FIT Annual Awards Gala 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The Shed
New York, NY



The Fashion Institute of Technology's Annual Awards Gala will serve as the pinnacle of the year-long salute to the College's success and efforts. The event will host honorees of prominence in creative industries as well as FIT's distinguished alumni.

Featured Entertainment, DJ Mad Marj



Michael Kors
FIT Alumnus

Michael Kors, Chief Creative Officer of the Michael Kors Brand

With a sharp focus on providing his customers with accessories and clothes that are consistently polished, chic, relaxed and glamorous, Michael Kors has created an enduring and iconic luxury lifestyle empire with a distinctive point of view and global reach.

Raised in Merrick, Long Island, Kors graduated high school in 1977 and enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Technology. He left school to start his own label in 1981, following accolades for his work at Lothar’s, the trendsetting boutique on New York’s West 57th Street. As he continued to build his own business, Kors also served as creative director of Céline, the renowned French luxury brand, from 1998 to 2004. Today Michael Kors is a global fashion luxury brand with an array of products under the Michael Kors Collection, MICHAEL Michael Kors and Michael Kors Mens labels.

As the Michael Kors brand began to expand globally, so too did its philanthropic efforts. For more than 25 years, the designer has been a passionate supporter of God’s Love We Deliver. He also established an endowed scholarship at FIT, his alma mater. In 2013, the Michael Kors company launched “Watch Hunger Stop,” partnering with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to help fight world hunger. The designer was named Global Ambassador Against Hunger, now Goodwill Ambassador, for the United Nations World Food Programme. To date, Michael Kors has helped WFP deliver over 24 million meals (and counting) to hungry children.

Nina Garcia headshot
FIT Alumna

Nina Garcia, Editor-in-Chief ELLE

Nina Garcia is the editor-in-chief of ELLE, the number one fashion media brand in the world. She is the first Latina to lead a major American fashion title, and since she took the helm in September 2017, the brand’s footprint has never been larger.  

Garcia oversaw a dynamic redesign highlighting the magazine’s thought-provoking features and showcasing fashion in the context of culture, winning Adweek’s Hottest Fashion Magazine in 2019. For ELLE’s groundbreaking cover featuring FKA Twigs discussing intimate partner violence, Garcia received WomanKind’s 2021 Phoenix Woman of the Year in Media Award. In 2021, she was also the recipient of the CFDA’s Media Award in Honor of Eugenia Sheppard.

Garcia is a graduate of Boston University and FIT. She began her career at Mirabella and was fashion director of ELLE from 2000 to 2008 and creative director of Marie Claire before returning to ELLE. Garcia has also been a judge on Project Runway since 2004.

After undergoing a preventative double mastectomy in 2019, Garcia joined the board of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). She also serves on the board of Village Roadshow Entertainment Group.

Garcia lives in New York with her husband and their two sons. 


Robin Burns-McNeill, Chair
Jaqui Lividini, Vice Chair 
Mona Aboelnaga Kanaan
Richard A. Anderman
Judith I. Byrd
Gabrielle Fialkoff
Yaz Hernández
Joan B. Hornig
Beverly S. Mack
Elizabeth T. Peek
Deirdre Quinn
Sally Singer
Toni Ouyang, Student Trustee 

Directors Emeriti 

John J. Pomerantz
Peter G. Scotese     

Gary Sheinbaum, Chair, FIT Foundation

Amber Allen
Ivan Bart
Frederic Dechnik
Gigi Ganatra Duff 

Dr. Muge Erdirik Dogan
Abbey Doneger
Eric Fisch 
Robert (Bob) Fisch
Leslie Gifford
Morris Goldfarb
Maloni Goss
Geoffrey Greenberg
Sam Haddad
Douglas Hand
Sarah Curtis Henry
Jane Hertzmark Hudis
Rodney Hutton
Dayna Isom Johnson
Laurence C. Leeds, Jr.
Jeffrey Lubell
Fern Mallis
Corey Moran
Athanasios (Tom) Nastos
Bruce P. Rockowitz
Jamie Singleton
J. Michael Stanley
Nadja Swarovski
Molly Taylor
Amber Valletta 



Debra Martin Chase
Vanguard in Entertainment Award

Debra Martin Chase, Television and Film Producer, CEO Martin Chase Productions

Debra Martin Chase will receive the Vanguard in Entertainment Award for rewriting the rule book in Hollywood. She has broken barriers by becoming the first Black woman to produce a movie grossing over $100 Million (The Princess Diaries) and to have a major studio producing deal (Disney) while consistently creating film and television that empowers women, shatters stereotypes, and promotes diversity in the industry. Her reboot of The Equalizer franchise starring Queen Latifah was the number one new television show last season. 

Debra Martin Chase, entertainment industry icon and trailblazer, is the first Black female producer to land a major studio deal and to produce a film grossing over $100 million. Garnering just over a half-billion dollars at the box office to date, her work has received Academy, Emmy, Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, and SAG award nominations, just to name a few. Her company, Martin Chase Productions, is affiliated with Universal Television, a division of NBCUniversal. With many film and television credits to her name, her most recent movie was Harriet starring Cynthia Erivo and she is an executive producer of CBS' The Equalizer starring Queen Latifah, which was the number one new television series last season. In addition to being an Amsale Aspire Ambassador, an initiative that creates pathways for Black students in the fashion industry in partnership with FIT, Chase sits on the boards of the New York City Ballet, the Second Stage Theatre, B&G Foods, Inc. and Bridge Investment Group, Inc.

Brandice Daniel headshot
Outstanding Alumni Award

Brandice Daniel, CEO of Harlem's Fashion Row (HFR)

Brandice Daniel will receive the Outstanding FIT Alumni Award for her groundbreaking work in creating a platform for designers of color during New York Fashion Week and supporting women in building thriving businesses.

FIT alumna Brandice Daniel, fashion industry entrepreneur and creative, is the founder and CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row, a premier agency dedicated to creating a bridge between brands and multicultural designers by providing various opportunities for them to showcase their talent in an industry that is often inaccessible. Most recently, she was appointed an advisory council member of the Social Justice Center at FIT. Daniel has been featured in The New York Times, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, WWD, Essence, BET, among other outlets, and has appeared on Good Morning America and The Drew Barrymore Show. In 2020, she founded ICON360, a nonprofit dedicated to funding designers of color. 

Aeirn Lauder headshot
Business & Entrepreneurship Award

Aerin Lauder, Founder and Creative Director, AERIN Style and Image Director, Estée Lauder

Aerin Lauder will be recognized with the Business and Entrepreneurship Award for the entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen, and creative vision that has helped build her eponymous brand AERIN into a globally recognized luxury lifestyle brand.

Aerin Lauder is the founder and creative force behind AERIN, a celebrated luxury lifestyle brand that launched in the fall of 2012. Inspired by Lauder’s signature effortless style, AERIN has emerged as a distinct voice in the world of beauty, fashion, and home decor. Lauder began her career at Estée Lauder in 1992, where she held several executive roles, including senior vice president and creative director. In addition to running her eponymous brand, Lauder maintains her role as the style and image director of Estée Lauder. A longstanding philanthropist, Lauder is passionate about her work with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and is an active board member of The Boys’ Club of New York; the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art; the Foundation for Art & Preservation in Embassies; and God’s Love We Deliver. Lauder is a recipient of the God’s Love We Deliver Golden Heart Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Serena Williams headshote
Fashion Icon Breakthrough Award

Serena Williams, 23-time Grand Slam Champion & Entrepreneur

Serena Williams will receive the Fashion Icon Breakthrough Award for her boundary-breaking achievements both on and off the court, from investing in companies that embrace diversity to launching her own clothing line, S by Serena, and a collection with Signet Jewelers, Serena Williams Jewelry available exclusively at Zales, that helps empower young women.

Serena Williams is the most successful female tennis player of the Open Era. Her athletic abilities combined with her off-court presence in fashion, entertainment, philanthropy, and business, make her one of the most recognizable names and faces in the world. Williams is the longest ranking No. 1 athlete in her sport, the most prized WTA player of all time, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, and has overcome insurmountable odds to win 23 career Grand Slams. Off the court, she has become a highly regarded entrepreneur, establishing her own venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, which focuses on investing in women and founders of color. A dedicated philanthropist, Williams focuses her efforts on the Yetunde Price Resource Center, which her family opened in their hometown of Compton, California, and named after her eldest sister, who was killed by senseless gun violence.

Featured Entertainment

DJ Mad Marj

DJ Mad Marj

Mad Marj has been spinning at the hottest parties around the world. Mad Marj’s client list includes Bulgari, Dolce and Gabbana, Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch, Baccarat, Clinique, Kiehl’s, Longchamp, Google and Cadillac. Mad Marj has opened for Cardi B, Katy Perry, Liam Payne, Lil Jon, Rita Ora, New Order and Mary J. Blige.  Marjorie was the in-studio DJ on TODAY with Hoda and Jenna and has also appeared on Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner 


For more information on tickets and sponsorships, please call (212) 217-4104 or email Melanie Copple

If you cannot attend, please considering donating.