FIT Announces Expansion of the Bob Fisch Graduate Student Award Program and Recipients of Inaugural Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence | #education | #technology | #training


Retail pioneer, entrepreneur, and author Bob Fisch presented two $25K Awards for Entrepreneurial Excellence to 2022 graduates: Stephanie Kim, Fashion Design MFA, and Amanda Brown and Eva Carelus, Global Fashion Management

NEW YORK, May 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Today, May 18, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a college of the State University of New York (SUNY), announced that two $25,000 awards for entrepreneurial excellence were presented Tuesday night, May 17, during an event held on campus and hosted by Dr. Brooke Carlson, interim dean, School of Graduate Studies, and the FIT Foundation. Robert (Bob) Fisch, founder and former chairman and CEO of rue21, award-winning author of Fisch Tales: The Making of a Millennial Baby Boomer and the forthcoming Get a Life, and an FIT Foundation director, established the awards to help nurture and advance the careers of outstanding students from FIT’s School of Graduate Studies’ Fashion Design and Global Fashion Management programs.

Fisch, a renowned entrepreneur widely recognized for his bold and successful innovations in value-priced, fast fashion retailing, said: “My FIT experience with the graduate students was inspiring. Their creativity and vision make me want to continue mentoring and helping them achieve their business dreams and goals. They remind and inspire me to never stop learning. Their curiosity is infectious! Being with the students makes me realize I do not know everything and always want to learn. They teach me about life!”

“Bob has a real enthusiasm for the creative ideas of young people and a commitment to listening to them and empowering them to do their best work,” said Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT. “We are very thankful for his unique suite of gifts for two programs in our School of Graduate Studies—and for his great spirit of generosity.”

Bob Fisch’s scholarship goes beyond dollars, and includes Bob coming to FIT and to the classroom to mentor the students during ‘Fireside Chats,'” said Dr. Carlson. “Bob provides thoughtful reflections on his many successful years in industry, and his focus on mentoring really comes through as students soak up his sage advice and wisdom. Bob is very approachable, honest, and open-minded, and this is why he has been so well received by the students.” 

The Class of 2022 recipients of the Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence are:

Stephanie Kim, Fashion Design MFA, for The Yearbook Committee
The Yearbook Committee is the first-of-its-kind full-service creative design house that provides integrated creative direction, media production, and original costume design with expertise in science fiction. It has the capabilities to produce feature-length films and documentaries, digital media campaigns and customized services. Kim is a two-time Cannes Young Lion winner for graphic design, and her fashion designs have been recognized by the CFDA. Kim earned a BFA in Visual Communication from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Amanda Brown and Eva Carelus, Global Fashion Management MPS, for Maid to Alter 
Maid to Alter is a circular, bridesmaid dress brand with rentable dresses that are designed with self-adjustable features so one garment can serve many customers, saving bridesmaids time and money on dress alterations. Brown is a designer at Alex Apparel Group and received a BS in Fashion Merchandising Management from FIT. Carelus is a freelance dress designer at Calvin Klein and received a BFA in Fashion Design from FIT. 

The awards are an extension of the comprehensive Bob Fisch Graduate Student Award Program, launched in 2021, which celebrates entrepreneurial excellence and intergenerational mentoring through an initial gift from Fisch of $300,000. The program includes thesis project completion grants, scholarships for FIT’s Fashion Design MFA and Global Fashion Management MPS programs, year-round educational fireside chats led by Fisch, and extraordinary one-on-one and group mentoring sessions.

FIT’s Fashion Design MFA program, established in 2017, focuses on practice-based research. Unconventional in approach, the program welcomes students with non-fashion backgrounds, as well as those with rich traditional undergraduate training in fashion design. The curriculum emphasizes research methodologies and pushes critical thinking that motivate innovation and invention in design, fit, cut, construction, silhouette, and materiality. The Global Fashion Management program emphasizes leadership, applied creativity, problem-solving, and analytical thinking along with effective writing and presentation skills. The curriculum includes courses in production management and supply chain, global marketing and fashion brand management, culture and international business, corporate finance, politics and world trade, business policy, global retail management, entrepreneurship, and leadership. 

To find out more, please visit FIT.

About FIT
A part of the State University of New York, FIT has been a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology throughout its history. Providing over 8,000 students with an uncommon blend of hands-on, practical experience, theory, and a firm grounding in the liberal arts, the college offers a wide range of affordable programs that foster innovation and collaboration. Its distinctive curriculum is geared to today’s rapidly growing creative economy, including fields such as computer animation, toy design, production management, film and media, and cosmetics and fragrance marketing. Internationally renowned, FIT draws on its New York City location to provide a vibrant, creative community in which to learn. The college offers nearly 50 majors and grants AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, preparing students for professional success and leadership in the new creative economy. Among notable alumni in fashion are Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Reem Acra, Brian Atwood, Dennis Basso, Francisco Costa, Norma Kamali, Nanette Lepore, Bibhu Mohapatra, Daniel Roseberry, Ralph Rucci, John Bartlett, Peter Do, and Michelle Smith. Other prominent graduates include Leslie Blodgett, creator of bareMinerals; international restaurant designer Tony Chi; and Nina Garcia, editor in chief, Elle.

About the FIT Foundation
As the primary fundraising arm for FIT, the FIT Foundation supports and celebrates fearless innovation, inclusivity, and unabashed creativity. Since 1944, the FIT Foundation has advanced the mission of the college and its strategic goals by preparing students to fuel the future of fashion, business, design, technology, and the arts. Serving as a bridge between donors and FIT’s schools, departments, and programs, the foundation strives to inspire and empower the vibrant community of FIT friends, students, alumni, faculty, and industry leaders. Through scholarship development, industry engagement, and programs and events with social impact, the foundation is dedicated to the following core mandates: igniting thought leadership, fostering ingenuity and exploration, and helping FIT lead the next generation of unconventional minds into the new creative economy. 

About Bob Fisch
Robert Fisch is recognized as a pioneering merchant for his bold and successful innovations in value-priced, fast fashion retailing, notably at rue21. Fisch is the founder and former chairman and CEO of rue21, and took the company from bankruptcy to a fast-track winning streak that included a hot-stock IPO, building a national network of 1,200 stores, and a billion-dollar plus value. Fisch’s proven management practices and motivational skills have resulted in a unique mutual-mentoring relationship with millennials in the workplace. He formed a millennial advisory board to serve as a consulting body for his 2019 book release, Fisch Tales: The Making of a Millennial Baby Boomer, which led him to becoming a featured Forbes published author. Additionally, Fisch owns the registration and intellectual property for Millennial Baby Boomer (MBB) and is continuing to build on this brand. Fisch is currently president of RNF Group, a consulting company focused on the assessment and evaluation of retail and other business enterprises, as well as providing mentoring services to existing management of these companies. Fisch has been a guest lecturer and mentor/advisor at FIT, which chose rue21 as the subject of the school’s Fashion Business Management Capstone for extensive study by the senior class in 2016, and in 2020 he was a guest speaker/presenter for Global Fashion Management, presenting his mutual and reverse mentoring strategy based on the Millennial Baby Boomer brand.

CONTACT: Alexandra Mann, [email protected]

SOURCE Fashion Institute of Technology



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