This year’s senior fashion design students of the Pratt Institute’s Fashion School presented their final thesis collections to a sold out crowd at its 115th annual fashion show on May 1, 2014, where celebrated designers Stephen Burrows and Byron Lars were honored for their contributions to fashion.
“We all started here,” Byron Lars speaking of his experience studying at the Pratt Institute “Up all night, working tirelessly on your collection—your first collection—the first one that anybody in the industry will actually view. It’s a really big thing.”
Lars received the 2014 Pratt Fashion Visionary Award from acclaimed actress and producer Angela Bassett and Burrows received the 2014 Pratt Fashion Award for Lifetime Achievement from legendary supermodel Pat Cleveland. The award recipients were feted immediately after the show at an exclusive cocktail benefit at The High Line Hotel. The 2014 Pratt Institute Fashion Show + Cocktail Benefit raised over $225,000. Proceeds benefit Pratt scholarship funds and the Institute’s Department of Fashion.
Graduating senior Julia Wollner was presented with the “Liz Claiborne Award – Concept to Product” at the conclusion of the runway show. Presented by Department of Fashion Chair Jennifer Minniti, this $25,000 award, funded by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, will support Wollner’s creative entrepreneurial activities and help cover the costs of developing a collection post graduation. Julia Wollner’s thesis collection is a response to Bell’s palsy, a condition she was diagnosed with a year and half ago that paralyzed half of her face. She created abstract prints from photos of her face from before and after, and further tells her story through her use of materials and silhouette.
Wollner was one of 21 graduating students who were chosen by a panel of industry experts to design, produce, and present cohesive and progressive collections for the show, titled “Under Construction.” The designers showed five to 12 looks per collection, putting their distinct voices on display. As the title of the show suggests, a common thread that ran through the collections was a unique approach to conceiving fabrics and alternative methods of garment construction.
You can watch a video of Julia at work here
Pratt annually honors distinguished individuals in the industry at its fashion show. This year, Pratt chose to honor Burrows, a preeminent black designer of the 1970s and 1980s, and Lars, the leader of a growing and influential group of contemporary black designers, for their outstanding work in design. Both Burrows and Lars were recently featured in Pratt’s Black Dress: Ten Contemporary Fashion Designers exhibition, an unprecedented group show that celebrated the creativity and entrepreneurship of black designers at Pratt Manhattan Gallery.
Past honorees include Thom Browne (2013), Fern Mallis (2012), Hamish Bowles (2011), Catherine Malandrino (2010), Ralph Rucci (2009), Carmen Marc Valvo (2008), Narcisco Rodriguez (2007), and Diane von Furstenberg (2006).
Cotton Incorporated was the lead sponsor for the Pratt Fashion Show + Cocktail Benefit. Funding was awarded in part through a competitive grant presented to Pratt Institute by the Importer Support Program of the Cotton Board and managed by Cotton Incorporated. Santander Universities, a division of Santander Bank, was the platinum sponsor for the Pratt Fashion Show + Cocktail Benefit. Santander Universities is a philanthropic arm of Santander that is focused on advancing the needs of society as a whole through higher education. In the United States, Santander supports 33 higher education institutions and in 2013 gave over $10 million to fund scholarships, global exchange opportunities, research projects and entrepreneurship studies.
All photos are credited to Fernando Colon, photos and information courtesy of Pratt Institute