Fashion Designer John Bartlett selected to lead Marist Fashion program

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POUGHKEEPSIE — Award-winning fashion designer John Bartlett has been selected to lead Marist College’s Fashion Program.

Bartlett’s signature style embraces a rugged American authenticity that earned him two Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awards: the Swarovski Best Newcomer Award and Best Menswear Designer of the Year in 1997.  In 2010, the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) named Bartlett “Designer of the Year.” That same year his update of the Hush Puppies “Earl” loafer earned a spot in the Style Hall of Fame.

A graduate of Harvard University and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Bartlett worked with designers Willi Smith and Ronaldus Shamask before launching his own eponymous collection in 1991. Bartlett also served as creative director for two American brands, Ghurka leather goods and Claiborne, which was renamed “Claiborne by John Bartlett,” as well as the Italian label Byblos.

“John’s breadth of experience with all tiers of the industry, his long-term commitment to sustainable practices, and his innovative spirit will be an unparalleled asset to the Fashion Program and our students,” said Lyn Lepre, Dean of the Marist School of Communication and the Arts.

Citing an industry dealing with major changes (The State of Fashion 2020 report is aptly titled “Navigating Uncertainty”), Lepre noted Bartlett’s background and wide view on fashion will be essential to Marist undergraduates. “With his extensive expertise in design and merchandising, as well as having run his own brick-and-mortar store, John is perfectly poised to lead both fashion design and merchandising students as they continue to take an interdisciplinary approach to navigate the disruption currently taking place in the rapidly changing fashion landscape.”

On the retail front, Bartlett’s partnership with The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., launched the collections “John Bartlett Consensus” and “John Bartlett Statements.” The two collections offered all components of a man’s wardrobe including sportswear, tailored clothing, underwear, and loungewear in addition to home furnishings.

Long a proponent of sustainability in the industry, Bartlett was awarded the Lexus/CFDA Eco-Challenge grant in 2012 to create a collection entirely from upcycled and recycled material for New York Fashion Week. For the past 10 years, Bartlett has worked only in recycled or organic materials and advocates for earth-friendly alternatives for animal-derived materials such as leather, wool, and down.

Alongside his pursuits in design and fashion, Bartlett’s longtime passion for animal advocacy has inspired him to create and manage a nonprofit, The Tiny Tim Rescue Fund, that raises money for rescue groups and independent shelters to help with medical bills, transport, training, and any other expenses need to assist in helping a dog or cat find their forever families.

Marist’s Fashion Program is part of the College’s School of Communication and Arts. The Program has been named in Business of Fashion’s Global Ranking of Fashion Schools as a top-ranked school for both undergraduate fashion design and fashion business and management. The Program is housed in the Steel Plant, a newly renovated and expanded state-of-the-art building featuring a makerspace, a fashion exhibition gallery, extensive studio space, and Mporium, a student-run store/fashion retail laboratory for merchandising students.

Bartlett officially starts his position at Marist on April 8.