Parsons BFA Fashion Graduate Open Studio took place this week onsite for the first time since the pandemic started providing us with an opportunity to see what the class of 2022 have cooked up. Bustling, loud, chaotic, the exhibit was arranged across two floors in the University Center building. Each student had a booth, a rack and surrounding wall space to showcase their graduate collection, sketchbooks and process work, fabric sampling and, of course, that final portfolio that they will soon take out into the job market. In a main gathering hub, attendees could view videos of less than a minute made by the students to best represent their creativity.
At the fore of the students’ work were problem-solving strategies for the complex and evolving industry into which these young designers will be released as they tackled issues of sustainability and social justice, through form, silhouette, material, and process.
The school challenges students to consider approaches to body, gender, age, and size in order to develop new narratives, definitions, and terminologies for a modern perspective. But there was also a feeling of celebration about the post-lockdown return to live events in many students’ work as they developed clothing to be seen in. There were iridescent fabrics, hologram effects, chunky rainbow colored knits, techy sequins in neon and repurposed industrial or activewear materials in unusual ways. Officewear suiting reflected a desire for a traditional workplace environment. One student lay in a white fur-lined coffin.
From this group of approximately 200 students a select number will get to present their collections on the runway at the 73rd Annual Parsons Benefit event next week which will recognize designer Tory Burch; Lauren Santo Domingo, Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer, Moda Operandi; Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation; and Kehinde Wiley, Visual Artist, among others.
But for now some standouts of the class of 2022 include Kelly Zhang whose denim-but-make-it-couture spiraling forms were impressive; Issac Robertson with a pumped up collection inspired by the sacred space that is the gym; and Yi Yao whose slim floor length printed layers featuring a watchful eye were then overpainted.
Two notable designers inspired by the world of menswear are Matthew Han whose impeccably crafted collection entitled Making A Man reworks doublets and codpieces in pinstripe, windowpane check and pearls, while Hyunse Kim’s retooled suiting was a rhapsody in corporate grey. An arresting statement in all black, Taku Yhim’s collection of wood and rubber elements against a specially blended cotton with rice made surprisingly poetic silhouettes inspired by Samurai.
The school’s Annual Benefit runway event will be held on Monday evening at NYC’s The Glasshouse.