FIT Circle members represent all corners of business and culture, from influential business and technology leaders to CEOs and founders of iconic fashion brands to professional philanthropists to private equity investors. Whatever their background, all Circle members share common goals: to leverage knowledge, finances, and connections to benefit the college and its students, and to ensure FIT continues to provide students with a wealth of opportunities for immersive learning, access to resources, and relevant work experience. By participating in an exceptional collection of virtual, hybrid, and in-person events—everything from curated panels, salons, dinners, and galas to private tours, meet-and-greets, and behind-the-scenes experiences—FIT Circle members have the opportunity to network, expand their industry knowledge, and collaborate across traditional boundaries. By deepening their understanding of the creative industries and developing greater insight into the work of the FIT community, they expand avenues of opportunity and support for students and faculty. The result: groundbreaking design and next-generation inventions, like sensory garments for breast cancer patients and products like toys for children with autism.
FIT Circle and FIT Foundation board member Amber Allen is the founder of Double A Labs, a leader in developing transformative gaming and entertainment platform technologies. By filling the marketplace gap for tech-forward, immersive—yet accessible—augmented reality (AR) and extended reality (XR) experiences, her team has reached more than 3 billion screens in projects for clients including AT&T, Twitch, and Dell.
“I decided to become an FIT Circle member,” Allen says, “because I was attracted to the promise of new knowledge and education-based conversation. Much of my work is about the next wave of the internet: the metaverse and Web 3 spaces, which will require so many more visual storytellers and creatives. That’s why I’m passionate about the artistic side of how we’re designing in new tech spaces.
“I also love fashion. I’m extremely interested in two intersections: the point where fashion meets tech, and the moment where formal classroom education ends and employment begins. I’m self-taught. When I was young I had no idea of where I could learn to close the gap between fashion and tech. And even today, not many colleges are turning out the kind of employees I need: people who can bridge the divide between left and right brain. And that’s what I see FIT students doing. For example, the DTech Lab is working with them on real-world projects, using software to design clothing. I think that’s great. The integration of fashion and tech is where the future is going, and that’s what I love and want to support.”
For Adam Brenner, senior managing director of Webster Bank, and Justin Roth, managing director, joining the FIT Circle was a natural progression of a long-standing relationship. “FIT has been a Webster Bank client for more than 50 years,” Brenner explains. “Over that time, we’ve supported a number of FIT fundraising initiatives. When we learned about the FIT Circle in 2021—and became aware of how much FIT students were benefiting—we decided to deepen our commitment. Joining the Circle was the only way to go.”
Justin Roth adds, “We realized the FIT Circle was a perfect fit for us when we attended in-person events. There is so much to learn by taking part in the curated programs. For example, we were able to meet the students who had received scholarships based on our donation. We left with a better understanding of their interests and talents, which made us feel so connected and invested in their success. Honestly, it was such a personal pleasure to see how our contribution had a positive impact on their lives and education. We look forward to getting to know the college better.”