Its 6:00 A.M. and your day is about to begin. You ignore the fact that its negative four degrees outside as you flip through your closet trying to pick out the perfect dress to go with your new chunky heels that you bought at the Barney’s sample sale. Of course you’re not going to tell the jealous girl staring at them in class that they were a sample sale find, you’ll let her think you went on a 5th avenue shopping spree this weekend. Your make-up is perfect, your hair newly curled, you grab your cashmere Marc Jacobs pea-coat and you are out the door. Just in time for your 9:00 class.
If you are a student at The Fashion Institute of Technology, this sounds like a regular Monday to you. To anyone else, this sounds more like a scene from a movie. You probably don’t think that girls like this ACTUALLY exist. They do. Crazy right? For a 9:00 Monday class, you probably wake up at 8:30, grab a hoodie, some Uggs, your Northface, and are set. The thought of wearing sweatpants to class is horrifying to the FIT student body. It’s a completely different world, the fashion school world.
Contrary to popular belief, the life of a fashion school student is not one continuous episode of Project Runway. However, a typical school day is nothing like a day at the average university. Classrooms are not just for learning. The competition students face everyday is cut throat. FIT students are arguably some of the most driven in the nation when it comes to working towards career goals. They are friendly with each other, of course, but at the end of the day, it’s dog eat dog, and each extremely well-dressed canine is left to fend for himself. Professors at FIT do not qualify to teach unless they have been working in the industry for 20 years. Most are still active and successful in their fields and choose to teach as a side job. Opportunity is lurking around every corner and students are ready to tackle it when it comes their way. Duly noted, they wouldn’t dream to tackle it in sweatpants.
As many would assume, a large percentage of the population are female. The small male population is made up of mostly homosexual men. Often better dressed than the girls, these boys have their eyes on the prize as well and put up fierce competition in every outlet. Girls do not come to FIT to meet boys, it is a fact, and it will never change. However, if any straight male were to walk down the block at FIT, he would probably kick himself for not applying. It may be because they are interested in fashion, or because many want to become models themselves, but FIT girls tend to be strikingly attractive. It is unfortunate, but true, that in the fashion world, it is all about how you look. Even behind the scenes, being overweight is considered unacceptable when applying for jobs (as we all found out in “The Devil Wears Prada” when Anne Hathaway’s character was reprimanded for being a size 6). Consequently, most girls are in tip-top shape, and better yet, know how to dress accordingly. Although it is not their goal to impress some guy in class, girls know that they are constantly being judged by each other, their teachers, and potential employers that show up to guest speak in class. They treat every day like an interview and dressing to impress is top priority.
It does sound intense (the dressing up, the constant comparisons, the competition), because it is, but as an FIT student I can attest that it is completely worth it. Even getting up early to do my hair. Every day is a new adventure and life at fashion school is never boring. The lack of testosterone is disappointing, but it’s a compromise I am willing to make because I am certain that I am on the track I’m meant to be on. Plus, with all these fashionistas around, you wouldn’t believe the hand-me-downs I get. It’s that fact alone that makes my lack-of-a-dating life completely worth it.