The perceptions of a fashion student: From FIT to SUNY Buffalo State

Maya Meredith, Reporter

If you would’ve told me three years ago that I would be back in Buffalo after two years of being at one of the most prestigious fashion schools in the U.S., I would’ve laughed in your face.

Well, life happened. The truth is: New York City is a city full of many opportunities. You’re constantly influenced by “the haves” and “the have-nots,” and if you’re anything like the typical college student, working a part-time job and trying to find yourself in this huge world we call life, you can sometimes get jaded by the small, yet very important, facet we call money.

Although I regret prematurely ending my academic career with the Fashion Institute of Technology, I will admit there are a few differences that are quite enjoyable about being enrolled in the Fashion and Textile Technology Department at Buffalo State.  The most extreme difference is the transportation. Being located right in the heart of midtown Manhattan, there’s always the constant motion of the city’s metro system. The average NYC fashion student worries about one of two things: “What’s the newest trend in Women’s Wear Daily?” or “Will I be able to catch the One Train fast enough to get my favorite Green Tea Latte from that cute guy at Starbucks on 81st street before my next class?”

Of course, if all else fails, there’s always the option of walking. In NYC, walking is a form of communication, a quick way for many people to see your latest outfit and for you to spot all of the up-and-coming street trends. Moreover, it will most likely be another opportunity for you to practice your texting-while-walking skills. However, in Buffalo, walking is more of a way to say, “Yes, I don’t have a car and I lost my bus pass, any other questions?”

I then noticed another extreme difference from FIT’s student body to Buffalo State’s. While walking through the halls of Buffalo State, one may bump into a highly alert accountant major, the highly engrossed science major or even the laid-back health or communication majors. Most importantly, one may bump into quite a few basketball or football players still sporting their under armor gear or sometimes the ever-popular sweatpants followed by a hoodie or a simple T-Shirt.

Whatever the case may be, I didn’t feel like I was in a scene right out of “Gossip Girl.” At FIT, there is a socioeconomic divide and if you ignore it, you’re just making yourself look foolish. There were the fashion design students – always carrying sketchbooks, heavy bags and even heavier bags under their eyes from being up all night finishing a project.

Next were the more privileged fashion-forward individuals who always had the latest $800 handbag followed by next season’s product line from (insert luxury designer name here).

Next were the fashion boys – the guys who thought they were the next Kanye West and if you ever complimented their outfit, they would reassure you that every item was “very exclusive.”

You then had the artists, the skateboarders, the anime students, the photographers, the exchange students, the models, the want-to-be model and the students like me – the dreamers. The dreamers were the ones who either daydreamed in class or spent their time looking at interviews of their favorite designer or the students who knew they were at that school for a reason and spending their off days contemplating whether they had what it takes.

Even though one might think FIT sounds a lot like “Mean Girls,” it isn’t. The Fashion Institute taught me a lot about the industry and the type of people whom I would be working with in the future. FIT taught me that if you’re having a bad hair day, embrace it; if you have to take longer than 30 minutes to get dressed, you should look like it; if you have nothing to wear always look like you’re going to the gym; and if all else fails, wear black.

However, the most important lesson FIT taught me in my absence, is that if your dream doesn’t frighten you, you’re not dreaming hard enough.