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Spotlight Series: NATALIE FRITZ

This week we got to meet and learn all about Natalie Fritz, a Fashion Design student at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Natalie is currently in her sophomore year and already making big strides. Here she shares some of her experiences of getting into fashion school, moving to the big apple and working towards making her dreams come true!

Natalie and her winning ensemble in a 2015 F.I.T. Fashion Show

Have you always wanted to be a fashion designer? When & how did you start? 

I grew up always being really creative, always doing hands on projects, from handy work around the house with my dad to making jewelry. As a typical girl I loved fashion and clothes, but when I was a freshmen in high school I heard of a sewing academy that was in Stafford and immediately I was interested. I would say around my end of my sophomore year and beginning of my junior year I discovered that fashion design was my passion in life.

A few of Natalie’s designs that she created herself before starting fashion school.

Natalie’s Aunt’s Wedding Dress

Senior Year Prom Dress

Prom Dress

Who inspires you and your designs? 

Designers like Alexander McQueen and Ralph Lauren are a couple of the designers that inspire me. I get my inspiration from everyday life, from nature to street life to even architecture.

What’s your favorite thing to design? 

My favorite thing to design is eveningwear and everyday wear. 

Why did you decide on The Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.)?  What was the application process like to get in? 

I decided to go to F.I.T. because I knew I wanted to go to design school and so I applied to a couple different schools and F.I.T. I did a little research into F.I.T. and found out that the The Business of Fashion—in its first Global Fashion School Rankings—placed F.I.T. fifth in the world (and second in the U.S.) in the Best Overall category, and third globally in the Most Influential category.

After learning how influential and awesome the school was I had to apply in hopes of getting in, because I also learned that the acceptance rate applying into the Fashion Design Program was 11%. The application process is pretty similar to applying to regular universities, but in addition to multiple essays and the application I had to submit a portfolio containing images of my work.

Natalie in New York’s Times Square

Moving to New York is a big change.  How do you like living in NYC?

Living in New York is absolutely amazing, there is so much to do, and there is so much culture and adventure at my fingertips. Every time I step out onto the concrete, it’s a new adventure

Can you tell us about your first year in design school?  What’s your favorite part about it? 

My first year F.I.T. was interesting. I rapidly came to the understanding that my time was not going to be an ordinary college experience. I often compare my schooling and classes to a 9-5 job. The Fashion Design program semesters contain the average of 6 classes and the classes are at least 3 hours long. I also compare F.I.T. to a job, because rather than professors treating class like a regular college experience, they treat class and have expectations as if it were an internship.

Coat designed during her Freshman Year

Dress with ruffle details Natalie designed during her Freshman year

Back Detail View of ruffle dress

All professors are still working within the industry, so it’s awesome to have those connections in the future. Now don’t get me wrong, although we put in more hours into working than sleeping, we have a lot of awesome opportunities at F.I.T. Some of these opportunities also have to do with the fact that the school is based in the heart of New York City. We get the opportunity to volunteer at New York Fashion Week in the fall and in the spring. I also had the pleasure of dancing with Flo Rida on stage during a concert at the end of last semester!

During last year I became involved in the Fashion Art and Design Club (school club) and in the spring we put on a fashion show/contest with attendees including people from the industry and not to mention Project Runway! Everyone in the club could submit an ensemble for the show. I submitted a two-piece ensemble- a leather skirt with embellished leather leaves and a white velvet crop top for the theme of Garden of Eden/ Fall of Paradise. It was an incredible experience, out of the 47 designers, ranging from 1st semester students- just starting school to 7th or 8th semester students- about to graduate, I tied 3rd for my garment!

Velvet Top & Leather Skirt Ensemble for the Garden of Eden Fashion Show at FIT

Natalie Earned 3rd Place for her ensemble in the Fashion Show

What are your hopes and aspirations for a future in the fashion industry? What do you want to do? 

My opinion could change by the time I graduate in three years, but I would be happy working on a design team under a company like Ralph Lauren or Gucci, and maybe doing some custom work on the side. 

What advice would you give other young people like you who want to be involved in the fashion industry? 

Don’t give up! In the industry many people will give harsh criticism, but you cant let it get you down, you just have keep you’re head up and stay focused on what you’re about, stay true to who you are. Be individual! Fashion is one of the most individual things about people. Be who you are, there is no right or wrong when it comes to style. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and take risks! 

What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is way of life. Every person no matter what ability they possess is able to express him or herself. Much like other interests it’s a community. Fashion is also a bridge into many other industries. 

What would you say is your personal style?

I would like to say that my personal style is little bit of everything. I like to wear current trends but I also like to put my twist on outfits. I like to be different from everyone else

Natalie in Central Park. Photo taken by Alexandra Chalker.

To follow Natalie, check her out here:

Instagram: @natalia_loren

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