attended a training camp. He talks about being the only Jewish person there and how, after being bullied to the point of being hospitalized, he came back and gained the respect of the rest of the camp. After a falling out with his brother ended their joint business endeavor, Fred founded Fred Pomerantz, Inc. and started in the dress business. That would lead him to found Silver Pom, for which he procured a factory in Mechanicsville, New York. Fred eventually moved to California to get into the retail business. He mentions proximity to Hollywood and tells the story of inviting 100 people to see him act in a Cary Grant film, only to find that his scene had been cut. Fred got into the retail business out west to little success and eventually returned to New York where he took a job with a piece goods house. Fred talks about the launch of Pommette and the realization of his dream to open Leslie Fay: a firm encompassing fashion, fashion shows, and annual advertisements in major women’s magazines. He tells a colorful anecdote about Dorothy Dean of AMC, and mentions his column in Women’s Wear entitled, “If I Was the King of Garment Town.” Fred goes on to say that Leslie Fay was the first company to produce petite dresses, and details his hard policies on sales. Leslie Fay went public in 1962 and Fred began building management up and increasing staff, while ensuring the maintenance of exceptional quality control. Fred also discusses two presidents of his company: Zachary Buchalter and John Pomerantz, his son.

Pomerantz, Fred

Vera Maxwell 3-part interview

  • US NNFIT SC.FITA.3.20.4.9.1.57
  • Pièce
  • 1979 February 28, March 1, and March 5th
  • Fait partie de Academic Affairs records

John Touhey interviews Vera Maxwell over several days in the winter of 1979 about her childhood, her entry into and experiences in the fashion industry, as well as where she sees it going.

Maxwell, Vera

Ralph Lauren interview, 1990 September 5 and 25

This interview with Ralph Lauren explores his life growing up in the Bronx and how he started his career in the fashion industry. He provides insight to his design process and the company products, which vary from clothing to furnishings and linens.

Lauren, Ralph

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