About This Video
Soul Club Oral History Project: Steven Cutting
The Soul Club of FIT was organized in 1968 by community member Clara Branch after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Clara Branch was a staff and faculty member of the Fashion Design Department who served as the club’s advisor until her retirement in 1991. The purpose of the club was to share and celebrate Black heritage and culture, and to assist students with books, materials, and mentorship. The Soul Club of FIT is best remembered for its annual standing-room only event, The Soul Fashion Show, which was held at FIT from 1971 through the early 1990s. Clara Branch directed these shows which featured the work of young Black designers and models, and were supported by the larger community of the New York City fashion industry. In 1992, Rhonda Burrell-Stubbs took over as director upon Clara Branch’s retirement.
The Soul Club Oral History Project is an initiative of the FIT Library, inspired by the Soul Club fashion shows’ exuberance, positivity, dynamism, and joy. For this oral history project, FIT alumni and faculty members are interviewed about their participation and experience in the Soul Club. The goal of this project is to explore FIT’s rich and diverse history and uplift, amplify, and publicly share the stories of Black fashion students and faculty members as told by the community members themselves.
Steven Cutting is a Professor in the Fashion Design Art Department in the School of Art and Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Professor Cutting has taught at FIT since 1996 and received AAS and BFA degrees in Fashion Design from FIT. Master at his craft and the recipient of numerous awards, designer of Innovative style not only in NY, but in Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean, he has worked as a Design Director, Fashion Designer, in both garments and accessories. Companies he has collaborated with include Kenneth Cole, Reebok, Collage, Pony, Perry Ellis America, House of Dereon owned by Beyoncé and Tina Knowles, and he also established his own label, Katalyst.
Taur Orange, interviewer, is the head of Educational Opportunity Programs at FIT.
FIT Special Collections and College Archives
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