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Alumni Magazine of the Fashion Institute of Technology

volume 7 | number 2 | spring 2014

Alumni Magazine of the Fashion Institute of Technology

Hue is the alumni magazine of the Fashion Institute of Technology, a State University of New York college of art and design, business and technology. It is published three times a year by the Division of Communications and External Relations, 227 West 27 Street, Room B905, New York, NY 10001-5992, 212 217.4700. Email:

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Vice President for Communications and External Relations Loretta Lawrence Keane Assistant Vice President for Communications Carol Leven Editor Linda Angrilli Managing Editor Alex Joseph, MA ’13


Staff Writer Jonathan Vatner Editorial Assistant Laura Hatmaker Art Direction and Design Empire Design Studio

Hue magazine on the web: Get involved with FIT and your fellow alumni. Like the FIT and FIT Alumni Facebook pages and follow @FIT and @FITAlumni on Twitter. Find links to these pages at Also, email the office of Alumni Relations at and let us know what you’ve been up to. ENVIRONMENTAL SAVINGS FOR SPRING 2014 80 trees preserved/planted 230 lbs waterborne waste not created 33,876 gallons wastewater flow saved 3,748 lbs solid waste not generated 7,380 lbs net greenhouse gases prevented


Street Smart An urban style photographer donates a trove of images to FIT

20 She’s InStyle An afternoon with magazine publisher Karin Tracy ’93

10 The Holi Hues of Barsana Ecstatic moments from a “splashy” Indian color festival

23 Ars Botanica Celebrate spring (finally!) with luscious and precise drawings by an alumna

14 Where Does FIT’s Trash Go? This sprawling infographic will change how you think about recycling

26 Eat, Bike, Fold The cult of the folding bike goes foodie

56,487,600 BTUs energy not consumed Printed by Cohber Press on Mohawk Inxwell Super Smooth Eco White FSC-certified, 100% post consumer waste reclaimed/ recycled fiber, made with 100% renewable energy; manufactured chlorine free; certified ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System. Please recycle or share this magazine.




Carrie Di Costanzo ’90 fell in love with the art of botanical illustration after working for years as a fashion illustrator. Like all her work, this painting of a fig branch (gouache on paper, 18 by 14½ inches), is a marvelous blend of stunning beauty and scientific detail. For more, see page 23.

HUE TOO BLOG Do you subscribe to Hue Too? Go there to see some of Trupal Pandya’s photographs of the Omo Valley, additional botanical art by Carrie Di Costanzo, and more scrumptiousness than you can shake a stick at.

DEPARTMENTS 4 Hue’s News 6 I Contact 7 Footprint 7 Faculty On… 28 Alumni Notes 31 Sparks

Who’s going around scrawling “Hue” all over Chelsea? Not us!

Women Board Members Ring the Closing Bell

A Pioneering FIT Program Marks 25 Years The Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing baccalaureate program celebrated its 25th anniversary with a reception on February 11 at the New York Yacht Club.

what’s happening on campus

Four alumni were honored: Tennille Kopiasz ’98, MPS Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management ’04, senior vice president, U.S. marketing for Coty Prestige; Orrea Light ’97, MPS ’02, vice president of product development for global cosmetic marketing at L’Oréal Paris; Bettina O’Neill ’91, vice president and divisional merchandising NYSE Euronext

manager for cosmetics and fragrance at

On March 7, in honor of International Women’s Day, President Joyce F. Brown joined a group of female board members from PVH Corporation, Interpublic Group, and Gannett, among others, to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. (Dr. Brown sits on the board of Ralph Lauren Corporation.) The event celebrated—and called for improvement in—women’s representation on corporate boards of directors.

Supporting FIT Students From Japan

Barneys New York; and Shaunda Swackhamer ’95, vice president of global product innovation for Estée Lauder Companies. Jenny Fine, editor of Beauty Inc, hosted, and Professor Peg Smith, the program’s first coordinator, now retired, was in attendance. FIT has granted degrees in the field since 1978, when industry legend Hazel Bishop, inventor of the first long-lasting “kiss-proof”

Winning Design Chosen for Triangle Fire Memorial

lipstick, chaired an associate degree program in Cosmetics, Fragrance, and Toiletries.

The Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition selected a design (below) by Richard Joon Yoo and Uri Wegman to be constructed on the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory—near Washington Square Park—where a fire killed 146 workers in 1911. In the design, a steel panel engraved with the victims’ names will curve Cutty McGill

around the building, extending up to the eighth floor, where the fire ignited. Visitors will be able to read the names reflected in a mirror at hip height. The design contest drew 176 entries from Aileen Inoue, chair of the U.S.-Japan Council, Ohara, and Kennedy.

30 countries, and the winners received a $5,000 award, sponsored by the United College Employ-

Yoko Ohara, Fashion Buying and Merchan-

ees of FIT. The coalition is now raising funds to

dising ’67, president of the Japan FIT Alumni

implement the design. Many victims died in the

Association, was invited to the residence of

Triangle fire as a result of a faulty fire escape and

Caroline Kennedy, the United States ambassa-

a critical exit being locked. Unfortunately, more

dor to Japan, to celebrate the Tomodachi

than a century later, tragedies in Bangladesh

Uniqlo Fellowship, a scholarship that helps

and elsewhere reveal that universal factory

Japanese students learn fashion and business in

safety is still urgently needed.

U.S. schools. One of the first three recipients, Natsuko Koike, enrolled in FIT’s Global Fashion Management MPS program in fall 2013.

Assistant Professor Virginia Bonofiglio, associate chair of Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing; Smith; Annette Green, president emeritus of the Fragrance Foundation; and President Joyce F. Brown.

Study Sustainability in Four Days The Summer Institute at FIT is a new intensive program of lectures, discussions, site visits, and hands-on workshops covering topical issues and geared toward industry professionals and educators. This year’s program, running from June 16 to 19, is titled Sustainability in Fashion and Textiles, with sessions ranging from quality assurance to lifecycle assessment to cause-related marketing. Organized by the School of Art and Design, it will be taught by FIT faculty and other industry experts. To learn more, visit


hue | spring 2014

A Golden Age of Glamour at MFIT

Spike Speaks

QUICK READ >> Time Out New York named MFIT the best free museum in New York City, praising its “ability to find accessible entry points into the exclusive and often esoteric world of haute couture.” >> In March, President Joyce F. Brown was named one of “30 Women Making a Difference” in a special

Jerry Speier

report by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. >> The FIT Foundation’s annual awards dinner on June 9 will honor Jay Baker, chair of the foundation

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Spike

and FIT trustee; Linda Fargo, senior vice president

Lee’s controversial, influential film, Do the Right

of the fashion office and store presentation for MFIT

Thing. FIT’s Black Student Union invited the director to speak as part of Black History Month. The frigid February night proved the perfect time to watch a movie that takes place on a scorchinghot summer day in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Lee said he was inspired to write the script in part because “I noticed that in New York, when it gets above 95 degrees, people lose their minds.”

The male mannequin wears a McGregor beach robe of cream printed cotton, circa 1935-40, and a wool knit swimsuit, circa 1929. On the female mannequin, a Munchen wool swimsuit, circa 1930.

City Economic Development Corporation, will

during one of the most tumultuous periods of

educate a third class of 35 designers this summer. >> In her State of the University address January 14,

1930s, which closed at The Museum at FIT on

organized by students in FIT’s master’s program in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice, traced the iconic, outlaw fashion from its Harley-Davidson origins in 1928 to contemporary reappropriations as couture. The exhibition closed April 5, but some of the garments, along with an audio tour and inspiration images, can still be viewed on the website, to reserve a table.

program jointly organized by FIT and the New York

progressive qualities of 1930s fashions emerged

of Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the

Beyond Rebellion: Fashioning the Biker Jacket,

designer, philanthropist, and FIT trustee. Email

>> Design Entrepreneurs NYC, the fashion business

“It is a compelling irony that the elegant and

modern Western history,” wrote the curators

Looking Good in Leather

Bergdorf Goodman; and Joan Hornig, jewelry

Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher announced the

April 19. The exhibition, organized by Patricia

launch of Open SUNY (, an online

Mears, deputy director of the museum, and

learning environment offering degree programs

G. Bruce Boyer, menswear authority and author,

from a range of SUNY campuses. She also

is the first to examine both men’s and women’s

announced an effort to increase paid internships

fashions between the world wars. The garments

at Fortune 500 companies with a presence in

on display, by Madeleine Vionnet, Augusta-

New York.

bernard, Charles James, and others, reflect a softer, less ornamented, and more elegantly pro-

>> FIT’s Eighth Annual Sustainable Business and

portioned style than in previous eras. Visit the

Design Conference: People, Planet, Prosperity—

museum’s website to eye such treasures as Fred

Measuring Our Impact took place April 8 in the

Astaire’s bountiful shoe collection, which puts

John E. Reeves Great Hall. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.,

Carrie Bradshaw’s to shame.

acclaimed radio host, activist, and environmental lawyer, keynoted.

An Eye-Popping Pop-Up Shop In November, Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design students created Holiday Bizarre, a Surrealism-themed pop-up shop in the Pomerantz Center, to sell secondhand fashions from the

>> A project proposed by three Textile Development and Marketing students was selected for presentation at the Clinton Global Initiative University in March. The proposal, involving growing plants for natural dyes on FIT’s rooftops,

Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer

was one of just 32 chosen to participate in a

Center Thrift Shop. In just five days, the shop

crowd-funding effort.

grossed $35,000 to benefit cancer research, education, and patient outreach.

>> The Museum Association of New York bestowed an Award of Merit on The Museum at FIT’s recent exhibition, A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk; judges praised


the supplementary programming that “enlivened the museum’s participation in the community.”

Smiljana Peros

A Perfecto jacket by the American outerwear company Schott, circa 1980. The Perfecto style, introduced by Irving Schott in 1928, featured durable black horsehide leather, exposed zippers, metal snaps, and an asymmetrical front closure.


MONSIEUR X Chadbourne Oliver Fine Arts BFA ’14

a student in first person

Is it hard to live up to a name like Chadbourne? I think I do it justice. My parents were going to going to call me Cameron, but they found out it means “crooked nose,” so they just opened a baby-name book at random and there was my name. Do you remember your first art experience? When I was, like, 9, my father and I had this conversation about color— how it’s not inherent in a thing but needs light in order to be. My mind was so blown, I exclaimed, “I’ve been living a lie!” Why fine art? It’s not the most lucrative thing. I’m okay with a day job, as long as I have time to carry out the paintings I have in my head. I work at Urban Outfitters, and I want to become a display artist there. At Christmas, I helped them make wreaths and trees out of plywood and construction materials. Their motto is “No Rembrandt!”; you have to work quickly. I always remember that Warhol spent years drawing shoes [as a commercial artist] before his prints became famous. Why did you choose painting specifically? I became obsessed with the history of painting, and the spooky, romantic look of bygone times. I love John Singer Sargent. His painting, The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, is of four girls, all staring blankly. It has this immense creepiness. But I also do performance art. For one class, I carved little figures out of alabaster: a french-fry container and a White Castle restaurant. I made up this whole backstory about how they were artifacts, found in Istanbul, created by a fourth century B.C. prophet. For the critiques, I showed up as different characters—a cocksure gallery owner, a crazed, homeless doomsayer. You’re also the lead singer and guitarist for an R&B band, the Graveyard Kids. We’ve played gigs in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Boston, and Burlington College in Vermont. We even had a hit song, “The Raft of the Medusa,” inspired by the Géricault painting. It’s about living in New York and being on a sinking ship financially. The chorus is “It’s too late,” over and over. You’ll graduate in May. What’s your final project? It’s a life-size self-portrait. I’m in a pose like John Singer Sargent’s Madame X—the one that caused a scandal. I’m wearing Tom Ford sunglasses, a leopard-print Adidas jacket, a mink stole, and baggy, camouflage pants. It’s a defiant pose. It always disgusts me when people disparage hipsters. The painting is my response, which is “I’m the king of hipsters.” My teacher pushed me to make it really large. Is there a common denominator among your many endeavors? In all the things I do—painting, performance art, music—I’m pretty tediously specific. Every single thing I do, I really mean. That’s not to say mistakes won’t happen. But I’m a big believer in beautiful mistakes. for musicians) at


hue | spring 2014

Erica Lansner

Music by the Graveyard Kids can be found on Bandcamp (like Facebook

A veteran diplomat helps improve the international organization’s ecological bottom line

Erica Lansner

On the strength of her diplomatic skills, Julie MacKenzie, senior adviser for sustainability at the United Nations, helped effect significant change in the organization’s internal energy consumption and production of waste. The former diplomat for the New Zealand government shared her story at a February 20 event, organized by Shireen Musa, assistant professor of International Trade and Marketing. It was one of many guest lectures arranged by the department to introduce students to a range of international careers. In her almost three years in the role, MacKenzie helped produce three inventories of the U.N.’s greenhouse gas emissions, contributed to guidelines for reducing energy use and cutting emissions from travel and meetings across the U.N. system, and helped grow an internal and external communications program called Greening the Blue. (Blue is an official color of the U.N.) At the headquarters in New York, she oversaw a 37 percent reduction in emissions from building operations and travel. For example, a switch to wind energy reduced greenhouse gas emissions from electricity by nearly 80 percent overnight. And at the U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization headquarters in Rome, reducing portion sizes and adjusting menus in the cafeteria decreased food waste by one third. MacKenzie urged the students not to fear a new challenge just because they may lack specialized experience— as long as they have abilities critical to success in that role. In an organization as large and complex as the United Nations, the crucial skill for her job was the ability to build support among U.N. managers and its 193 member governments. “The requirements of the job had more to do with advocacy and outreach, all skills I’d learned in my years as a diplomat. I simply picked up my toolbox of skills and applied them to a different area.”

insights from the classroom and beyond

steps toward a sustainable future


CHANGING CHANNELS Renée Cooper, Professor, Assistant Chairperson Fashion Merchandising Management On the first day of my Contemporary Retail Management class, I start by listing store classifications on the board: department stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s; specialty stores—Zara, Forever 21, H&M, and Victoria’s Secret. Then we add off-price retailers like T.J. Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, and Saks Off 5th. We include discounters—such as Walmart, Target, and finally e-tailers such as Asos, Amazon, and Nasty Gal. But to consumers today, the classifications are totally blurred, because no one shops in just a single store or channel. The luxe customer shops at Saks or Nordstrom but also at Target. I ask the students where they shop. It’s usually in specialty stores, although millennials will go from Forever 21 to shopping online at Nasty Gal—across all retail classifications and channels. They shop on their mobile devices or iPads or laptops, which is why m-commerce is so important today. Blurred retail lines are not just about the U.S. Having taught in Copenhagen as a Fulbright scholar, I am able to share my experiences with European retail as well. We compare specialty stores like Acne, a Swedish brand, and Illum, a Copenhagen department store which targets the same demographic as Macy’s. The students’ project for the semester is to research a retailer that does not operate in the U.S. Would that retailer have an opportunity for success here? Why, or why not? A student submitted a project on Primark, an Irish brand that operates all over Europe—all private label, and so cheap. The final analysis was that the company could not operate in the U.S. There would be too much competition from stores like Forever 21 and H&M and even Walmart. So teaching how retailers fit—or don’t fit—is my way of helping the students start to understand how varied the industry is. Each company has its own customer base, product mix, and price range, and it’s important for students to under-

MacKenzie after the event.

stand the total retail landscape.


Street Smart

A noted photographer donates work to FIT’s Special Collections By April Calahan, MA Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice ’09

Harlem, 2010, and East Flatbush, Brooklyn, 1980 Twins have been a theme in Shabazz’s work throughout his career. Both of these images are the result of chance meetings on the street. Above: Twins “Drama” and “Flava.” Left: Twin students of Samuel J. Tilden High School.

Photographer Jamel Shabazz has

its own unique look and each borough

captured the cool and chic in city

had its own style. A lot of the rappers

streets for nearly 40 years. Dozens

that came from the community ….

of shows in galleries and museums

weren’t the inventors of [hip-hop

across the U.S., Canada, and Europe

fashion]; they just represented what

have featured his distinctive and

they saw around them.” Over many

fashionable portraits. While docu-

years, Shabazz’s body of work grew

menting his love of urban culture,

to include thousands of photographs

Shabazz’s work records the changing

while he was working a day job as

landscape of New York and the birth

a corrections officer. He developed

and evolution of hip-hop style. Last

a signature style, spontaneous and

fall, he donated 50 photographs to

insightful, in his street portraits,

FIT’s Department of Special Collec-

which were collected in his first book,

tions; here, we offer a selection of

Back in the Days, in 2001.

the images.

Soon, fashion magazines began

Shabazz grew up in Brooklyn in

calling. His images have appeared in

the 1970s. As a teenager, he gravitated

Trace, Suede, Vibe, Elle, Vogue, and

toward the city’s booming graffiti

Jalouse. Commissions often come

culture, where he found an outlet for

with the request to reproduce the

self-expression. “It was a very trying

look and feel of the ’70s and ’80s,

time; gangs were flourishing every-

which Shabazz obliges by including

where,” he says. Shabazz credits a

vintage, custom-made pieces he has

three-year stint in the Army with

saved from his own wardrobe. “I love

keeping him out of trouble. While

to do these types of re-creations to

serving abroad in Germany, he became

throw people off. People will argue,

homesick and “vowed, once I returned

‘This is definitely 1975. I can tell by

home, I would always document my

the sneakers here and that bike—I

life.” Taught by his father, who served

had the same bike!’ And I’m laughing

as a photographer aboard the USS

because I shot that in 2000.”

Intrepid, Shabazz picked up a Canon

For some commercial assign-

AE-1 after returning to New York in

ments, Shabazz uses professional

1980, intending to create “a visual

models, though he says he prefers not

diary.” He noticed that “the camera

to: “I try to stay away from the casting

served as a magnet. It drew a lot of

calls and just get people I know from

young people to me.” He seized the

the street. There’s something special

opportunity “to be a big brother ... to

and magical about the street. You

speak to them about the importance

really don’t ever know what’s around

of education and planning for the

each corner.”

future.” The photographs are almost


hue | spring 2014

secondary to the relationships he

Calahan is an associate in the Gladys

forms with his subjects.

Marcus Library’s Special Collections.

New York provides the backdrop

Her book, Fashion and the Art of

for much of Shabazz’s work. When he

Pochoir, will be published by Thames

first started out, he says, the city “had

and Hudson in 2015.

Right: East Flatbush, 1980 Two brothers, both members of the Jolly Stompers crew. Many members of the gang were fans of old Western movies, and their signature velour hats were derivations of the classic cowboy hat. Below: Times Square, 1980 Sneaker culture was taken seriously in the ’80s. “Back then,” Shabazz says, “a lot of people didn’t have cars, so people saw your exterior. You brought style to your sneakers, you brought flavor to them … your shoelaces might match your hat.”

Top: Lower East Side, 2003 PRO-Keds commissioned Shabazz to shoot this ad campaign with a vintage feel. It was shot in a storefront on Delancey Street on the Lower East Side, where he and his friends shopped for clothes as teenagers. The sneakers are paired with vintage pants, a hat, and a shirt from Shabazz’s personal wardrobe. Above: Tribeca, 2000 Shabazz cultivated a sense of spontaneity in this shoot by requesting his models to bring items from their own wardrobes, including the Westernstyle hats reminiscent of looks popular in the ’80s. Left: Soho, 2000 For the French fashion magazine Jalouse, Shabazz cast two young people from his neighborhood as models. “It makes me feel good to approach people and say ‘I wanna put you down for this photo shoot and show you your greatness.’”

Above: Subway, No. 6 train, 2002 When the weather turns disagreeable, Shabazz often heads underground to shoot in the subways. He created this image for Blackbook magazine on a frigid winter day during a lunch break from his job as a corrections officer.

To make an appointment to visit Special Collections, email or call 212 217.4385.


The Holi Hues of Barsana A photography student captures a riot of color at a festival in India Photographs by Trupal Pandya ‘14 Text by Alex Joseph Opposite: Dressed as Lord Krishna, the leader of a group from a neighboring village charges toward Radha’s temple, brandishing a water gun full of colored liquid.

THREE YEARS AGO, Trupal Pandya ’14 visited Barsana,

Above: “There are small alleys in Barsana, and when people walk in them toward the temple, little boys throw color on them,” Pandya says. This was the first image he took of Lathmar Holi; it was published in Better Photography, a well-known magazine in India.

a town in India where a special variation on the Hindu ritual of Holi, the festival of colors, takes place. He was instantly mesmerized, and a photography project was born.

According to legend, the Hindu god Krishna, who had a

dark complexion, fell in love with a fair-skinned girl, Radha. When she teased him about his skin, he playfully applied

Left: All over the city, Pandya says, “the females impersonate Radha, and hit the men.” Meanwhile, other celebrants shower them with rose petals.

color to her face to make her resemble him. Now, every spring, celebrants in India and elsewhere in Asia splatter one another joyfully in powder and liquid hues.

Below: Men chant and play music, including a nagara drum, in front of the temple.

Barsana is Radha’s village; the only temple for her in

India is there. (Krishna’s love transformed her into a deity.) In the story, Radha playfully beat Krishna, so the local celebration, called Lathmar Holi, includes a ritual in which women chase men away from the temple with sticks. As part of the exuberant festival, adults take a hallucinogen called bhang , which induces a euphoric state. Some men dress up as Radha.

“There are no rules,” Pandya says with a mischievous

smile. “Anyone can color anybody.” (Keeping his camera out of the spray was no mean feat.) The first picture he took, of a boy tossing a pail of blue liquid, was printed in a noted Indian photography magazine. The following year, Pandya returned to Barsana to document the chromatic chaos.


Opposite: A priest flings powdered color onto Lathmar Holi celebrants as they play music and chant. Top: Devotees dressed as Krishna and Radha. Above: A Holi celebrant writhes in a euphoric trance, under the influence of bhang. Right: Boys lurk with water cannons, waiting to color passersby.


hue | spring 2014

Pandya, Photography ’14, took this self-portrait while staying with the Benna tribe in the Omo Valley of Ethiopia.

Trupal Pandya was raised in India and studied business at a college in the state of Gujarat. “In my third year, I realized I wasn't doing what I loved,” he says. “I dropped out and came to New York to study photography.” Last summer, he interned with Magnum photographer Steve McCurry, most famous for his iconic National Geographic cover image of an Afghan girl. In January, Pandya spent ten days making pictures of remote tribes—Benna, Hamar, and Mursi—in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley with classmate Alex Papakonstantinou ’14. The two rode with their guide for 12 hours over dirt roads to reach some communities, whose cultures are under threat from modernization. In the photos, some tribe members wear traditional dress, and some carry AK47s. Yet being among the Benna “was the most peaceful I have felt in a very long time,” Pandya later wrote. “Some of them were bare naked, some had adorned themselves with beads, some had painted themselves with ash, yet they all had a sense of regality to them. And that raw beauty in its most natural form is what I want to show the world through my photographs.” The images were displayed in the Feldman lobby from March 21 to April 4.


WHERE DOES FIT'S TRASH GO? The college disposes of an impressive variety of waste. Find out what’s recycled, where it’s taken, and what happens after it’s boiled, crushed, shredded, or melted down.

OPEN Smiljana Peros


I have a confession to make: plastic terrifies me. I learned at an impressionable

But the high price of sending trash to landfills has

age that all our yogurt containers, plastic grocery bags, clamshell packaging,

resulted in some hopeful news. Waste management

Styrofoam cups, and countless other petrochemical polymers will remain intact

companies are investing in technologies to recover

in landfills for hundreds of years. Nightmares of being swallowed by a churning

and recycle as much as possible from simple trash.

pit of trash have haunted me ever since.

For example, about 80 percent of Manhattan’s trash

Recycling my trash has calmed me somewhat, but recently I began wondering

is converted to electricity in Newark, using a relatively

what happens to those recyclables. I’ve always had to trust that my plastic bottles

clean incineration process. Even plastics that are

become more bottles, that my used paper becomes more paper, and that there’s

essentially worthless are beginning to find second

enough landfill for all our trash. Things get more complicated at FIT than in the

lives in construction projects.

home, because of the myriad materials that require special handling. I decided to stop trusting and start investigating. Thus began an exhaustive project of tracking every type of material that gets

I can report that FIT makes a significant effort to reuse and repair instead of throwing away, to recycle when possible, and to dispose of everything else

thrown out at FIT. I spent months interviewing faculty and staff from almost every

responsibly. And FIT’s Sustainability Council, estab-

department, plus representatives from waste management companies that the

lished by President Joyce F. Brown, has helped

college works with, to find out what we throw away, where it goes, and what

engineer many other eco-initiatives on campus.

happens after that. It wasn’t enough to know what we recycle; I became obsessive about discovering what these things became after they were boiled, shredded, crushed, or melted down. Everywhere I looked, I found a story. With help from a grant from FIT’s Sustainability Council, Hue hired Nigel Holmes, who for decades has designed “explanation graphics” for Time magazine and many other publications, to translate my research into an engaging infographic, presented on these pages. He also created a series of posters that were displayed at FIT’s Eighth Annual Sustainable Business and Design Conference on April 8. Visit for more information.

HERE ARE A FEW ACHIEVEMENTS: • All cafeteria waste is recycled or composted. Even the disposable utensils, which are made of corn plastic, are ground up on site and trucked to a compost facility.

• The print shop recently went 100 percent digital, eliminating both paper waste and the use of toxic chemicals.

My first discovery was that FIT disposes of a staggering array of waste types, including such chemicals as “spent pickle” in the Jewelry Design labs, photo fixer in the darkrooms, urethanes in the Toy Design lab, and polychlorinated biphenyl from old lighting fixtures. These can’t be thrown in the trash or poured down the drain. Joseph Arcoleo, director of environmental, health, and safety compliance

• Most of FIT’s departments, academic and otherwise, have been mindful about reducing and reusing materials.

• The college has installed “green roofs” atop several academic buildings; in addition to the

at FIT, and the faculty and staff who work with him, see that every potentially

atmospheric benefits of extra foliage, this

hazardous material is treated safely and responsibly.

rooftop greenery soaks up rainwater, helping to

I also learned that I had been disposing of a few things incorrectly myself. (You’ll find some tips for proper sorting at the far right of this centerfold.) But my biggest lesson was that nothing in the waste management business is simple. With few exceptions, everything that we throw away must travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to its final destination. And while it’s not cheap to send trash to a landfill, recycling can be even more expensive. For example, if someone leaves an unlabeled bottle of liquid in a lab or doesn’t store volatile chemicals correctly, disposing of them safely can cost thousands of dollars. Aerosol cans

prevent sewers from overflowing into the Hudson River during storms. Typical of large institutions, FIT still creates a massive amount of waste, but these and other efforts have made a significant impact, and we continue to look for ways to improve.

to fill the Empire State Building, and most of that is sent to landfills in other states.

Special thanks to Joseph Arcoleo, FIT’s director of environmental, health, and safety compliance; Rebecca Fraley Corrado, assistant vice president of administration; George Jefremow, executive director of facilities; Astor Pagan, director of facilities and maintenance for the residence halls; Mohammed Sdad, director of buildings and grounds; Odir Pacheco, food service director; Roy Larsen, print manager; Jana Duda, technology resource manager; the Sustainability Council; President Joyce F. Brown; and many others

That rapacious trash monster I feared as a kid might not be such a fantasy after all.

at FIT and beyond.

that are not completely empty must be sent to South Carolina to be fed into a cement kiln. And even though we can be reasonably certain that, say, the aluminum can we recycle will be used to make more cans, or that a paper bag will become part of a pizza box, it’s hard to know what will happen to those polystyrene or polypropylene takeout containers, even now that New York City accepts them for recycling. For me, the scariest thing is that our city produces enough garbage every day



arin Tracy’s corner office on the 24th floor of

understand why she’s so good at closing deals. She has a few

the Time & Life Building affords a remarkably

theories about why she’s been so successful in her career. One,

unrestricted view. From her desk, Tracy,

she says with a shrug, is “Let’s face it: You have to be likable!

the publisher of InStyle since May 2013, can

The client has to want to take your meeting.” It’s true, too;

see far downtown and west to the horizon,

after a few minutes, you find yourself rooting for her. She’s

a landscape as limitless as her ambition.

very winning.

That’s appropriate, because she’s in

looking perfectly at home in her surprisingly cozy office—a fluffy

and a management team—for a very ambitious magazine. The

white rug, stylish leather furniture, macarons on a tray. Perched

20-year-old InStyle has the largest circulation, over 1.8 million,

on a chair in a slim-fitting blue dress, Tracy describes the “cohesive

of any fashion title in America; it has run the most ad pages in the

marketing experience” with “many different solutions” that InStyle’s

fashion and beauty category for five years in a row; readers buy

advertising partners expect. Her team sells online ads, of course,

7.6 items from advertisements in each issue. “They’re shopping

and maintains a presence on social networks (their Facebook page

right off the ads,” Tracy says. A copy of InStyle was sold every six

has almost 2.9 million followers, their Twitter feed 2.6 million),

seconds in the second half of 2013, giving the publication 76 percent

so they can offer sponsored links and tweets (“brought to you by

higher newsstand sales than Vogue, and more than Elle, Harper’s

L’Oréal”). They organize and promote in-store events. They also

Bazaar, and Marie Claire combined.

collaborate with brands to develop product. Last year, for example,

Almost instantly, the connection between those jaw-dropping


Selling print ads is just the tip of the iceberg, Tracy says,

charge of the business side—more than 70 sales people, marketers,

the magazine’s editors put their stamp of approval on a small

figures and the person responsible for them becomes obvious:

collection of shoes for Nine West, called 9W♥InStyle, which sold

Tracy emanates energy. When she focuses the beam of her attention

domestically. In 2014, the line will expand to include accessories,

on you, answering every question with forceful decisiveness, you

and will also retail in Turkey, Spain, and the U.K.

hue | spring 2014


his fall, for the magazine’s 20th anniversary, Tracy is working on an even more innovative idea. “We’re going to bring Fashion Week alive for

the consumer,” she says. Many fashion shows are streamed live, or their videos are made available afterward. The average viewer, however, may be baffled by the conceptual, directional pieces on the runway, or become impatient if what they see can’t be found in stores right away. In October, InStyle will mount its own show in L.A. to feature editors’ picks from the fall presentations, and broadcast it live online. Editors will interpret the trends, break them down into options at various price points, and make all these looks instantly available, at a click or a touch. Every link on the show’s site will represent a relationship between InStyle and an advertiser. “In my job, relationships are huge,” Tracy says. “We’re here to service our clients, understand their objectives, and drive sales.” It’s her job to rally the magazine’s sales team, and they work hard, but when it’s time to meet with the president or chief marketing officer of a company, Tracy herself steps in. She travels often to major U.S. hubs, and she also hits Europe four times a year, to meet with luxury advertisers. Even in this age of Skype and Google Chat, she says, “It’s very important that you see people at headquarters.” The in-person appearance has immeasurable value: “Being great at this job requires persistence, persuasiveness, trust, and most important, listening. You always have to be reminding them of why— why this is going to meet their goals, making sure

“Being great at this job requires persistence, persuasiveness, trust, and most important, listening.”

they know all your offerings.”


“Let’s face it: You have to be likable! The client has to want to take your meeting.”


or Tracy, InStyle is the Cinderella’s slipper of a job. “I’ve always been interested in how to interpret fashion in an attainable way—and that’s what we’re known for,” she says.

WHERE IT’S AT We asked Karin Tracy, the publisher of InStyle, to name the most stylish places she frequents in New York. “I’m lucky, because where I work—the Time & Life Building—is pretty stylish,” she said. She named a few other places too:

She’s put in plenty of time at other publications. After

working her way up at magazines including Teen Vogue, Marie Claire,

Both Café Cluny in the West

Interview, and Lucky, where she launched the first shopping app, Lucky

Village (“I was just there for a

At Your Service, she came to Time Inc. five years ago as the associate

business meeting this morning”)

publisher of InStyle. Within months her sales prowess was recognized;

and chef Jean-Georges Vongerich-

she was promoted to publisher of People StyleWatch, which she led to a

ten’s ABC Cocina, (in ABC Carpet

50 percent growth in ad pages. Advertising Age named it Magazine of

and Home, left) are fashionable

the Year, and Tracy was promoted to publisher of Entertainment Weekly,

places to meet with clients. Does

where she broke even more sales records. Last fall, InStyle made

it need to be quiet? “No, usually

Advertising Age’s A-List, one of only two titles to be named to the list

clients want to see something hip

for two straight years. The citation mentioned the innovative Nine West

and cool.” But as for herself, “I like

collaboration, and gave the magazine bonus points for creativity: “It

places that are consistently good.”

rewarded iPad readers with a free download of a remix by June cover girl Selena Gomez, held a Twitter interview with new Twitter member

“I have three kids, so on weekends

and September cover star Drew Barrymore, and asked readers to vote

my stylish place is Shake Shack” and

for celebrity nominees in its new Social Media Awards.”

Teardrop Park, right, in Battery Park

It’s been a heady few years for Tracy, who grew up on Staten Island.

City, near her TriBeCa home.

To hear her tell it, attending FIT was a foregone conclusion. She started coming to the college on the

“I’m obsessed with Soul Cycle. They

ferry—“the whole Working Girl

have stationary bikes, it’s dark with

thing”—while still in high school,

flashing lights, and it’s amazingly

for Saturday Live classes, and

loud. In 45 minutes you can burn

worked full time while earning

hundreds of calories, so it’s really

her BS in Marketing. “New

efficient.” Do you see a lot of chic

York was your canvas,” she

people there? “Soul Cycle has their

says of her years at the college.

own collection. It’s hardcore.”

“Where else can you go down

Tracy with an illustration of the look she modeled in the senior fashion show, 1993.

to Barneys during your lunch

She loves to shop in Soho—“I’m a

break?” She studied the job

downtown girl”—but as a publisher,

boards and took advantage

she declines to name a specific store:

of every internship, but the

“I can’t favor any of my ‘children’!” She

best thing about FIT, she says,

has a soft spot for Bleecker Street,

was that her friends were her

too: “It feels like a cool little village,

network: A friend’s cousin

as opposed to a big shopping area.”

alerted her to a sales position at Giorgio Armani, where she learned all about building relationships with

Tracy and her husband own

magazines. She was off and running.

a place in East Quogue, in

The challenge at InStyle is to continue fostering growth. So far

the Hamptons. “That’s where

so good: Under Tracy’s leadership, both the September 2013 and

I am every spare minute that

March 2014 issues were the largest in the brand’s history. She holds

I’m not working.”

an important position in a high-pressure field, but she explains the job simply: “It’s about going out into the industry and getting people excited to shop.” 


hue | spring 2014

ARS BOTANICA Art meets science in the work of Carrie Di Costanzo, Illustration ’90 BY LINDA ANGRILLI


THE JOY OF CAR RIE DI COSTANZO’S botanical paintings is in the

with sketches and color studies. Just working from photos is not sufficient;

sinuous shapes, the subtle hues, the blooms bursting with delicious life;

they don’t capture enough information.”

even insect damage is precisely rendered. Before attending a botanical

Di Costanzo began drawing early—“As young as I could hold a pencil,”

illustration exhibition, The Highgrove Florilegium, in 2008, Di Costanzo

she says. After earning her BFA, she worked as a fashion illustrator at Calvin

didn’t pay much attention to her environment. “I had no interest in flowers or

Klein until 1997, when she took time off to have children. Then she saw the

plants,” she says. Now, besides being an avid gardener, she is a botanical artist

exhibition that changed her life. Inspired by the rich detail and masterful

who paints exquisite flowers and fruits in glorious detail, mainly in gouache

use of watercolor, she began attending botanical illustration workshops near

and watercolor.

her New Jersey home.

Back as far as the first century BC, illustrated books known as herbals

Her work will be in several group shows this year, including the New York

identified plants with medicinal uses. Centuries later, European explorers

Botanical Garden Triennial Exhibition, Weird, Wild, and Wonderful, and an

sailed to distant lands and discovered a wealth of unfamiliar species, spark-

American Society of Botanical Artists traveling exhibition, Following in the

ing intense curiosity about the natural world. Many accomplished artists set

Bartrams’ Footsteps, which opened at the Atlanta History Center in March.

about accurately depicting exotic plants in works that were—and still are—

She is Victoria magazine’s 2014 artist in residence.

avidly collected.

For the artist, satisfaction is easy to define. “I want the viewer to recog-

Today, botanical illustration no longer serves the study of science, but the

nize the plant—that means I’ve done something right. I love painting tex-

art form requires that the plant structures be scientifically accurate. To

tures—the plant world has a lot of texture! I want to capture the color, and

achieve this, Di Costanzo likes to paint from life. “One painting takes 60 to

the composition on the page is important. All that is very challenging,” she

80 hours. The flowers don’t last that long, so I also use photos in conjunction

says, adding simply, “It makes me very happy.”


G ourds


hue | spring 2014




An unconventional bike tour, led by Steven Huang, Graphic Design ’98 Photos by Alex Bitar, Advertising Design ’92 Text by Alex Joseph

Huang designed his own logo for bike tours.

he had quit his job and was working part time at the store. (He once spent a half hour explaining to Lou Reed how to fold his new Brompton.) Eventually, Huang began looking for a way to meet more

The route begins and ends at FIT with a couple of foodie stops along the way.

people who shared his obsession. At Bitar’s urging, New York is bursting with subcultures, each with

he enrolled in an FIT class on brand building,

its own rituals, lingo, and sacred objects. One day

designed a logo, and in May 2010, his unconven-

last June, Hue joined one of the city’s more obscure

tional bike tour made its debut. At first, the rides

tribes: folding-bike aficionados. Led by Steven

were for Bromptons only (“Brommie Yummies”);

Huang ’98, we peddled through a five-hour “Foldie

today, Huang organizes ten tours annually, and

Foodie,” his quirky tour of food spots in Manhattan

other folding models—Dahon, Tern, Trek—are

and Brooklyn. His buddy, photographer Alex Bitar

welcome for “Foldie Foodies.” Decisions about

’92, came along to document the trip.

what and where to eat are made on a whim: “If

How cohesive is the folding-bike cult? More

I’m craving something, I just Google it,” he says.

than 25 riders showed up, from as far as Connect-

Occasionally, the rides have a theme. One was all

icut and Washington, D.C. Conversation topics

pies; another, East-West fusion dishes.

included the bikes’ speed (up to 20 mph), portabil-

There’s more to Huang than Bromptons. He

ity (“My coworkers said, ‘Where do you keep it?’

also happens to love manual typewriters, upright

I’m like, ‘Over there, in the corner,’” “I take mine

basses, and vintage cars (he once owned four

to Amsterdam!”), resistance to theft (“I just bring

BMWs). Still, folding bikes hold a special place in

it in my building”), and storage efficiency (“Having

his heart. “It’s an Asian thing,” he explains. “We

a full-size bike in New York is impossible”).

all grew up with Voltron, the Transformers, and

Design-oriented people are particularly drawn to

origami. Folding things is just in our blood.” For

a British brand of folding bike called Brompton,

that day in June, his obsession united a wildly

prized for being handcrafted and well-designed,

disparate group that included a surgeon, an epide-

with a charmingly intricate fold.

miologist, an environmental lawyer, a documentary

Huang became smitten with Bromptons in 2006. He owned an insurance business, and

filmmaker, and many others. All along the route, bystanders cried out, “Yay,

purchased one from Manhattan’s Bfold bike shop

folding bikes!” A slightly idiosyncratic mode of

in order to make rush-hour deposits easier. Soon

transport suddenly felt like a movement.

Huang demonstrates the art of folding a Brompton, in a stopmotion film made with Bitar. See it online at


hue | spring 2014

A cyclist prepares for the journey. Huang’s rides always start at FIT. “This is where we all used to stand around during Life Drawing breaks and smoke, and come up with ideas,” he says.

First stop: L & L Hawaiian Barbecue near Wall Street for…spam sushi. Delicious! No, really.

Huang leads the group in a bit of pre-ride tai chi: here, the “Repulse Monkey” pose.

“Yay, folding bikes!”

June 23—the day of the ride—is International Typewriter Day. Who knew? Well, Huang did. He brought a portable one and encouraged riders to create food-related haiku.

Huang leads about ten folding bike tours every year and charges $10 per person.

Over the Manhattan Bridge.

Obeying the traffic laws.

Next stop: Nunu Chocolates in Brooklyn for frozen hot chocolate, a distinctive treat.

“May you ride safely and fold gracefully,” Huang wrote in an email to attendees. “Keep Calm and Yummie On.”

Sugar rush.




Gypsy Wedding, Boston-based Sondra Celli specializes in spotlight-stealing custom designs for weddings, communions, christenings, bat mitzvahs, and quinceañeras—for Gypsies and others. Smiljana Peros

Hue: How on earth did you become

is on the board of directors for the Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy, supervising maintenance of the 18.5-mile walkway on the New Jersey side of the river. She is helping to rebuild parts damaged by Hurricane Sandy, in cases where the property owners cannot afford restoration. She’s also the president of the Coalition to Preserve the Palisades Cliffs, fighting developers who try to build there and working to rehabilitate the parkland. Before retiring in 2000, she designed luxury hotels, among other projects.

a designer for Gypsies? Celli: I got my degree in Menswear


In the early ’80s, some Gypsies saw my label in ads for Filene’s and Bonwit Teller, and they found my home number. Now I have about 4,000 Gypsies in my phone’s contact list. The bride, to appear on season 3 of Celli’s show, wears a dress made of 100 yards of ivory, tangerine, and peach organza. Celli used 12,000 Swarovski crystals in the jewelry (including the 14-inch tiara) and 12,000 more in the shoes.

I know every single one by voice. Who exactly are the Gypsies? They’re originally from Ireland,

and paint, among other things, knocking on doors, going from job to job. They make good

has been exhibiting her abstract acrylic paintings in the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery in Chelsea for 11 years. She finds inspiration in her subconscious, as well as in fashion and nature. She lives in Cortland, NY, where she also works as a nurse.

money but they don’t seem to save anything. They marry off their children very young,



sometimes 9 or 10 years old (the wedding isn’t legal, of course), and they need designers to make women’s clothes that fit a child. We even make clothes for the hospital room—as soon as the baby’s born, they put him in a crystal outfit. What have been some of your most memorable commissions? We made a child’s dress out of black-and-white-striped wigs, and the whole top was white crystal. And I don’t just do Gypsies. For Miss Maine, the Miss America contestant, I made her into the prettiest lobster you ever saw. I also did the New England Patriots cheerleaders’ Mongolian Flower, acrylic on canvas, 54 by 30 inches.

uniforms. With cheerleaders, it has to be a little sexy, but it’s family. Nice sexy. They were the first NFL cheerleaders to have Swarovski crystal bling. I sense that bling is a through line in your work.

launched a seasonal online lifestyle magazine, Nora Murphy Country House, last summer. A print edition and e-commerce offerings are in the works. She photographs houses in and near her home state of Connecticut, often working a year in advance to ensure seasonally appropriate weather. In her 18 years at Ethan Allen, most recently as executive vice president of style and advertising, she modernized the company’s look, redesigning the logo, the website, and the flagship store.


Connecticut Country House, LLC

there’s a limit to what men will wear.

Scotland, and Romania. They pave


Murphy’s florally enhanced foyer, from her summer 2013 issue.

hue | spring 2014

but moved to children’s wear, because

We spend $250,000 a year just in stones. The Gypsies love us to rhinestone pots and pans, shower curtains, even toilet plungers. You name it, we’ve rhinestoned it. One Gypsy asked us to rhinestone her initials on toilet paper. I said, “If you want to flush money down the toilet, I’ll do it.” How did the TLC show happen? There was a Gypsy show in England that was hot, hot, hot. One night I got a call from TLC to do the American version. Season Three premieres this spring in over 30 countries. It’s been a ride. Although you have 19 employees, you design everything yourself. How do you manage it? I say no a lot. Sometimes the Gypsies will delay their whole wedding until I can do the dress. Or they won’t hold a funeral until everyone—including the deceased—has their rhinestone clothes.

Marcia Dolgin

news from your classmates

strange journey.

Wong stands in front of the Palisades cliffs.



She recently talked with Hue about her



Francis’s pattern for a shearling coat, and the coat itself in a Banana Republic catalog. LESLIE ERIC FRANCIS, PATTERNMAKING TECHNOLOGY, has done freelance pattern engineering, specializing in outerwear, for about 30 brands over the past decade, including Banana Republic, Vince Camuto, and Isaac Mizrahi. He teaches his own patternmaking system to students of Expert Fit: Patterns, Grading, and Specifications, a class offered by FIT’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Clockwise from top left: Stills from “Jealous,” “Blow,” and “Yoncé,” and the cast of “Yoncé.” All feature Manhattan’s jewelry.

Mere weeks after lending some of her substantial, Gothic-inspired jewelry designs to appear in six Beyoncé music videos, Margo Manhattan woke up one morning in December


owns the Boom Boom Brow Bar, a facial waxing salon in Greenwich Village that shaped more than 30,000 eyebrows last year. A self-professed fan of “big bushy brows,” her specialty is Brow Rehab, a customized action plan for restoring overplucked follicles. The New York Times wrote up the shop in 2011, and the Real Housewives dropped by in 2012, but her proudest moment was seeing her business mentioned in Vogue. RELATED INDUSTRIES,


teaches home economics and Italian in a public school in Bayport, Long Island. Last spring, he earned his master’s degree in Italian at Stony Brook University; his thesis was about Italian Futurist artist and designer Thayaht, best known for the creation of the TuTa, a modernist jumpsuit that was a precursor of contemporary sportswear.


to the news that all the videos had been released overnight. The singer’s self-titled “visual album,” containing 17 videos, dropped without advance publicity. Needless to say, Manhattan was delighted. “I met a stylist in Montauk a while ago,” remembers the designer, known for creating the AIDS and breast cancer awareness ribbon pins in the ’90s. “She told me my work looked very ’70s, and that she had never seen anything quite like it. She called me months later, saying she was styling all of Beyoncé’s videos. She used my jewelry in three videos, then three more. I knew they were shooting for a visual album, but I didn’t know what that meant—I thought it would be a CD. I didn’t think it would launch so quickly. I went to sleep one night and had 25 texts from friends the next morning.” ALVARO CASTEJON, FASHION DESIGN, has

been named co-creative director at Azzaro Paris, with his creative partner, Arnaud Maillard. Azzaro, he says, is a couture-style line “all about the sensuality and provocation inside each woman.” He previously worked as a studio assistant with Alexander McQueen at Givenchy and as a designer for nine years with Karl Lagerfeld at his own house and at Fendi. Castejon and Maillard also design their own line, Alvarno, “sophisticated ready-to-wear with a rock attitude.”

BINA VALENZANO, ADVERTISING AND MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS, is co-owner of the BookMark Shoppe, a bookstore in its 12th year in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The decline of the printed word has kept her busy finding ways to increase the store’s value to the community, for example, through book clubs, children’s story time, and a “knitting knook,” where yarns and needles are sold.


created the Sili Squeeze, a reusable silicone food pouch for babies, with a valve that prevents squirting, after her 10-month-old son emptied the contents of a disposable pouch all over himself. It sells in 500 baby boutiques around the world.

Left: Thayaht wearing his Tuta, 1920.


has practiced acupuncture in Staten Island since 2011. Most of her clients come in with back pain, but she treats a wide range of ailments, and finds acupuncture most effective at alleviating stress-induced problems, “like a reset button for the central nervous system.”



A red Kalgan fur coat with silk jacquard sleeves, and a cocktail dress in black jacquard jersey with white cotton poplin and gold chain.

The Sili Squeeze silicone food pouch.






opened his custom tailoring business in 2010 after training at Valentino, Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, and Yves Saint Laurent. Working with mills in England and Italy, Pomerantz develops exclusive fabrics and patterns to match each season’s styles. He is proud of his fit, tailored but not tight, and the thoughtful finishes, done by hand in the company headquarters in Newport Beach, CA. Pomerantz in his office.

Simara Nahabedian


founded Elegantees, a line of fashionable but casual wash-and-wear knit tops, mostly priced under $30. Everything is designed by Martinez and Wildy Sanchez, Fashion Design ’06, and manufactured in Nepal and New York City by women rescued from sex trafficking.


“Clarissa” cotton tee with chiffon, $29.

The Pawn Stars: Austin Russell, Rick Harrison, Richard Harrison, and Corey Harrison.

Rick, Richard, and Corey Harrison, intergenerational subjects of the History Channel series Pawn Stars, drive a hard bargain at their 24-hour Vegas pawnshop, and they’re never at a loss for words. Their highly watchable antics, combined with their keen appraisal skills for the bizarrest of attic treasures, helped make Heather DiRubba’s career. DiRubba took on the publicity for Pawn Stars in 2009, a year after she was hired at A&E Networks—a media company that owns ten channels, including History, Lifetime, and, of course, A&E. The show signaled a change in History’s standard fare, from black-and-white


war documentaries to quirky reality shows.

earned a law degree from New York Law School in 2012 and works as an immigration attorney at Pollack, Pollack, Isaac and DeCicco, LLP, defending people from deportation. He helps clients apply for U visas, reserved for victims of violent crimes who cooperate in the prosecution of their attacker, as well as waivers for families in which one parent is not a U.S. citizen. “You don’t get paid much doing this work, since most of your clients have no money,” he says, “but I do get a warm feeling inside.”


When Pawn Stars premiered, DiRubba remembers, “Nobody got behind it. There were no marketing dollars, there wasn’t even a website.” Her pitching—and the Harrisons’ spirited bickering—landed the cast everywhere from Good Morning America to The Tonight Show. Almost overnight, Pawn Stars became History’s biggest hit, making the channel one of the biggest on cable. She also does talent relations for her shows, helping the reality stars navigate their overnight success. If Rick Harrison needed advice on how to handle the paparazzi, for example, he dialed up DiRubba. The relationships DiRubba developed with journalists and


talk-show bookers will be vital for her next challenge: helping


curated an exhibition and sale,, for the online vintage retailer and fashion e-magazine Byronesque. The show, which included rare pieces by John Galliano and Rei Kawakubo, was mounted in an unused section of the James A. Farley Post Office (opposite Madison Square Garden) for six days in December. Borden’s favorite piece was a sample Alexander McQueen jacket (left), circa 2009, that featured a dolphin-in-water motif. “I was truly sorrowful when it sold,” she said.

A&E Networks remake its Bio channel as FYI, an “inspirational lifestyle” channel geared toward upscale women in their early 40s, DiRubba at A&E headquarters. launching July 7. Next year, she’ll help revamp LMN, the Lifetime Movie Network, as well. Moving to FYI and LMN felt like a gamble. DiRubba remembers thinking, “Do I take this risk and go to these fledgling networks that are going to be harder to pitch initially, or do I stay put and continue to ride the History wave?” Now, as FYI’s only publicist, she’s part of the 30-person team that’s crafting the network, from choosing the logo design to selecting the shows. The first shows on the lineup are “unscripted”—in other words, reality. “You don’t want to come out of the gate spending $10 million on a scripted show,” she says. “The question is, how do you do a scripted lifestyle show?” FYI’s initial lineup includes The Feed, a cross between a road show, a buddy comedy, and a talk show, as well as Tiny House Nation, exploring the trend of extreme downsizing. DiRubba’s favorite is B.O.R.N. to Style, a makeover show set in a Harlem boutique. “You

The McQueen jacket in Borden’s 40-piece show.


hue | spring 2014

can’t make these characters up,” she says. —Chad Kaydo

Smiljana Peros

news from your classmates


sources of inspiration

FOR MY FATHER Margaux Minutolo

Fashion Merchandising Management BS ’10 My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer when I was a teenager, and he battled it for ten years. Recently he was diagnosed with stage 3 inoperable lung cancer. It went to his brain and now it’s in his liver. The chemo changed him. One day he was in his 50s; the next, he was in his 90s. I made it a point to go to every treatment with him. We’d sit for eight hours in the chemo infusion room—it was 25 people sitting in recliners in a circle, getting chemicals in their veins. Some people had no family with them. I couldn’t imagine how lonely they felt. I got close with them and wished I could wear something to show my support, but I didn’t want to wear a Hanes T-shirt with a pink ribbon on it. Why couldn’t I wear something that tells a story in an artistic, not obvious way? I started Karma for a Cure in December 2012. I hand-draw the designs for fashion-forward clothing and accessories, and every piece represents a cause. A T-shirt with a skull smoking a cigarette benefits lung cancer research, and one with a pit bull drawn like a Mexican sugar skull raises funds to prevent animal cruelty. It shows the younger generation that it’s cool to give back. The Karma for a Cure line is sold at and at trunk shows at Henri Bendel. Minutolo donates 10 percent of sales to charity.


227 West 27 Street New York, NY 10001-5992 return service requested

Photography student Trupal Pandya ’14 captured this image of a man dressed as the goddess Radha for a celebration in the town of Barsana, India. (See story, page 10.) Getting the picture required split-second timing, Pandya explains. “It was in the temple courtyard, a super-crowded space. As soon as I picked up my camera, the man covered his face but didn’t lose eye contact. He kept looking at me and I shot that photograph.”

Hue Spring 2014  

volume 7 | number 2

Hue Spring 2014  

volume 7 | number 2