Parsons Festival 2018 is a 3-day exhibition unveiling nearly 500 student designers and occupying 3 floors of the school. The work has been curated by theme through 20 rooms and provides a preview of some of the collections which will be shown at the annual star-studded benefit next Monday with honorees in attendance, Solange Knowles, Marci Bizzarri, CEO of Gucci, and José Neves, CEO of Farfetch.
These young designers are hyper-aware of the ever-evolving nature of the industry they’re about to enter, and many are addressing the tumult head on as they develop not only their individual aesthetics but unique responses to societal demands. One floor is dedicated to work which showcases collections around themes of Gender, Social Innovation, and Activism. A significant number of students are reworking denim, that loyal indigo friend in everyone’s closet which also happens to be the cause of so much previous unchecked damage to our environment.
Doyeon Yoni Yu named her collection “Fatopia” and it is designed for the larger-sized consumer who has had enough of the euphemistic labels employed to describe her, but who just wants to play with fashion and dress without apology. Annabelle Tok’s striking pieces constructed of resin tiles make a satisfying clink as they hang together on the rail, one dress traps bleached leaves inside the clear resin. A photography minor, Tok also prints her images of nature onto silk dresses and has woven an otherworldly overcoat of dried moss. Kee Hyun Kim’s collection was subtly rebellious not only for its palette of all black but for the successful update of a décolleté from a dress worn by Grace Kelly into a sophisticated menswear jacket.
A particularly noteworthy collaboration from Claudia Poh and Amy Yu Chen of Cair Collective seeks to aid their friend Caroline who experiences paralysis in her arms to dress herself through a system of inflatable clothing and innovative drawstrings that essentially removes the need to use hands. As their collection developed they realized that the highly engineered designs would be equally suitable for the elderly as well as differently abled consumers. Their motto is “designing for an unaddressed community.”
The inaugural reception on Wednesday centers around the presentation of this year’s student awards. YOOXYGEN presented by Yoox, an award for the student with the most exciting environmentally responsible collection, goes to Marissa Petteruti. The Hugo Boss Menswear Tailoring award focusing on sustainable circular design goes to Jose Luis Cabrera, Gwen Ong, and Annabella Waszkiewicz. The H&M Social Impact award is won by Doyeon Yoni Yu, and the AARP prize for Inclusive Design is won by Katrina Simon, with runners up, Dominique Flaksberg, Claudia Poh, Amy Yu Chen, and Chaewon Kim. Bandier, which rewards the student with the best activewear collection selects Kayla Conklin as winner, with runners up, Colene Yap & Marissa Petteruti. The Solstiss award goes to Christina Rizzo.
Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.
Photos by FashionUnited