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Woman stitching

Well Rounded for the Real World

Educator Lisa Polito brings her vast real-world experience in costume design to her students each day. Applying her twenty years as a costume designer, working in both theater and film, Lisa Polito began teaching fashion design and construction at Boston Arts Academy in Boston, MA, in 2013, and is now the Director of their Fashion Technology Program.

Originally from Montreal, Quebec, Ms. Polito’s primary goal for the Fashion Technology Program
is to help students improve their artistic vision while building the aptitude they need in order to design. She teaches them marketable skills that build self-confidence, improve fine motor skills, and sharpen focus and concentration, all while emphasizing the value of patience. “We try to create an environment where everyone feels welcome and valued and where students can be themselves,” she says.

Her classes in fashion design and construction teach students the techniques they need to come up with new and interesting designs. Foundational topics include sketching, pattern-making, draping, and sewing. “Slowly we added branding, the history of fashion, and the business of fashion to the program, and they are now a big part of what students learn,” adds Ms. Polito.

We asked Ms. Polito about some of her favorite assignments over the years. “There have been so many, whether it’s the creation of a class quilt, an embroidered color wheel, embroidered portraits, corsetry, or dolls or bears for children in hospitals,” she reveals.

When her students express keen interest in pursuing fashion as a career path, Ms. Polito encourages them to keep learning and improving. She reminds them to remain flexible and open-minded by being willing to learn and try new things. “Develop and build skills, experiment, and most importantly, play,” she continues.

Ms. Polito has extensively utilized FIDM’s Educator Resources. “FIDM has paid attention and been there, giving my students helpful feedback and giving time to help them get excited about their skills and personal design portfolios. FIDM is excited about what we do, and we are excited about the collaborative opportunities moving forward. My students benefit from being seen, heard, and supported in reaching their fashion industry potential,” she explains.