Style, Edit, and Forecast a Life that Is Uniquely Yours
by CJ Lancione
Good morning! Welcome President Brown, Board of Trustees members, faculty, staff, family, friends, honored guests, and members of the graduating class of 2016. At times it may have seemed like this day would never come, but we have finally made it. I am truly honored to speak before you today. I would like to begin by thanking FIT for this opportunity, and express my gratitude to all of the influential professors and staff who have embraced our individuality along the way. I would also like to congratulate my fellow classmates present today for all of their achievements.
As I reflected on my time at FIT, I realized just how much we all have accomplished in such a short few years. We survived long nights with bottomless cups of coffee and countless early mornings digging for IDs with arms full of supplies. And we somehow managed to make it through each semester, despite having snacks confiscated in the computer labs and getting kicked out of workrooms during those dreaded 2am mornings. The end result of all of that hard work though is each and every one of the creative individuals seated here today. We now find ourselves between spaces again. Some of us are finishing up our last degree before venturing out into the world, while others are finishing one in preparation for more to come.
As student of the Textile/Surface Design’s Fabric Styling program, I wanted to share with you today a few life lessons that will stay with me from fabric styling. Three to be exact: to style, edit, and forecast our lives. The first lesson in styling is that it must be odd. Whether it is following photography’s rule of thirds, or styling arrangements in groups of threes and fives, we have been trained that odd numbers are key. Being odd is far more interesting. So too is this true for life. For Marc Jacobs said, “I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect; they are much more interesting.” Continue to make your own statement.
The second fabric styling lesson is about editing. We must edit our lives like we would edit our wardrobes. Coco Chanel always said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day repetition of life. So overextend, but then pull back. Stepping back gives us a new viewpoint. It is important to remember that when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Turn off your phone. Unplug and explore. Live in the moment. Listen to music. Watch films. Look at art. Keep your eyes open for anything and everything.
Finally, the last lesson lies in our forecasting abilities. We spend hours predicting future trends, but it is inevitable that each season there are some trends that just aren’t for everyone. So what do we do? We simply reinvent. We are constantly reinventing ourselves: from our hair and make-up, to our clothes, to our homes, and everything in between. We design these elements to be expressions of who we are. Too often, people become stuck to a dream or a life that isn’t right for them though. So envision the life you want to create. Predict it. Cultivate it. But also have the courage to let go of your dreams and reinvent new ones. As CS Lewis said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
As we all enter together now into our next in-between spaces, some of us will move across the country or across the world, some of us will move back home, and some of us will stay here. Regardless of where your next steps take you, carry with you the legacy that FIT has bestowed upon us. Remember to style, edit, and forecast a life that is uniquely yours. Life is about to come at us like a cab down 27th after the gates go up for the weekend, so keep up the hustle we have perfected so well these past few years. Congratulations, Class of 2016.
Valedictory Address, Class of 2016
Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York
Stylist & Market Editor