The Fashion Institute of Technology Wants Its New Beauty Lab to Be the Industry’s Think Tank

The Fashion Institute of Technology is closing the gap between industry and academia with the debut of its new Beauty Center.

The college unveiled The Beauty Center on Monday during its advisory board and HR partners meeting to much fanfare — and with large ambitions.

“This was always the culmination of the whole vision,” said professor Stephan Kanlian, chairperson, MPS Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management at FIT. The goal, he explained, was “to be turning out provocative research, giving back to the industry with cutting-edge thinking on issues that keep CEOs up at night. That’s also where the capstone came from.”

The space encompasses several breakout rooms for conferences and workshops, as well as focus group-style meetings. It’s also where graduate students in the program will work on their annual capstones, in addition to small offices, one of which will be converted into a podcast studio and the largest into a fashion and beauty library.

“They can be used for focus groups on sentiment, fragrance bottle design, scent testing, whatever it may be,” Kanlian said. “Those spaces will be available to be used by the students, by the alumni and by our corporate partners.”

For Kanlian, the goal was to create a coworking space so students could interact with industry leaders and professionals alike.

“This is the future path for academia,” Kanlian said. “When you have an opportunity to partner with an industry sector, have them put forward their best and brightest and support [students]. This kind of an educational experience that includes time in some of the most influential emerging markets in the world over a two-year period. It’s such a think tank of new thinking and ideas that represent the new generation, and not just the new generation of consumers, but more importantly, the next generation of leadership.”

Kanlian posited that the nature of the beauty business also made it well suited to education. “The industry has such a fundamental belief in investing in education, perhaps because education in the department stores has always been such a huge piece of the business model,” Kanlian said. “This industry is so invested in education, compared to a lot of other industries. And the fact that they are willing to collaborate together as competitors on a think tank is ensuring the future success of the industry.”

SOURCE: Women’s Wear Daily

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