Florida A&M University Alumni Niiamar Felder, returned to The Foster Tanner Fine-Arts Gallery on Thursday for the screening of his fashion film, “It is What it is” for the Artists in Bloom Festival.
Felder graduated from the visual arts program in 2007 and later moved to New York to fulfill his dreams of being a women’s wear designer. After showing his collection at New York Fashion Week in 2010 and filming a short documentary, he decided to return to FAMU to share his experience and give insight to students who aspire to be in the field of fashion design.
The 30-minute documentary captured Felder’s creative process and challenges as he worked to complete his collection. Following the film, Felder held a question and answer session for students and faculty where he also addressed the need for more black artists in the industry.
“We need more diversity in fashion and that’s why I encourage young black designers to learn the art and that you take it seriously” Felder said.
Quanee Smith, a third-year fine arts student from Jacksonville, aspires to enter the fashion industry and expressed that she enjoyed Felder’s presentation and was inspired by his journey.
“There are so many students here who want to be designers but we just don’t have the programs or the resources,” Smith said. “So to hear someone that graduated from here has prospered and is now successful in what he does is very inspirational, so I loved the event.”
Felder discussed how attending FAMU helped shaped him into the artist that he is today along with the importance of having “tough skin” and staying true to self.
“Coming through FAMU was the perfect training ground in making me ready mentally and spiritually for the business of fashion. It made very tough skin,” Felder said.
Harris Wiltsher, facilitator and associate professor of the visual arts program, shared his thoughts on Niiamar Felder and It is What it is.
“The event itself was a homecoming of sorts highlighting his career at this point and what has been a great thing is that he has been able to inspire students inside and outside of the department” Wiltsher said. “It has really been a desire of mine to bring him back because I know what type of person he is and what he’s willing to give back to the department and to the university, so it’s been a wonderful experience.”
For more information on Niiamar’s upcoming projects and the documentary It is What it is, visit http://www.niiamar.com/.