This past Wednesday a few of New York biggest fashion stars arrived at the Shed in Hudson Yards for the Fashion Institute of Technology’s 2022 Annual Awards Gala. The event raised over $1.5 million for the FIT foundation, which provides funding to help nurture the institution's next generation of designers, creatives and fashion entrepreneurs. 

Hosted by designer Michael Kors and Elle magazine's editor in chief Nina Garcia, the duo kept the crowd laughing with their stories of their respective time as students at the storied fashion school. Kors, was especially excited that the gala was held in person this year. “F those Zoom tops,” he proclaimed, as a way of acknowledging the pandemic ennui that the fashionable crowd faced these past two years. It's nice to get dressed up again with a place to go. 

Debra Martin Chase, the legendary television and film producer—responsible for box office hits such as the Princess Diaries franchise and the Whitney Houston and Brandy helmed Cinderella—received the first award of the evening—the Vanguard in Entertainment Award, which was presented to her by her longtime friend Pearlena Igbokwe, chairwoman of Universal Studio Group.

EBONY's 2021 Power 100 Breakthrough Creators honoree Brandice Daniel, founder and CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row, and advisory council member of the Social Justice Center at FIT, was awarded the Outstanding FIT Alumni Award, which was presented to her by none other than the illustrious Dapper Dan. For over a decade, Daniels has been doing the work to highlight Black designers so that they may get the shine that they deserve. In addition to her evening's award, Daniel also received her college diploma since she didn't show up for graduation.

Lastly, Compton, California’s finest, 23-time Grand Slam champion and entrepreneur Serena Williams was presented with the Fashion Icon Breakthrough Award by Jamie Singleton, CMO of Signet Jewelers. Although she was unable to attend the evening's ceremony, Williams sent over a video thanking everyone for the honor. In the video, she stated that she hopes to pay it forward and motivate the next generation of creatives. 

Debra Martin Chase, Pearlena Igbokwe
Debra Martin Chase, Pearlena Igbokwe. Image: Darian DiCianno for BFA