Taken from HEROINE 6 – DANGEROUS YOUTH.
New York isn’t often viewed as a hot bed for emerging fashion talent, but it feels like there’s a change coming. Labels like Hood By Air and Eckhaus Latta and promising Parsons graduates like Colleen Allen are putting out collections derived from a more underground side of NY culture, subverting the city’s commercial reputation.
Perhaps most key in the shift is the relatively young Fashion Design and Society MFA at Parsons. The five-year-old course takes a bigger picture approach to fashion design, considering the global and digital world its students exist in and encouraging them to create without boundaries. The result is big-thinking young creatives with a practical, dynamic, and worldly approach to fashion design. Dreamers and experimenters with the realest world view.
Here, six graduates from the 2016 MFA graduating class reflect on their final collections, and tell us what drives them.
“I referred to a lot of fashion illustrators throughout the 20th century like René Bouché, studying their drawing media and techniques and translating them into textiles. I then used these textiles to draw around a body, wanting to avoid the common translation from page to 3D design process. I think our generation is suffering from an information overload. We face the challenge of figuring out what is necessary, learning how to cut down the excess – and then share.”
“This collection was based around machines and engineering, the clothes were constructed by cutting and joining individual pieces to produce repurposed looks. I have always been curious about how machines function, my father and I used to disassemble mechanical structures then put them back together, sometimes replacing a component to change its function. I like to think this method can produce similarly interesting outcomes if applied to fashion design.”
SNOW XUE GAO
“Inspiration comes from my own life – what I see, what I think, what I eat, the art installations I make. My work focuses on combining tailoring and draping of garments, and the actions involved in creating gradually become the inspiration behind my designs. I twist – conceptually and literally – my Eastern roots with the Western culture I am constantly surrounded by.”
“Artists like Damien Hirst, Mark Ryden, Gary Baseman and Anish Kapoor influence me heavily, their works all have a play between opposite elements. For this collection, I was thinking a lot about monsters and little girls, themes relating to Beauty & The Beast or Monsters Inc, telling the story in a romantic way. I used lots of mixed materials, mostly raffia, sequins and shiny silk, tweed and some weird textures.”
“For this collection, I was inspired by a story about the origins of the Japanese traditional mending technique, kintsugi. The story tells of a warlord who found beauty in porcelain, fixed with staples, an idea which I felt resonated with my personal aesthetic and sensibility. I felt compelled to interpret it into my own vision. I used the Japanese sakiori technique to create recycled fabric by collecting cut off jean legs and then shredding them into strings and weaving together again to make new jeans.”
“I believe that fashion is a powerful platform that can create change. Expressing how you feel can be loud and in your face but it can also be quiet and still meaningful. New York’s fashion landscape is exciting because you have young emerging designers working in ways that really challenge the fashion system, whether it be by production, sustainability, defying the calendar or speaking their mind on social media. It’s also daunting, because I feel a lot of what goes on in New York relies on connections and that can really be disheartening for young designers – I know a lot of work that deserves way more recognition yet goes unnoticed.”