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FIT a Resource for PBS Documentary "Dressing America"

August 29, 2014

As the Fashion Institute of Technology celebrates its 70th anniversary year, its befitting that the college should be a resource for a seminal documentary about the fashion industry called Dressing America, airing in New York on Tuesday, September 2 at 10 PM and Sunday, September 7 at 10:30 pm on WNET, and on Thursday, September 11 at 10 pm and Friday, September 12 at 1 am on WLIW.

The documentary explores how this business grew from humble beginnings into an industry that's dressed America. Dressing America takes viewers back to the sweatshops of the Garment Center, down the runways at New York's Fashion Week, and behind the scenes in the sample rooms of major manufacturers like Tahari-ASL and Nicole Miller to reveal the creative process that fuels this unique industry.

As Valerie Steele, director and chief curator, The Museum at FIT, told filmmakers Joel Sucher and Steven Fischler of Pacific Street Films: You can imagine fashion as a verb as well as a noun. Fashion is not just the things you wear but fashion is what you do, how you create the person that you are, the person who interacts with the world, and that's why fashion is really important.

Among the featured participants are Stan Herman, designer, Stan Herman Studio; Fern Mallis, creator, New York Fashion Week; Nicole Miller, designer; John Pomerantz, retired CEO, Leslie Fay Brands, and FIT trustee; Laura Pomerantz, principal and founder, PBS Real Estate; Arnold Scaasi, designer; and Valerie Steele.

FIT, which receives special thanks in the credits, acted as an historical resource and helped facilitate interviews. The Gladys Marcus Library at FIT will receive the unedited film content for its archives.

Producer/directors Sucher and Fischler founded Pacific Street Films in 1970. In a career spanning over four decades, they've produced, directed, written and edited over 100 films, as independents and for venues as diverse as the United Nations and Saturday Night Live. Pacific Street is also well-known for its award winning documentary portraits of Hollywood celebrities like Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and Jessica Lange. Both Sucher and Fischler are recipients of numerous awards and grants, including Guggenheim Fellowships in Film, Emmy Awards, Cine Golden Eagles and the John Grierson Award for Social Documentaries. Associate producer/researcher Phyllis Dillon has worked for more than 25 years in the field of costume history/textiles studies and museum work as a curator and director. For the past eight years, she has concentrated her research on the history of the Jewish role in the garment industry.