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Alan Fishman interview about his mother, Shirley Goodman, 1996 May 21

Alan Fishman, the son of Shirley Goodman, discusses Goodman’s role in the early days of FIT. Goodman had worked on the World’s Fair with Grover Whalen, and was eventually introduced to the group of successful businessmen who were founding the institute out of the High School of the Needle Trades. Fishman describes his mother’s intense and lasting advocacy for the institute, though she came in without fashion industry experience. Fishman began working in the FIT mail room during his high school years. He recalls putting fliers together to announce that FIT was building a new building with the firm Deyoung & Moskowitz. Fishman then launches into a colorful description of the exchange trade fair with the U.S.S.R. in Moscow. He witnessed the infamous “Kitchen Debate” between Nixon and Krushchev and performed with a host of American models to showcase the American take on fashion. Following that summer, Fishman attended Cornell and graduated in 1966 with two years spent in Italy. He was briefly drafted, but exempted from service in Vietnam due to his family situation. He returned to FIT in 1966 as a part-time faculty member in the Fine Arts Department. Fishman discusses FIT’s international involvements and his placement at the Polimoda school in Florence, Italy for 7 years at the behest of Marvin Feldman. He describes FIT’s demographics in the 1960s and how those have changed in the years since. He then discusses other roles he has held at the school including time spent working with Deyoung & Moskowitz on the development of the FIT campus. He explains the Fine Arts Department’s role at FIT and the founding of the Artisan Space Gallery. Finally, Fishman notes his mother’s involvement with the “Inner Circle,” an elite group of leading women in the fashion industry.

Fishman, Alan

Peter Scotese interview, circa 1994-1995

Peter Scotese, the Chair of the board of trustees at FIT, joined in 1970. He discusses his appointment to the Board of Education and his advantageous textile manufacturing experience as the CEO of Spring Industries. Scotese lists board members he worked with at the start and later notes how the board has increased its reach. He describes the on-going support that the Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries provides FIT and touts the unique offerings of the school such as the Shirley Goodman Resource Center. Scotese also mentions industry support and the ways in which adjunct professors provide a contemporary vocational education to the students at FIT. He then discusses various departments and how their growth is shaped by the industry. To illustrate, he mentions Andrew Goodman and the founding of the buying and merchandising department. Scotese says that the fur industry is pushing FIT to build a program, and that he sees quite a lot of opportunity in the emergence of home fashions. Finally, Scotese explains his Horatio Alger award and pays homage to successful designers such as Emilio Pucci, Nicole Miller, Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein.

Poll, Carol

Annette Piecora interview, 1994 December 1

Annette Piecora joined FIT in 1977 as a clerical assistant under Gladys Marcus and Jean-Ellen Gibson, the chair of the social science department. Piecora would work in both the personnel department and faculty services department before finding a long-term position in the president’s office. Piecora mentions meeting her husband, Professor Steve Harrington of the social services department, through FIT. Piecora worked with Marvin Feldman and Allan Herschfield, and discusses how she began working for the Board of Trustees as assistant secretary of the college. Piecora expresses excitement for recent funding which would allow distance learning and talks of planning an upcoming 50th anniversary holiday party. She then lists many changes at FIT in faculty and student make-up and also mentions how its rapid growth and budget cuts have led to a loss of community in some senses. However, she credits the important work of the union in restoring gain-sharing relationships and holding the college together. Picora describes her work with the Student Faculty Cooperation which determines funding for various arms of Student Life. Finally, she remembers the dedication of the Marvin Feldman Center and goes on to discuss budget cuts and her own work on the union’s executive committee.

Piecora, Annette

Gibbs Murray interview, 1994 December 6

Gibbs Murray, Chair of the Display and Exhibit Department at the time of this interview, talks about the origins of the program as a double degree in fashion display and photography in the 1960s. He discusses how the Display and Exhibit Department’s singular, comprehensive nature has led to exponential levels of enrollment in recent years, and mentions student exhibitions in conjunction with companies such as Chanel, Patrick Kelly, and Romeo Gigli. Murray details a close relationship with the National Association of Display Industries, and talks about how the advisory council gives valuable feedback to students. He discusses the student body and notable alumni from the program, emphasizing that FIT is uniquely situated for the study of visual merchandising. Murray then mentions industry seminars put on by the department and underscores the value of FIT’s 2-year vocational training. Murray ends the interview with his hopes for an art and design shop at the school.

Murray, Gibbs

Eve Pollack interview, 1995 March 6

Chair of the Marketing Department at the time of this interview, Eve Pollack explains the educational and professional trajectories that led her to a position at FIT in 1978. As her father was a textile converter, Eve found a career in buying haute couture to be a natural fit. She worked in the financial sector as well before being offered an adjunct position teaching a class called “Introduction to the Fashion Business,” at FIT. Pollack discusses the changes she has witnessed in both the student body and the industry itself. She explains her philosophy on the pedagogy of marketing and how Marvin Feldman came to appoint her head of the Fashion Buying and Merchandising Department (FBM). Pollack then discusses linkages to the marketing industry as well as connections with other schools who send her students. As faculty adviser to the Merchandise Management Society, Pollack has set up an affiliation with the American Marketing Association. Each year the association puts on a competition in New Orleans, and Pollack’s students have won several times. Pollack talks about the upper division of FIT’s Marketing Department and how it has come to be recognized as a viable business school. She emphasizes that the future of marketing education is general and addresses all aspects of the industry. Pollack mentions a close relationship with John Pomerantz, who was on the board at the time, and talks about utilizing professional connections to find exemplary adjunct professors. Finally, she discusses the state of marketing in fashion as international sourcing increases and closes with a run down of her current faculty and students.

Pollack, Eve

Saul Smilowitz interview, circa 1994-1995

Chair of the Manufacturing and Management Department at the time of this interview, Saul Smilowitz discusses his life at FIT. He began as a student, graduating in 1953, and returned to teach in 1965 and again in 1989 after a brief hiatus. He talks about FIT’s dress code in the 1950s and how the student body has evolved over the years. Smilowitz discusses the department’s difficulty in recruiting for middle management positions in the industry. He describes their upcoming evaluation by the American Apparel Manufacturers Association; only four colleges have been accepted by the AAMA, FIT being one of them. Smilowitz talks about how they train students for the manufacturing industry and how emphasis on swift, mass production has intensified. He mentions the various degree levels offered in his department, and their move from a factory-oriented focus to a liaison-oriented focus. Graduates of the department have high placement rates and have ended up in major manufacturers such as Liz Claiborne, Nike, and Anne Klein. He talks about how alumni come back to check in at premier industry seminars and events such as the Bobbin Show. Smilowitz then discusses ethnic changes at FIT and how many international students return home with a coveted degree. He details remedial and bridge classes that allow students to matriculate to the upper division, and then talks about how active faculty involvement and continuous evaluation of course offerings keep the department current. Smilowitz goes on to discuss issues in the industry such as sweatshops and how they educate their students on OSHA to avoid such abuses. He then talks about union support and the scholarships offered by the AAMA to FIT students. Finally, he expresses pride in the department’s ability to offer real world experience to students during their time at FIT.

Smilowitz, Saul

Elaine Stone interview, 1995 March 1

Elaine Stone, a professor in the Fashion Buying and Merchandising Department (FBM) at the time of this interview, also served as the coordinator of the Small Business Center and the director of the Center for Global Enterprise. She talks about her first encounters with FIT students while working at various department stores during the holiday season and her invitation to speak at the school. She was immediately taken with FIT and began teaching in 1975 after meeting Newt Godnick of the FBM department while they were buying for major department stores. She discusses the challenges of teaching and describes the close-knit nature of faculty/student relationships at FIT. She worked closely with the Taiwan Textile Federation while at FIT; and her deep international experience led her to help found FIT-affiliated programs such as the National Institute for Fashion Technology in India, Caricom in the Caribbean, Polimoda in Italy, and Shenkar College in Israel. She discusses the founding of the Small Business Center thanks to a faculty retreat put on by Marvin Feldman. With the support of Jeannette Jarnow, the FBM did a survey of alumni and found that 85% owned their own businesses, meaning there was a large gap in the department’s curriculum. What began with a class in business management became a huge cross-department program with federal grants supporting initiatives such as the Women Business Owner’s Association and the Export Assistance Service Extension. Stone describes how the center has also allowed for students to attain international internship experience and discusses linkages with national economic development associations. Stone penned three books during her time at FIT: Fashion Merchandising, Fashion Buying, and Exporting and Importing Fashion. She says a little more about her professional background and then finishes the interview with a ringing endorsement of FIT and her hopes for its future.

Stone, Elaine

Richard Streiter interview, 1995 May 9

Richard Streiter wore many hats at FIT, but at the time of this interview he was the executive director of the Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries. Streiter joined FIT from Pratt Institute as Dean of Students in 1973. He discusses his recruitment by Marvin Feldman and his immediate push for the creation of a comprehensive primary care health service at the school. Streiter fondly remembers the raucous four-year stint of Mardi Gras costume balls held in concert with other art schools as well as FIT’s own talent show. He performed a surprising jazz trumpet set his first year and ended up in the 1976 yearbook for “streaking” at that year’s show. Streiter explains the legislative struggles involved in getting the upper divisions established and commends Feldman for championing FIT’s two-year program. He then talks about how the globalization of the fashion industry is reflected in FIT’s vibrant student body. Streiter discusses the development of Polimoda in Italy and his own move to New Delhi to help establish the National Institute of Fashion Technology. It was a struggle, but Streiter had support from an advisory group in New York and fought for the school’s survival. Upon his return, Streiter held a series of leadership roles at FIT and ultimately became acting director of both the Educational Foundation and the Shirley Goodman Resource Center. He mentions early FIT exhibitions such as the retrospective on Charles James. He then discusses the structure and evolution of the Educational Foundation. Streiter ends the interview with a depiction of an FIT tour through China which he led.

Streiter, Richard

Fragrance Foundation oral history series, 1993 and 1996

Interviews conducted by Estelle Ellis in 1993 on the occasion of the 1993 awards dinner in honor of Annette Green and the Fragrance Foundation, benefitting the educational foundation for the fashion industries. Interviews were conducted with key individuals involved in the fragrance industry including Annette Green (President, Fragrance Foundation), James Preston (Chairman, Avon Products), Lawrence Aiken (President and CEO, Sanofi Beaute), Dr. Fernando Aleu (President, Compar), Eugene Grisanti (Chairman, President and CEO, International Flavors & Fragrances), Jeanette Wagner (President, Estee Lauder), Burton Tansky, (Chairman, Bergdorf Goodman), Rosemarie Bravo (President, Saks Fifth Avenue).

Transcript from Burton Tansky, September 20, 1993

Writing by Tansky Burton, Chairman of Bergdorf Goodman, about Annette Green and her work with the Fragrance Foundation. He discusses the growth of the fragrance industry because of Green and her work with the Fragrance Foundation.

Tansky, Burton, 1937-

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.

Green, Annette

Arthur Jablow interview, 1982 May 14

Arthur Jablow reflecting on his father-in-law, Maurice Rentner. There is a most interesting section in the Oral Memoirs of Maurice Rentner, (his father-in-law) which provides considerable insight into other facets of the ready-to-wear business.

Jablow, Arthur

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.

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.

Eleanor Fried interview, 1984 November 29

Eleanor Fried, the first head of the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)’s placement office, discusses her upbringing and the circumstances that led her to the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.) in 1947, shortly after its founding. She describes the early academic departments at the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.) and its demographics. Fried then details the institute’s successful management program and how the placement office went about developing close relationships with department stores and other employers in the Industry. Fried emphasizes the vocational maturity of many of the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)’s two-year graduates, but explains that some students chose to go on to four-year degrees elsewhere. While the placement department was extremely successful in placing most students, it was severely understaffed; so Fried often ended up employing students to help with outreach. She explains how she stayed in contact with alumni and asked for their ongoing input regarding the school’s curriculum. Fried then describes the positive changes brought about by affirmative action, especially in regards to staffing her office. She finishes the interview by describing a book she published following her retirement as well as two she wrote while at the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.) including, “Is The Fashion Business Your Business?”

FIT Oral histories project

This oral history collection contains close to 400 interviews of prominent 20th-century fashion industry insiders, including Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Princess Grace of Monaco, and Vera Maxwell, as well as members of the FIT faculty and staff. This collection of in-depth interviews with individuals in every segment of the fashion business creates a broad historical record that is drawn directly from the knowledgeable, informal, and often colorful verbalization of its practitioners. FIT's Oral History Project is a unique record of facts, ways and means, points of view, practice and personality that could be preserved in no other way.

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

N.Y. - NYC - Manhattan - 42nd Street to 96th Street - West side, 1977-1988

Photocopied, pasted, and laminated articles concerning retail business and urban planning in Manhattan, from 42nd Street to 96th Street and from 5th Avenue to the Hudson River. Folder includes articles from Crain's New York Business as well as two booklets from the New York Department of City Planning.

N.Y. - NYC - Bronx, 1977-1988

Photocopied, pasted, and laminated articles concerning retail business, urban renewal, and neighborhoods in the Bronx, including articles from Crain's New York Business and The New York Times. Folder also contains three booklets from the City of New York's Department of City Planning concerning neighborhoods and revitalization in the Bronx.

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