The 2015 honorees were recognized Thursday, April 16, 2015.
Michael H. Bastian '87
MICHAEL BASTIAN is a luxury American menswear designer born in Lyons, New York, a small upstate town near Lake Ontario. Upon graduating from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, he moved to Manhattan, taking his first job as an assistant buyer at Abraham & Strauss. Subsequently taking on roles of increasing acclaim at world-renowned institutions - Sotheby's, Tiffany & Co., Ralph Lauren - Bastian was appointed as Men's Fashion Director at Bergdorf Goodman in 2000. It was during his five-year tenure there that he was inspired to introduce his eponymous line, Michael Bastian.
"Through the process of setting the men's fashion direction for Bergdorf Goodman, it became increasingly clear to me that there was a real need for a new American voice in the men's designer world - something modern and luxurious, but also a little broken down and familiar. I start with something perfectly designed and executed, then spend a lot of time knocking the edge off of that perfection."
In 2007, his first full year in business, Bastian was named the CFDA's Newcomer Menswear Designer of the Year.
Partnering with global lifestyle brand GANT in the fall of 2010, Bastian agreed to helm a fully-realized collection of men¹s and women¹s ready to wear as well as eyewear and watches that took his name, GANT by Michael Bastian. In its second full season, the collection earned Bastian the nod as one of GQ Magazine¹s six finalists in the running to be selected "Best New Menswear Designer in America." Over the course of nine collections, GANT by Michael Bastian earned worldwide popularity‹re-invigorating the classic American brand‹and burnished Michael¹s own credentials as one of the most important influencers in menswear.
In the summer of 2013, Michael Bastian collaborated with global retailer Uniqlo to create a line of limited edition polo shirts, under the label "Uniqlo X Michael Bastian." The instant and overwhelming success of the line led to the release of a second capsule the following spring, this time including children's polos. Other licenses and partnerships have included jewelry with George Frost - George Frost X Michael Bastian - leather bags and accessories with Frank Clegg, hats with Eugenia Kim - Mr. Kim for Michael Bastian‹and shoes with Stubbs & Wootton.
Always on the leading edge, Michael Bastian introduced the MB Chronowing in the fall of 2014, a handsome smartwatch of his design, engineered by Hewlett-Packard. Both the classic and limited editions launched exclusively on Gilt Groupe and sold out shortly after their debut.
Nominated for four consecutive years from 2008-2011 as a finalist for the CFDA¹s Menswear Designer of the Year Award, Bastian claimed victory in 2011 and earned yet another nomination in 2013.
Now in its ninth year, Michael Bastian is carried across the world in North America, Europe, Asia, Canada and the Middle East.
Ruthie A. Davis M'93
Challenging convention, Ruthie Davis rewrites the rules governing modern elegance and glamour – avant-‐ garde yet wearable, feminine but unfussy, modern but never cold, her footwear designs skillfully manage a unique fusion of luxury and youthful sensuality. As a New York City resident and Designer and President of her eponymous label, she understands how to create shoes modern women covet.
Ruthie earned her Bachelor’s degree in English and Visual Arts from Bowdoin College. She went on to earn her MBA in Entrepreneurship from Babson’s Olin Graduate School of Business, with the intention of someday forging an independent fashion label of her own. Ruthie then honed her design and marketing skills by holding executive positions at Reebok, UGG Australia and Tommy Hilfiger before launching RUTHIE DAVIS in 2006.
Designed in New York and handcrafted in Italy, Ruthie Davis is renowned for her architectural shapes, luxurious mix of materials, uncompromising quality and vivid color palette. The RUTHIE DAVIS brand is sold in top tier retail establishments worldwide including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Amazon, Bloomingdales, Fred Segal, Harvey Nichols, Luisa Via Roma, and 10 Corso Como. In January 2014, she launched her own global ecommerce store on RUTHIEDAVIS.COM. In 2016, Ruthie plans to open the first Flagship Ruthie Davis Store in New York City.
RUTHIE DAVIS is a top choice of celebrities and fashion tastemakers including iconic performers Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Jennifer Lopez; A-‐list celebrities Halle Berry, Sofia Vergara, and Shailene Woodley; supermodels Joan Smalls and Karolina Kurkova; and young Hollywood stars Emma Roberts, Zendaya Coleman and Demi Lovato. Her designs have been featured in New York Fashion Week runway presentations by Alice + Olivia, Dennis Basso, David Meister and Doo Ri among others. Recently, Ruthie collaborated with menswear designer and animal activist John Bartlett on the launch of her first vegan shoe line, as well as Daniel Silver and Steven Cox of Duckie Brown for their debut women’s fall 2014 collection at New York Fashion Week. Beginning in 2013, Ruthie has been collaborating with Lady Gaga on custom shoes for the pop star.
In April 2015, Ruthie will be a recipient of Babson’s “Entrepreneur Hall of Fame” award, alongside menswear designer Michael Bastian, for her many achievements as an entrepreneur and leader in the fashion industry. In 2014, Ruthie was the only footwear designer to be accepted into the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America). Additionally, Ruthie was named the 2014 “Footwear Designer of the Year” by AAFA (American Apparel & Footwear Association) at their annual American Image Awards. In 2013, Ruthie was distinguished as one of Goldman Sachs’ “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs,” one of Footwear News’ “20 Directional Design Stars” in 2013 and 2014, and one of Vogue Italia’s “Vogue Talents.” Currently, the Ruthie Davis story is the first chapter in the top seller “Motivation” book titled, “Life Outside The Box,” by Marilyn Wilson.
Ruthie serves as a television fashion expert with regular spots on Bravo, E!, Bloomberg, CNBC, Fox News, and NBC among others. Ruthie consistently dedicates time to mentoring emerging designers and entrepreneurs. Whether it be teaching a course at FIT, or lecturing at MIT’s Sloan School of Business, her message is always clear, “Find your passion, work hard, live your dreams.”
2015 Rising Stars
Bombas - Andrew Heath M'12 and David Heath '05
Enertiv - Connell McGill '08 and Pavel Khodorkovsky '07
Esmeralda Lambert - Esmeralda Lambert M’11 and Matthew Lambert M'11
NatureBox - Gautam Gupta '07 and Ken Chen '06
Wanderu- Polina Raygorodskaya '08
Zoos Greek Iced Tea - Niari Keverian M'12