Runway judges are industry experts who are invited to be guest judges for student collections. Judges offer real-world expertise and give our students feedback on the marketability, styling, fabrication and quality of their designs. Judges are often pulled from our alumni network to ensure the best possible critique, which is crucial to our students' development and future success. Judges select first place, second place, third place and best use of color.
Bridgett Artise reinvents, reuses and recycles her skills in new and beautiful ways as designer of Born Again Vintage, professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, sustainability mentor, fashion collaborator, Youtube teacher, titled Vintage Expert by the New York Times, published author of “Born Again Vintage” , owner of House of BAV and founder of Sustainable Fashion Week US. Pioneering Upcycled Clothing into the world in 2001, for 20 years she has been on a crusade to spread awareness through classes, workshops, presentations and panels. She continues to provide platforms for student, indie and emerging sustainable designers around the world believing everyone should have the accessibility to be supported in this industry.
Phylicia Dove is the Creative Director and Owner of Black Monarchy. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, she moved to Buffalo, NY shortly after graduating from Hobart and William Smith College, then later receiving her Master of Science from Daemen University. Black Monarchy was founded in 2016 through inspirations from the architectural and cultural textiles, celebrating the uniqueness of global diasporas. Her flagship boutique curates the vividness of cultural clothing and jewelry made of raw authentic materials and fabrics that recreate the conglomerate of our world. In 2017, Black Monarchy became the 2017 winner of 43North's "The Pitch" competition, an MWBE business plan competition subset of the Governor's Buffalo Billion aimed to enhance the city's economics and entrepreneurial opportunities for small and thriving businesses. This propelled her many grant victories including a spotlight from Facebook as a business to watch. She was recently featured in the Washington Post as a place to visit in Buffalo, NY.
RASHAAD HOLLEY '19
Rashaad Holley ’19 is a FTT alumni and Founder of The Ruth L. Holley Design Studio. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, he is also a graduate of UB with a Business Administration degree and concentration in Marketing. Rashaad has received multiple scholarships attending Buffalo State including, Diversity Abroad Honors (2017), Eastman Foundation Endowed Scholarship (2018), Runway Best Student Collection (2017) and Best in Show Designer (2017 & 2018) and the YMA Fashion Scholarship (2018). He is a world traveler, studying abroad at Regent’s University London, Milan and China and most recently was invited to participate in Adidas 5th Avenue’s “Journey into Genderless Fashion” workshop.
Connie Marple '20
Connie Marple ’20 is a FTT alumni and Founder and Owner of “Women of Color New York” - where iron sharpens iron so one woman sharpens another. Women of Color New York is located in the South Wedge in Rochester New York. It’s a collective of 10 Women of Color doing business under one umbrella. WOCNY features Fashion, Beauty, Wellness and Self-care, all while empowering women to grow, expand and be their best selves here and in the community. Marple is a recent graduate of Buffalo State with a bachelor’s degree from the Fashion Textile Technology Department and a concentration in Design.
KYM MATHIS '98
Kym Mathis ’98 is an FTT alumni and Store Manager at DSW. Born and raised in New Jersey, she also a graduate of the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising. She has worked for Tommy Hilfiger as an inventory specialist, a fit model for several designers, former business owner - Damsel in a Dress, and has held positions as the District Visual Manager for Forever 21, District Merchandise Execution Manager for JCPenney and Operations Manager for TJX companies for an $11 million dollar store.