With Commencement more than a month behind us, one might think that LIM College would be a quiet place. Yet that is definitely not the case. Our New York City campus continues to be a hub of action and activity.
From June 4-6, LIM College served as the main venue for the 2014 Women & Fashion FilmFest (WFF). Part conference, part film festival, this event united leaders in fashion, entertainment and media to support and empower women and girls. Maxwell Hall was the site for discussions with luminaries in fashion, film, television, magazines, and beauty, screenings of films made by both established filmmakers and high school and college students, and empowerment workshops for teen girls. Director of Graduate Studies Jacqui Jenkins, Professors Nicole Kirpalani and David Freschman, and Director of Student Life Michael Palladino played key roles by expertly moderating WFF panels.
Also in June, six Visual Merchandising students took part in the design:retail Student Window Challenge at Saks Fifth Avenue. They created three window displays that graced Saks’ East 49th Street for two weeks and had an invaluable opportunity to work with the legendary store’s visual team while showcasing their talents for prominent retailers and design firms.
Our CEO Speaker Series continued on June 11 with a visit from former Bloomingdale’s CEO Michael Gould, one of the most accomplished and recognized leaders in American retailing. Our MBA and MPS students were grateful to hear his valuable insights on leadership and the state of the industry. On July 7 the CEO Speaker Series will feature Maria M. Vicari, President of Global Licensing, and Patricia Canavan, Vice President of International and Global Licensing for Nautica Apparel Inc. Ms. Vicari is also a member of our Fashion Industry Advisory Board.
These are just a few of the activities that have been keeping members of the LIM College community active over the past month. As we move into July, and the start of our annual Summer Fashion Lab program for high school and visiting college students, I look forward to many more exciting summer days.
On May 22 I had the great honor of shaking each graduate’s hand as they walked across the stage at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center during LIM College’s 75th annual Commencement exercises. More than 425 bright and talented women and men make up our Class of 2014, the largest in LIM College history.
As we celebrated our 75th graduating class, the past and future came together. Marching in the Commencement procession and joining us on stage were representatives from LIM College classes spanning from 1953 to 2013. These alumni have built, and many are continuing to build, impressive careers in fields ranging from merchandising to marketing, publishing, product development, human resources, real estate, finance, fine art and more.
Also present were two honorees who embody the possibilities for great success that an LIM College represents. Daniella Vitale, Chief Operating Officer of Barneys New York and a member of the Class of 1986, was the morning’s keynote speaker. She received LIM College’s Distinguished Achievement Award and an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree. Neva Hall, Executive Vice President of Specialty Stores for Neiman Marcus Stores and a 1974 graduate, was presented with the inaugural Maxwell F. Marcuse Award, which recognizes an alumna who has reached the pinnacle of success within the business of fashion.
Congratulations to all of our graduates! Whether you now embark on your careers or enter graduate school, whether you stay in New York or pack your bags for an opportunity in Los Angeles, or even Beijing, your degree signifies that you have the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to face life’s challenges head-on. I look forward to being proud of your accomplishments for many years to come.
From left: Daniella Vitale, Shannon Oriole, Elizabeth S. Marcuse, Neva Hall
Last Friday night I was thrilled to be in the front row for LIM College’s annual student Fashion Show. This year’s show, held at the Hammerstein Ballroom, was titled “Confectory: A Sweet Story of Fashion.” The production was colorful, whimsical and, above all else, professional. Inspired by looks from the 1940s, 1960s and 1990s, the theme of the evening was candy -- and fashion -- through the decades.
The more than 40 models who graced the runway were a great representation of LIM’s diverse student body, and as you can see from the photo below, amazing feats were performed with body paint by future professional makeup artists from the Make Up For Ever Academy. We were also treated to an electric performance by the College’s Dance Team.
The Fashion Show is an LIM tradition that’s now in its 70th year. It has a storied history of being held in prominent venues throughout New York City, including the Plaza and Waldorf Astoria Hotels.
Conceived and produced entirely by students, it’s an incredible learning experience. All the elements that go into staging a major fashion event are there. Students are responsible for everything from the set and lighting design concepts, to obtaining sponsorships, to developing concepts for the makeup, hair and outfits on the runway. Almost an entire academic year’s work culminates in one glamorous evening.
Thank you to our faculty advisors Maryanne Grisz, Rebecca Fitts and Todd Barnes for their dedication and expert guidance, and congratulations to all the students in our Fashion Show Production Club, Fashion Styling Club and Visual Merchandising Club who worked on this year’s show. It was truly spectacular and we are very proud of you!
On March 24 and 25, LIM College will host a group of graduate students and faculty members from Japan’s Bunka Fashion Graduate University as part of our participation in the Kakehashi Project: The Bridge for Tomorrow.
The Kakehashi Project is designed to promote deeper mutual understanding among the people of Japan and the U.S. and help students develop broader perspectives so they can play active roles at the global level in the future. LIM College is one of only 21 higher education institutions in the U.S. that have been selected to take part in this cross-cultural endeavor.
During the visit, our faculty will take the Japanese students on field trips to the showrooms and offices of major fashion industry players. The students will also take a class on American fashion culture here at LIM College, taught by Professor Amanda Hallay.
This visit to New York will enhance the Japanese students’ understanding of America, and, as we show them the businesses behind American fashion labels, they will truly understand why New York is a worldwide fashion capital. The Bunka students’ activities will culminate with a reception, during which they will give presentations on fashion and culture unique to Japan.
Yet, the Kakehashi Project does not end when the Japanese students depart. This June, 12 LIM College students will travel to Japan for an all-expense-paid, 10-day study tour. They will be joined by Fashion Merchandising Department Chair Terry Burstein and Professor Derek Cockle, whose hard work over the last few months has been made this wonderful opportunity possible.
I am extremely proud that LIM College has been chosen to participate in such a prestigious international program. We hope the relationships that our students and the Bunka Fashion Graduate University students build at the academic level continue on the professional level as they all pursue careers in the global fashion business.
From January 8-18, I had the opportunity to join a group of 30 LIM College students, alumni, faculty, staff -- and a member of our Board of Directors --for the College’s annual Cross-Cultural Analysis trip. We traveled to the beautiful cities of Amsterdam and Paris, where we explored world-famous fashion and cultural sites.
Upon our arrival in Amsterdam we took a scenic bus ride (yes, there were windmills) into the City and were immediately surrounded by Old World charm. There was also an air of familiarity. LIM College’s home of Manhattan was settled by the Dutch, so many place names in New York (such as Harlem) are derived from their language.
Our first field trip was to Coster Diamonds. After a presentation, we were taken to a secure room where we could try on many unbelievable items. I don’t think anything was actually purchased, but everyone had fun.
We also visited Tassenmuseum (Museum of Bags and Purses), home to the world’s premier handbag collection. No sooner had we examined the items on display than we were off for a field trip to PVH/Tommy Hilfiger, a company to which we hope to soon send LIM College interns.
Our final day in Amsterdam began with a very sobering visit to the Anne Frank House. This was followed by a stop at the Rijksmuseum to see, among other treasurers, “The Night Watch,” one of Rembrandt’s masterpieces.
Next stop…Paris. After a quick morning flight, we spent an afternoon touring the “City of Lights” - with the requisite photo op near the Eiffel Tower - and visited Yves St. Laurent’s foundation, The Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent. It was so inspiring to sit in the legendary designer’s studio. We also learned that Pierre, Saint Laurent’s partner, still comes to work at the foundation every day.
Other stops in Paris included a tour of the magnificent department store Galeries Lafayette and a walk/climb through the artists’ district of Montmartre to find Picasso’s first studio. We were privy to a special presentation at the internationally acclaimed vintage store Didier Ludot and toured vintage and designer shops in the area of Palais Royal. An afternoon was spent at Nelly Rodi, a fashion forecasting agency. A morning was spent at Versailles and that afternoon found us mixing scents at the Osmotheque, an international research institution that traces the history of perfumery. It’s also the site of the world’s largest scent archive.
On our final day we were treated to a backstage tour of the famous French cabaret The Lido -- and before we knew it, it was time for our farewell dinner.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a fantastic trip. The sights and sounds of Amsterdam and Paris were truly something to behold, but what was most rewarding for me personally was being able to share it all with so many members of the LIM College community. Special thanks to Professors Grailing King and Nancy Miller for all the work they put into planning this experience. And, of course, I was once again impressed by the enthusiasm, energy and professionalism of our students. They were wonderful ambassadors for LIM College in Europe and the great memories we created on this journey will stay with me for years to come.
Last week, our Office of Student Life sponsored LIM College’s third annual Student Leadership Conference. Featuring speakers from leading businesses and nonprofit organizations, including Time Warner, Inc., Henri Bendel, Bottomless Closet, the American Society for Muslim Advancement, and The Ms. Foundation, this two-day event also included presentations and workshops from several LIM College faculty and staff members.
This year’s theme was “Leadership Without Borders” and the focus was on dialogue about leadership from a global perspective, which is especially critical, given the rapid globalization of not only the business of fashion, but also of the wider world in which we live. Students who participated were encouraged to explore their unique leadership styles in sessions on a diverse array of topics, including mentorship, communication, career change, conflict resolution, and issues unique to women in today’s workplace.
In addition to our own students, we were pleased to host student leaders from St. Francis College, Berkeley College, Kean University, East Stroudsburg University and the City University of New York’s Baruch College. I am confident that everyone who attended this innovative event learned a great deal about their individual leadership potential and is now better prepared to bring positive change to their communities.
I read with great interest the recent news that Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts is leaving that company to join Apple as their Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores. Similarly, this summer, Yves St. Laurent CEO Paul Deneve left his position to become a Vice President at Apple.
What does this mean for fashion? For many, the term “fashion” may once have simply conjured up apparel and accessories, but in our increasingly visual, design-conscious world, fashion is now everywhere. It is no longer just a “look” – it is a lifestyle, and its presence is in almost everything -- from the various products we choose for our homes, to the personal electronic devices we carry all the time, to the sports and entertainment enjoyed by fans throughout the world.
Regardless of what field they are in, more global brands are recognizing the need to develop deeper connections with consumers and elevate all aspects of the customer experience. The rest of the business world is waking up to what we have in the business of fashion have always known. Understanding consumers’ aspirations and how they make purchasing decisions, and forging authentic and true brand connections, is now more important than ever.
What does this mean for LIM College students? It means that the knowledge and skills acquired during the course of an LIM College education are eminently transferable, as today’s recipe for global success requires not just understanding the customer, but also continual innovation to meet that customer’s evolving expectations. That ability to adapt, that constant innovation -- that is the essence of fashion itself.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of our new and returning students, faculty and staff to campus for the start of the 2013-2014 academic year.
This is a very auspicious time for LIM College. This September marks the start of our 75th Anniversary year. We have been in New York City, the center of the fashion world, for nearly three quarters of a century. During that time, an untold number of changes have transformed the industry, and the College itself. Yet our mission has always remained the same – to prepare our students for successful careers in the business of fashion.
What my grandfather Maxwell F. Marcuse founded in 1939 as a one-year certificate program exclusively for women, is now, 75 years later, a master’s degree-level institution with Middle States and ACBSP accreditation, multiple graduate programs, and a growing global footprint.
Today, the world continues to evolve. Therefore, so does LIM College. One of the reasons we’ve been able to stand the test of time – and not just endure, but flourish, is because we have never stopped evolving and progressing as the world has changed around us.
Yet one thing that will never change is our unwavering commitment to our students. As we look forward to the next 75 years, we will continue to transform and elevate the LIM College educational experience and enhance our students’ prospects for rewarding careers in the business of fashion.
Here’s to the start of another great academic year!
On May 31 LIM College held its Commencement exercises at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Families, friends, faculty, staff, and Board members joined us en masse to recognize the accomplishments of our amazing Class of 2013.
In my address I referenced the “Smart is beautiful” tagline Amazon uses in ads for its Fashion division. I did so because our graduates have learned how much more there is to the world of fashion than glitter and glamour and superficial ideas of what is beautiful.
They know there is a hidden force behind what those outside the fashion industry see as effortless beauty and glamour. That force is made up of smart businesspeople who put in a tremendous amount of effort behind the scenes.
Our graduates also know that image can only take one so far. In today’s intensely competitive and technologically advanced global business society, worth is measured mainly by what a creative and strategic mind can envision and what relentless hard work can accomplish.
I have been privileged to witness how an LIM College education has transformed so many of our graduates from enthusiastic but inexperienced college students to competent and confident young professionals. I hope the Class of 2013 will continue to live their lives with the attitude that each new experience is an opportunity to learn more and every new day is another chance to become smarter. Those who heed that advice will always come away with something valuable and, quite often, something beautiful.
From left: Ellen Tracy President & CEO Mark Mendelson, LIM College President Elizabeth S. Marcuse, Class of 2013 undergraduate Valedictorian Samantha Mellone
It’s difficult to believe that we are approaching the conclusion of the Spring 2013 semester. So much has happened here at LIM College over the past few months.
Our newly-expanded Student Center (including a Good to Go café) opened on the first floor of Maxwell Hall at 216 East 45th Street. We also made major curriculum announcements, including the addition of a new Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree program in Fashion Marketing and the introduction of a brand-new track in Home Fashions within our existing Fashion Merchandising major.
During the course of the semester we hosted nearly 40 guest speakers on campus, including Chris Fiore, President of Henri Bendel, along with a diverse array of entrepreneurs, authors and fashion professionals. Fashion legend Patricia Field (of Sex and the City fame) also made a special guest appearance at our annual student fashion show. In another big April event, 78 students and six administrators and faculty members were inducted into our newly-established chapter of the Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society in Business.
The semester may almost be over, but we still have a lot to look forward to. Commencement will take place on May 31 at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, where Ellen Tracy President & CEO Mark Mendelson will be give the keynote address and receive the LIM College Distinguished Award and an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree. On June 6, six of our Visual Merchandising students will participate in DDI’s annual Student Window Challenge, spending an entire day creating displays inside the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store. And on June 25 LIM College will be part of NASDAQ’s official closing bell ceremonies as one of the sponsors of FashInvest’s “Speed Dating” business pitch event.
I look forward to celebrating these exciting occasions - and more - with the entire LIM College community as we bid farewell to a great spring and welcome what is shaping up to be a wonderful summer.