Fashion Institute of Technology

New York. It was established in 1944 in a few rooms on the first floor of the High School for Needle Trades. The idea came from a group of textile entrepreneurs, many of whom emigrated to America during the war and worried about the future of their traditional techniques. The first director of the Institute was Mortimer C. Ritter. He offered two courses, one on design and one on scientific management, for a hundred students, at no charge. In 1951, the Institute became part of the State University of New York and initiated a registration fee. In 1959 it moved to Seventh Avenue, in the heart of New York’s fashion industry. During the 1970s it became a college and transformed itself into a campus with eight buildings. There are 11,200 students, both full and part-time, who take 30 specialized courses. Well-financed by New York State, New York City, and private donors, the school takes advantage of the most sophisticated technology and one of the most important fashion museums in the world. There is constant contact with people in the industry. Presentations are organized for the students and famous designers are often invited to speak; these have included Givenchy, Cardin, Versace, and Ferré. Former students include Calvin Klein, Norma Kamali, and Michael Kors.