The fourth-semester class of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s associates degree program developed the Barbie Play with Fashion exhibition as part of a design competition to create fashions, interior designs, jewelry, photos, films, and visual displays for Barbie and Ken. The partnership with Mattel Inc. was also aimed at reinvigorating the Barbie brand to reflect greater fashion and design sophistication in the toy’s audience. Finalists in the competition developed their designs into a two-story, multimedia exhibition held in the lobby of FIT’s Fred P. Pomerantz Art and Design Center in Manhattan.
The 600-square-foot exhibition was in place for four months and attracted more than 10,000 unique visitors. The 36 students in the fourth-semester class developed the design for the exhibition through a rigorous process beginning with analysis of design, market, and brand trends and small-group exploration of various design concepts. From these concepts, a group strategy was developed and students took on responsibility for graphic identity, object display, digital media, wayfinding, and interpretive elements.
Sponsoring fabricators, material suppliers, and printers educated the students on construction techniques incorporated into the exhibition. The exhibition project was a successful balance of student exploration and design, multidisciplinary collaboration, and the fostering of showmanship meant to bring the excitement of the runway and New York’s Fashion Week to a diverse audience. The exhibition also deftly shows how designers are influenced by both the confluence of play and mass fashion culture.
Faculty advisors:Craig Berger (lead professor and department chair)Anne Kong (lead professor)Lawrence Langham (graphic design professor)Robin Drake (graphic design professor)
Fashion Institute of Technology Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design 4th semester class
1,250 sq ft
$60,000 and in-kind contributions
Carol Kane, Charlotte Bargoud, Cheeye Choi, Emma Pawlukojc, Samiel Laury, Zhanna Gomanenko, Ellie Yeeun Kim, Emily Hervan, Lorena Rodriguez Ostia, Lani Gideon, Da-Re Kim , Dahea You, Tina Kim, Keisha Caceres, Katherine Hasler, Kyu Yeong Lee, Stephanie Denier, Elyse Falato, Thiago Eichner, Phoebe King, Patricia Loviglio, Daniela Moldonado, Sarah Petrik, Daleja Foreman, Shweta Sharma, Daniel Morris, Sean Madden, Sarah Karp, Mike Johnston, Larissa Taylor, Perle Malka, Gabrielle Marino, Natasha Melo, Jihye Shin
Michael Eudy, Jason Mitja (technical advisors)Sheila Manion Artz (graphic advisor)FIT museum fab