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Hicksville Native Wins FIT Award

Hicksville native Jae Lee recently rose to the top of his senior class at New York Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), winning the Critic Award for sportswear. But fashion wasn’t the path that Lee originally chose.

In high school, Lee excelled in art classes and thought that he wanted to go to college and major in fine arts. However, he said, it was while watching an episode of “Project Runway” that he had a revelation. “All of a sudden I was thinking that it was something I could/should do and that’s what kind of led to it,” he said. He made up his mind that he was going to apply to fashion school and enlisted the help of one of his art teachers in school to help him. “We really scrambled and put together this presentation in about two weeks, where other people, I’m sure, worked on theirs for months,” he said. Lee said that when he went to present his portfolio, he didn’t think the meeting went well at all. “Everyone was really well prepared,” he said. But, he admitted, it must have gone better than he thought, because he was accepted to FIT.

Fast forward four years and Lee began working on FIT’s Critic Award, an award that everyone in the class is eligible for. “In senior year especially, everyone is so talented. It pushes you to work harder, but it definitely makes you insecure to see the talent that surrounds you. There were moments when I questioned my designs, but my friends and my teachers were just telling me, ‘Jae, make what you make in the best way you can,’ and that’s what I did,” he said.

When he first met with the critic, he wasn’t sure that she liked his designs at all. “I was disappointed after the first meeting,” he said. “But once she saw the garments, that’s when I think she changed her view,” he said. Lee went to work making the pieces the best way that he could, often staying at school until 2 a.m. to get things done, and followed the critic’s advice when it came to refining his designs. “Fashion school is a lot of physical work and a lot of hours,” he said, “but you have to love it.”

All the hard work paid off when a friend said to him, “I want to be the first to congratulate you on your award!” Not knowing and not believing he could have won, he went to check and found out that he was, in fact, the winner of the FIT Critic Award.

“I was in shock. The shock was so, so big that I couldn’t even call my family right away,” he said. His winning design was featured on “The Future of Fashion” — FIT’s annual end-of-year runway show.

After college, Lee is looking forward to taking the summer “off” to finish his award-winning line and create a lookbook, and has dreams of moving to Europe to work in high-end fashion. However, no matter what he does, he said that the unwavering support system that surrounds him will always be a reason for him to continue to excel in his career path. “Especially in the fashion industry, having support from the people around you is really important. My parents have sacrificed a lot for me, for my dreams and aspirations, and I really can’t thank them enough. My family, friends, colleagues, and professors —without them, I honestly believe I wouldn’t be where I am today, so I definitely want to thank them for their support and guidance,” he said.

 

News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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