Campus Celebrity: Nina Garcia

Many of you know Nina Garcia as the fashion director at Marie Claire and judge on Project Runway. However, the Fashion Institute of Technology knows her as one of our incredible alums. Nina once graced the halls of our buildings and explored our campus with eager eyes. She had hopes, just like us, of making her dreams come true and knew that FIT was the place for her to build her foundation at. We are so honored the Nina took the time to answer some questions just for us! Take a look at what it was like for her as a student here and make sure to read the advice she shared for you.

Her Campus FIT: How did you know that FIT was the school you had to go to? Or what was your deciding factor?
Nina Garcia:
I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be in fashion. When I was 8 or 9 years old I would spend hours sketching dresses and collections. After graduating from Boston University, and moving to NYC to pursue fashion, furthering my education at FIT was an obvious choice. I had heard about the wonderful Fashion programs available at FIT and its stellar reputation.

HCFIT: Do you have any standout memories from your time at FIT and if so, what are they?
NG:
I loved being able to explore the city with new friends. I went to boarding school all through high school and then lived in Boston, which is so much more of a college town than NYC. It was great to have the structure of still being in school but with the ability to take advantage of everything that NYC has to offer.

HCFIT: How do you think FIT prepared you for the life you’re able to live right now? What advice do you have for ambitious students who have huge dreams?
NG:
I arrived at FIT from Paris where I had spent two year studying Fashion Design. I felt lost about my future and had no experience in the real world outside of school. I was also a foreign student with no possibility of working in the USA. FIT gave me the biggest opportunity ever. Through their internship program they allowed me the opportunities to experience several 'jobs' in the industry. These opportunities proved to be beneficial to future. It helped me narrow down my focus of interest.

HCFIT: Now, obviously the school isn't known for a stellar girl to guy ration. When can we expect to start meeting guys—especially in the fashion industry?
NG:
My main focus was my academics, so I am the wrong person to ask about dating. The thing about going to FIT is that you’re not in the typical college environment. New York is your campus. And dating in New York can be tough- my advice is to not obsess over it. Concentrate on feeling good and doing good work and your love life will fall into place.

HCFIT: The biggest question on 99% of our minds: how do you land “that” internship—the one that everyone simply needs to have?
NG:
Do your research [and] speak to the school counselor. When you are applying for that dream internship job, make sure you know as much information about the company as possible. Once you land it, network. Make sure you keep a good relationship with your supervisors. In our industry your next job usually comes from recommendations.

HCFIT: What was your favorite part of campus? Or what was your favorite part of the city as a student?
NG:
I loved the museum at FIT. We were so lucky to have so many great exhibits there.

HCFIT: What should we expect to see in the city during NYFW?
NG:
The energy always changes in New York during fashion week. Not just among the industry but the entire city—there’s a certain sense of excitement in the air. On the downside, you can expect a lot more traffic!

HCFIT: Did anything come to mind that you might want to share?
NG:
It was a great honor to be invited to the 2010 Commencement and give the graduating speech. I was delighted to do it, as I remember when I was sitting in that seat at the school that provided me with the tools and dimension to go for my dreams and ambitions.

At FIT no dream is too big and one day, you, are going to be the one giving advice just like Nina—we pinky promise!

Photo Credit Mark Abrahams