Parsons New School of Design held their 66th graduate runway show in the school’s new state-of-the-art University Center at 63 Fifth Avenue on wednesday.
Parsons honoured alumni Jason Wu with an award for his Contribution to the History of Fashion.
Mr. Wu, who became known for designing the gowns Michelle Obama wore to the 2009 and 2013 inaugural balls, spoke about his experience in Parsons and the wide-ranging skill set he developed there, how being “handed a chainsaw and told to make a 3D structure” came in useful later in his career when he had to construct his own studio. He gave a special thank you to his mother for her dedication to supporting him through his fascination with dressing Barbie dolls and nurturing his passion for design. He talked about the hard work involved in undertaking a course at Parsons but that no matter how hard or how cutting the critique of the lecturers, it’s a walk in the park compared to meeting with department buyers which he mimicked “Too long, too short, You suck”. He thanked his teachers and mentors for their continued support stating that it was what helped him to get to where he is today.
Hugo Boss was also honoured with an award for Fashion Industry Leadership. Gerd von Podewils, senior vice president at Hugo Boss, accepted the award and talked about the importance of education and how it impacts not only the student’s life but the lives of those they go on to work with. He closed his speech with a reminder that “Success is more than the obvious stereotypes of status and material values, success is very individual.. it’s creating your own life, your own legacy and succeeding where your passion lies and what your good at” he continued to say that education is important to Hugo Boss and declared that, in support of the students at Parsons, they are offering a scholarship of $250,000.
The Parsons Dean of Fashion, Simon Collins has said “Parsons is all about collaborating…You could tell that these BFA students are born collaborators, too. They showed a firm grasp of the current market”
Parsons and The New School, from the fashion department to the social sciences to business, marketing, media, technology, and sustainability often draw inspiration from each other. “Fashion isn’t created in isolation,” says Collins on their site, “Young designers need to learn to collaborate across the lines of traditional disciplines and work with a global perspective.”
Collins is speaking from a wealth of personal experience having worked as creative director with top brands for over twenty years and directed Nike’s Asia Pacific division, a $900million business. before taking the role as Dean of Parsons Fashion department.
The graduates of 2014 have produced an impressive series of collections celebrating their knowledge of textile and structure including some outstanding use of colour and print in certain pieces. With such a high standard of design they’re sure to follow in the footsteps of Parsons’ prominent alumni and design luminaries such as Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Anna Sui, Narciso Rodriguez, Isaac Mizrahi, Alexander Wang, Jack McCullough and Lazaro Hernandez, and Jason Wu
The school presented three of the designers with Designer of the Year Awards;
Ximon Lee won the Menswear award
All photos by Jonas Guatavsson and courtesy of Parsons
Anna Sui presented Ashley Yoo Chang with the award for Childrenswear
And finally Jason Wu presented Victoria Hayes with the award for Womenswear
Michael Gould, the recently retired CEO for Bloomingdale’s after a 23-year career, made an inspiring speech encouraging the graduates to not be afraid of failure but to learn from everything “the world loves talent, but pays off on character…success is measured in your own hearts and your own desires follow your passion and never give up on your hopes and dreams”. He quoted from Michael Jordan on his experience with missing important opportunities to score but never giving up. Mr. Gould also quoted from an article by John Gardner – Personal Renewal, advising the graduates to look it up. You can find the article here.
You can watch the full show here
Congratulations to all the talented graduates of Parsons Fashion Design school.