Helping others see their future clearly

Mittman speaks to designer Alison Overton about the details of a canvas messenger bag.

Evan Mittman was 19 when an eye specialist told him he had one year left of vision due to a retina disease.

“I was devastated,” recalled Mittman, now 57. “I dropped out of college and started unloading trucks at the local Wal-Mart.”

But after six months, Mittman decided to go back to school. He used a reel-to-reel tape recorder to record his lessons and got his diploma.

He went on to found one of the largest accessories design and manufacturing companies in the industry, Cipriani, based here in New York. His firm makes leather goods and jewelry for brands such as Calvin Klein and Michael Kors.

Today, Mittman is a trustee for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, which raises money for sight-saving research. He also speaks to people all over the world and shares his story. “I talk about what happens when things don’t go your way and how you react,” he said. “All of us need to figure out how to make the best of every day.”

Get involved

Want to get involved?

Upcoming charity events  in the city:

Wednesday, May 25: The Foundation Fighting Blindness will host its Dinner in the Dark gala tomorrow night at the Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park.

It’s the usual fundraising   affair with a twist: For 30 minutes, the ballroom will be plunged into darkness so people can experience what it’s like to be without sight. Also, all the servers will be blind, said Mittman.

Tickets are still available for the gala and can be purchased through www.blindness.org.


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