From Paris to Batavia

French Student Studies Fashion Design at GCC, Prepares for First Fashion Show Experience

Batavia, NY- If you live in Paris and want to study fashion design, where do you go? For Kriss Jeanty, Genesee Community College in Batavia, NY proved the best option. Through his research Kriss discovered “The school offers a very good fashion program and the opportunity to transfer to FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology)” in New York City.

Kriss, 21, arrived in Batavia January 6, 2015 and is in his first semester of study at GCC. So far it’s been a great fit. “Since the first day I came to GCC, I liked it,” he said. “It was really like the TV shows that I used to watch when I was a child, with the big library, basketball court, U.S.A. flag overlooking the main room.” It was worth the challenge of getting here. “I spent eight hours in a bus from New York City to Buffalo, and then took a bus to Batavia, and then a taxi to the campus,” he recalls. Though he knew the college was located in a rural area, “I confess that I was little bit disconcerted the first time I’ve seen the area, because I was used to live in a big city, and Batavia is completely different,” he said. “But I quickly appreciate the atmosphere of the area. It is quiet; you can focus more on your studies.”

Kriss is now focused on a career in fashion design. After high school, he started out studying business management and retail in Paris and earned an associate’s degree in business. He always had a keen eye for fashion. “I loved to spot out the best style in the city,” he said. “I definitely think the atmosphere of Paris inspired me. Every day I was confronted to a multitude of different styles, Parisian style, in addition with the tourists (German, American, Japanese). Every day I saw something new, something fresher than the previous day.” Kriss had until then considered fashion a hobby. As he thought more about his future and what he wanted to do, he decided to make it a career.

“I wanted to study in the U.S., because I grew up watching the American series, movies and music,” he said. “America fascinated me.” He was also drawn to the opportunity for a good education in the U.S. where he’s felt comfortable from the first day. “In GCC everybody is reliable, and it’s really like everybody wants to help you to fit in best here,” he said. He finds the relationship between students and teachers to be friendlier than in France, where it’s more formal. He has gotten involved in the International Student Organization (ISO) and recently joined the group for a bowling excursion in Batavia. “I never see a teacher in France going with his students to the bowling,” he noted.

GCC offers more than 50 clubs and organizations that appeal to a variety of student interests, from photography to history, education to technology. Recently, several students initiated a new RAKtivists (Random Acts of Kindness) Club, something that impressed Kriss. “If you have something you like, and you think some people could be interested you can create a club. I think unconsciously it helps people to develop their quality to undertake something,” he said.

Kriss is currently learning about the fashion program’s major annual undertaking, the GCC spring fashion show. The highly popular production offers students from many disciplines a chance to put what they’ve learned to work. This year’s show, themed Fata Morgana after the optical phenomenon, is set for Saturday, April 25, 2015. Two shows are planned at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Kriss will work in front of house for this year’s show. “I have already seen the presentation of the student’s collection and I have spotted some good ideas.” He’s started sketching ideas for his own collection for next year’s show with inspiration from Japanese designers. “For me they have brought a new approach of fashion,” he said. “I liked these geometric and avant-garde cuts, this blend of technology and tradition, it has really gave me the desire to get into fashion.”

Tickets to Fata Morgana are available for $5 in advance or $7 at the door and can be purchased by calling 585-345-6830 or emailing Advance tickets are strongly recommended and must be purchased by April 23, 2015.

You can read more about preparations for the show and happenings in the fashion program at the GCC fashion blog For general information about the event, contact Donna Rae Sutherland, GCC’s Marketing Communications associate director at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or via email:

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Editor’s Note:
A photograph of Kriss Jeanty is available here: