Saul Smilowitz interview, circa 1994-1995

Special Collections and College Archives


Saul Smilowitz interview, circa 1994-1995
Contributor Names
Poll, Carol (Interviewer)
Smilowitz, Saul
Date Digitized
Chair of the Manufacturing and Management Department at the time of this interview, Saul Smilowitz discusses his life at FIT. He began as a student, graduating in 1953, and returned to teach in 1965 and again in 1989 after a brief hiatus. He talks about FIT's dress code in the 1950s and how the student body has evolved over the years. Smilowitz discusses the department's difficulty in recruiting for middle management positions in the industry. He describes their upcoming evaluation by the American Apparel Manufacturers Association; only four colleges have been accepted by the AAMA, FIT being one of them. Smilowitz talks about how they train students for the manufacturing industry and how emphasis on swift, mass production has intensified. He mentions the various degree levels offered in his department, and their move from a factory-oriented focus to a liaison-oriented focus. Graduates of the department have high placement rates and have ended up in major manufacturers such as Liz Claiborne, Nike, and Anne Klein. He talks about how alumni come back to check in at premier industry seminars and events such as the Bobbin Show. Smilowitz then discusses ethnic changes at FIT and how many international students return home with a coveted degree. He details remedial and bridge classes that allow students to matriculate to the upper division, and then talks about how active faculty involvement and continuous evaluation of course offerings keep the department current. Smilowitz goes on to discuss issues in the industry such as sweatshops and how they educate their students on OSHA to avoid such abuses. He then talks about union support and the scholarships offered by the AAMA to FIT students. Finally, he expresses pride in the department's ability to offer real world experience to students during their time at FIT.
Moving Image
Oral histories
Smilowitz, Saul
High School of the Fashion Industries (New York, N.Y.)
American Apparel Manufacturers Association
Liz Claiborne Inc.
Anne Klein (Firm)
Samsonite Corporation
American Tourister
Nike (Firm)
White Stag Group
Manufacturing Management Department
Dress codes
Foreign students
Clothing workers
Labor unions
Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)
New York (State)
New York (State)--New York
Related Materials
Finding Aid
In Copyright
This video was produced by the Fashion Institute of Technology ("FIT") and is the property of FIT. FIT expressly prohibits the copying, displaying, or uploading to a website of any portion of this video, except for the purposes of fair use as defined in the copyright laws, without express written permission from FIT. This video has been made available online by the Fashion Institute of Technology Gladys Marcus Library strictly for research and educational purposes. If you are the copyright holder for content in this video and have any objections to this work being made available online, please notify us immediately at [email protected].
FIT Repository ID: aod_000845
SPARC reference code: US.NNFIT.SC.FITA.


Special Collections and College Archives


FIT 50th Anniversary oral history series, 1994-1996


FIT History


Fashion Institute of Technology. (1993, December 31). Saul Smilowitz interview, circa 1994-1995 [Video]. Archive on Demand.
Fashion Institute of Technology. "Saul Smilowitz interview, circa 1994-1995." Archive on Demand, 31 Dec. 1993,
Fashion Institute of Technology, "Saul Smilowitz interview, circa 1994-1995," Archive on Demand, December 31, 1993, video,