Olive Live: Advice to Class of 2013 from Fern Mallis


Fashion industry executive Fern Mallis was the keynote speaker when the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a college of the State University of New York system, held its 68th commencement exercises this morning at Javits Center North. More than 1,700 students were in attendance, receiving Associate, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

Mallis addressed the graduates at the commencement exercises held at 10:30 am for students in FIT’s Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology and the School of Liberal Arts. She also deservedly received a rare honor at FIT Commencement, the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

President of the fashion and design consultancy, Fern Mallis LLC, she hosts the fashion industry conversation series at New York’s 92nd Street Y, Fashion Icons w/ Fern Mallis, which features in-depth interviews with leading fashion designers and industry insiders. She also hosts Fashion Insiders w/ Fern Mallis on Sirius XM’s celebrity talk channel Stars.

In her keynote address, she offered her Top Ten “Fern Finds” Tips to F.I.T.’s Class of 2013 to keep in mind when starting out and looking to build a career.

10.  Penmanship. After an interview, write a handwritten thank you note on a nice card stock.

9.  Use Google. Use it to learn something about the person who you are interviewing with.

8.  Dress appropriately. You can’t take back a first impression.

7.  Gum. Never, ever in public! Bad breath? That’s what Altoids are for!

6.  Grooming. Manicures. It is one of the first things I notice. Sometimes, it is the only thing I notice.

5.  Resumes. This isn’t your design thesis. Check the spelling 100 times!

4.  Listen. And, think before you speak.

3.  Smile and make eye contact!

2.  Handshake. Make sure it is firm and connected. A handshake communicates for you.

1.  Be Nice! I want to work with people I like. When I interviewed Tom Ford, he said, “Only hire people you would want to have dinner with.”

In closing, she added, “Go out and make the world a better and more beautiful place!”

Congratulations to the Class of 2013!


H_MallisFern_LGAbout Fern Mallis
Fern Mallis created Fashion Week in New York City in 1993. Known as 7th on Sixth, the event organized, centralized and modernized the American runways, allowing American designers to compete head to head with Milan and Paris, forever changing the global fashion business.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.