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THE COLLECTIVE SEMIFINALISTS

Where:

DESIGNOW POP-UP GALLERY SHOP - 524 WEST 26TH ST

When:

April 2, 2017

On the eve of the inaugural THE COLLECTIVE x DESIGNOW Fashion Show, we’d like to introduce you our 27 talented student competitors. Though their origins span the globe, from Russia to Alabama, their passion for design knows no geographical boundaries and has led them to pursue their dreams at New York’s top design schools. In our ongoing mission to mentor, develop and promote emerging talents, we at Designow couldn’t be more thrilled to give them a much-deserved spotlight.

Presenting THE COLLECTIVE 2017 Semifinalists:

Claire Dartigues

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

25

Hometown:

Paris, France

What do you love about fashion?

What I love about fashion is that it’s a way for people to express themselves, a feeling, a social status, a financial condition, or a great event in their life, through clothing. I think it’s fascinating to see how people dress themselves daily and I love the emotions that fashion creates and the images fashion gives us of our society.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I was raised in a creative family, and the women in my family always made everything by themselves. From the curtains of their homes, to clothes or dance costumes. Also, observing my parents helping people and supporting social projects throughout my childhood was an inspiration that I plan to implement when designing.

How would you describe your design style?

Comfort is important and my style is a mix between classicism and modernism. I like architectural shapes mixed with traditional fabrics, or traditional shapes mixed with innovative fabrics. I love colors as well, but I like them to be harmonious.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

New York by Night! Attracted by the light of the buildings at night in the big city, my NY By Night collection is a testimonial to a fascination of the power of light on colors and shapes. Our entire vision of what’s around us is determined by the intensity of the light and I wanted to express this variation in garments. All the fabrics are up-cycled, and come from luxury French brands such as Louis Vuitton, Sonia Rykiel, and Chanel. I’ve also used white recycled shirts for some looks. I am really sensitive to sustainability in fashion and I am trying my best to minimize waste in my designs.

Alex Yarally

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

22

Hometown:

Queens, New York

What do you love about fashion?

I believe fashion is about our history—where we come from, and where we are going. The most amazing thing about fashion is the stories we are able to express about ourselves.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

My grandmother studied fashion design in the Dominican Republic but was never able to pursue her career. I grew up watching her sew and mend her own clothes. She is the only person who understands me and supports me. I am a designer because it allows me to continue her legacy and go further than she was able to.

How would you describe your design style?

I can’t really “define” what my design aesthetic is, but I know every time I design there is an element of darkness.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

My inspiration for this collection comes from my family’s bloodline that can be traced to 15th Century knights in Spain. I thought about the flesh and blood that we all share, and how it can trace to our past through our DNA. I don't have a name for it.

Aaron Burdge

School:

Fashion Institute of Technology

Age:

26

Hometown:

Visalia, California

What do you love about fashion?

I love how fashion can not only visually emit a feeling but also elicit one. It is a playful way to interact with the world and how you are received within it.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I was naturally drawn to design by my own creative curiosity and exploring the work of designers like Alexander McQueen and Iris Van Herpen.

How would you describe your design style?

I'm intrigued by sharp lines and statements within the body of a garment and anything that playfully interacts with the structure of the human form.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Strange Obsidian. It explores the symbolism and shape of stone, specifically dark volcanic rock.

Doyeon Yu

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

26

Hometown:

Daegu, South Korea

What do you love about fashion?

Fashion is the most approachable art form in the world, so people can appreciate it more easily than other mediums.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I got inspired by the idea that when I create and design, my creation would be worn by others, which is the closest way to approach people. Moreover, my creation doesn’t end at that point, it can be interpreted and transformed by wearers’ taste and intention.

How would you describe your design style?

Feminine and romantic.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

DAKHMA: A Tower of Silence for Excarnation. Wither. Fade. Decay. Die. All of those words represent disappearance and are related to extinction, which usually reminds of the end of life. This collection is to change the direction of dying out. To die is not the end, it is the starting point of another journey that gives additional value and meaning to another. For example, even though flowers die and lose their color, they give color to fabrics. Even though people die and flesh decomposes, it becomes good nutrients for the soil. I was inspired by the concept of Dakhma, which is also called Tower of Silence. It is the place to put dead bodies to feed carrion birds and pray for excarnation. In this tower, death gives another life to other organisms. This collection shows how I interpreted the concept of Dakhma into fashion.

Ya-pei Grace Chou

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

20

Hometown:

Vancouver, Canada

What do you love about fashion?

I love the flexibility of fashion. In a way, fashion can either be a form of art or a usable everyday design; an expression of fantasy or reality.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I always wanted to be an artist/designer, and this decision comes from supportive peers, teachers, and family growing up. However, choosing to pursue fashion design in particular was inspired and taught by my high school textiles teacher. In that moment, I found a space where reality and art met for me.

How would you describe your design style?

Comfort and protection over the body.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Subculture. Homewear inspired by the millennial creative professional and the ease of living and working at an office, home, or coffee shop. Clothing details and fabric choices come from home items such as pillows, pots, and pans.

Veronica Lee

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

19

Hometown:

Dix Hills, New York

What do you love about fashion?

I wouldn’t say I love fashion at all. To me, fashion is an arbitrary title given to anything dress-related and it is also synonymous with an extremely greedy industry that capitalizes on societally-imposed desires to appear relevant to the mainstream. I do, however, love art and the freedom it allows for expression. I especially love making pieces that can be worn on the body simply because it literally encompasses the human body, and in turn, the human experience.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I have been drawing and externalizing my visual ideas since I could pick up a crayon. Over the years, I discovered more and more different types of media through which I could create. At some point, I realized that I was especially drawn to the idea of clothing as sculpture for the body. No other art form (except for installation perhaps) allows for such an immersive experience with the work.

How would you describe your design style?

All of my designs are just externalizations of my experiences and ideas. I design what I like and I am what I make. All the “dolls” in my collection are emanations of different aspects of my own character. Visually, you could say my design style consists of “amoeba-like” shapes and dramatic quantities of volume.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Dollhouse. The work is heavily influenced by Donald Winnicott's (the 20th century psychoanalyst) "Playing and Reality”. In his essay, Winnicott argues that "playing" is a "transitional space” in which a person is between reality and imagination - the presence of tangible objects ground them in reality, but there is also an absurdist or "pretend" aspect which stems from the imagination. In this collection of works, I explore my own "playing" space and externalize this space in the form of these absurdly cutesy garments. The "girlishness" of the collection is indisputable. In essence, the works are straight projections of my identity. The collection was informed by an installation I made titled “IGAMEW FRINKATWO!” which is the reason for the embroidered text on the back of the pom pom coat. “IGAMEW FRINKATWO!” also explores the concept of play and can be seen as the predecessor and counterpart to the Dollhouse Collection.

Beverly Tu

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

25

Hometown:

Taiwan

What do you love about fashion?

There's always more to learn and to explore, specifically with new technologies and new materials.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I took a weaving class in my free time when I was in college, and it changed me completely. My weaving teacher let me see the possibilities in creating different textiles and really opened my eyes. 

How would you describe your design style?

Feminine, soft, romantic.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Icarus, inspired by the Greek mythological figure who uses the wing made by his father to escape the labyrinth. But he gets too excited and flies too close to the sun, so the heat melts the wax on the wing and he falls into the sea and drowns. I think it shows what we want is sometimes dangerous but it never stops us from wanting it.

Minh-Chau Melissa Tran

School:

Fashion Institute of Technology

Age:

19

Hometown:

Issaquah, Washington

What do you love about fashion?

Fashion is the device we use to further beautify the human physique and idealize who we are and who we want to be. Dress communicates who we are at our core and exemplifies the human pursuit of the ideal.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I wasn't inspired to become a designer as much as I tripped and fell into it. Pursuing fashion was a spontaneous, knee-jerk decision that I put very little thought into during my senior year of high school. Since I was young, my plan for most of my life leading up to college was to enter the medical field. I find the human body to be endlessly interesting and beautiful inside and out. When my studying and memorization skills were very clearly inadequate for the long, arduous path of medical studies, I fell back on my hobbies in illustration, sculpture, and the fine arts. As it turns out, love for the human body and love for the arts is a beautiful juncture where fashion comes to life.

How would you describe your design style?

Wearable, with a touch of fine arts (illustration/sculpture/painting).

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Something Black and Something (g)Old. A play on an Old English rhyme: "Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.” "Something Black" refers to the “new," following modern trends, such as the bomber jacket. "Something (g)Old" refers to how "one man's trash is another man's treasure,” such as how I renew second-hand curtains into new looks.

Kara Quinteros

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

18

Hometown:

South Hadley, Massachusetts

What do you love about fashion?

I love that it is a form of embodiment of a person. I think it's amazing that humans are able to use garments as a way of portraying their own identities; that it is, in a sense, the ultimate form of self-expression to those around you that you might not even know.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I'm not sure I entirely remember as it was so long ago, but I suppose it ultimately came from my own fascination with the human body and how clothing can alter the way we perceive not only it, but the one who wears it, as well.

How would you describe your design style?

I guess the best way I could describe it would be modern but childish. I can't really put a name on it, but I love implementing very blatant graphics and text into more modern silhouettes. I really identify with the design style of Jeremy Scott, as he's the designer I admire the most and feel like I draw a bit of my own aesthetic from.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Start A New Thread. Culture through virtual, internet-based platforms has become increasingly present through recent years. Within this collection, I explored this through looking at one of the most “cultural” and involved community based websites: 4chan. “Anonymous posting” is one of the biggest cultural features of 4chan that separates it from almost all other community led boards. This feature allows anyone with access to the website to post anything they want (be it pictures, text, etc.) without a username; no one knowing who exactly they are. This in turn results in users feeling able to post their actual thoughts and feelings regarding a subject, without fear of social judgement. They are creating a new identity for themselves through a website, being hidden but also open. This idea of embodiment is what led me to translate my interest in this new cultural phenomenon of online identity into a collection of garments that explores and displays this concept.

Arissara (Alice) Ronnakittipisut

School:

Pratt Institute

Age:

21

Hometown:

Bangkok, Thailand

What do you love about fashion?

I see fashion as a form of art. People don't just clothe themselves to cover up their bodies. Fashion designers are artists who showcase their ideas on canvases which are human bodies. I think it is amazing that garments can transform how each person is perceived. You can choose what to wear according to how you want people to look at you. It gives people confidence and a way for them to express who they are.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I have always liked art and hoped to be an artist. The reason I choose fashion over other kinds of art is that I feel fashion is closely intertwined with everyday life. Everyday people can understand and participate in fashion, not only the experts. It is something that is fast-changing and there is always something interesting going on. I like those surprises and want to be a part of it.

How would you describe your design style?

I would like to describe my style as wearable art. I want to combine art and fashion together. The silhouettes of my pieces are mostly oversized and relaxed. I also like to design neat, clean, and tailored garments.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Distortion. The inspiration started when I explored the shapes a scanner creates when you shift objects while it is scanning. It created distorted shapes, elongated, and displaced elements. I combined that with traditional garments such as a suit jacket and shirt to create interesting new garments.

Aldrian Diaz

School:

Fashion Institute of Technology

Age:

19

Hometown:

Long Island, New York

What do you love about fashion?

What I love about fashion is the evolution of it. As a designer, you are constantly growing and evolving with each project or collection that you create. It allows for your aesthetic to strengthen and for you to really solidify your point of view.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

My earliest recollection of designing was being a kid and drawing my mom and sister in all kinds of outfits. Since then, I've always had a passion for creating innovative pieces.

How would you describe your design style?

I design for the woman who wants to turn heads. My aesthetic is very contemporary, conceptual, and architectural, while still keeping wearability in mind. I play a lot with volume, interesting color combinations, and cool shapes.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Agnosia is the inability to process sensory information. The collection pulls from the idea of one who is unable to recognize objects, persons, sounds, shapes, smells, etc. and the frustration that must follow. The straitjacket-inspired sleeves are repeated throughout to embody the feeling of 'restriction'. Various letters and phrases are expressed in sign-language embroidery, representing an attempt at communication. The looks are cohesively unsettling in concept, with punches of vibrant color to resemble the ounce of optimism they are forced to have when all odds are up against them.  

Juyeon Kim

School:

Fashion Institute of Technology

Age:

28

Hometown:

Seoul, Korea

What do you love about fashion?

It is ever changing, but always beautiful.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

Marc Jacobs.

How would you describe your design style?

Elegant and joyful. To find the highest elegance is my permanent design goal. At the same time, I like to play with details for fun.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Knocking on Heaven's Door. My inspiration came from old cathedral doors in Europe. In my designs, I tried to revive the old artists' spirit to reach divine beauty.  

Seline Meisler

School:

Fashion Institute of Technology

Age:

22

Hometown:

Mountain Brook, Alabama

What do you love about fashion?

I love fashion for the creative outlet it presents. It has the ability to portray an individual's personal style and become a medium for self-expression, and I love how each designer's unique perspective shows through their work.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I have been obsessed with fashion and art my whole life, so it was only natural for me to start designing. I started sketching designs at a young age and always knew that the fashion industry was where I wanted to be.

How would you describe your design style?

Feminine with a fun, whimsical edge.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Memoirs of a Groupie. It is a lingerie inspired collection based off of the groupies of the late 60's. The collection embraces the sexuality and femininity of these women along with influences from the band posters of the time.

Snezhana Paderina

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

27

Hometown:

Saint Petersburg, Russia

What do you love about fashion?

I love that fashion is a multi-faceted platform for creative expression and, most importantly, storytelling. In fashion I can both create worlds and characters, and work on the visuals of my aesthetic vision, along with a physical representation of it.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

My journey into fashion started with an interest in architecture, specifically minimalism and deconstructivism, and my lifelong fascination with high technologies. This led me to exploring new venues of using my knowledge and inspiration.

How would you describe your design style?

A reinvention of futurism through dark minimalism.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Intimate Decipherment explores one's self in-between virtual reality and real world.

I merged all the themes I’ve been researching for the past year: cyberpunk, dystopian worlds, information security, and privacy vs. exposure, into a creative embodiment of a person’s uncertainty about their place in the ambiguous mix of cyber world and real world. The focal point of “Intimate Decipherment” is a series of 3D renders casted in silicone, depicting my chrome muse in the fantasy environment made out of water and glass. For the fabrication of my collection, I combined contrasting material textures such as silicone and fur with a range of technologies like 3D modeling, 3D printing, and machine embroidery.

Lashun Costor

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

22

Hometown:

Georgetown, Guyana

What do you love about fashion?

I love that fashion allows us to embody our deepest desires, embrace our true identities, and feed our self-consciousness while sadly, society sits back and indulges in the economic success. The language of fashion does not only affect how we think, but also how we feel. It accounts for the ways mass culture is transformed into personal experiences. Fashion helps us articulate who we are as individuals, while also creating versions of who we want to be, yet it’s so easy for people to dismiss the effects fashion has on the human mind. I wanted my work to be more than just the next best trend; more of a political statement. Clothes are our personal system of visual communication. We can categorize and summarize it into two aspects, commercialism and conceptuality. How can one make or retain the wearable while still using it to deliver a political message? As a designer, I want my audience to receive and reciprocate a message. The aesthetic of politics in fashion is not only limited to clothes, it can be shaped in the form of art, cultural science, sociology, etc.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

The movie Dreamgirls really inspired me to become a designer. The costumes really stood out and motivated me to hone in on my sewing and design skills.

How would you describe your design style?

Designers like myself communicate through their clothes as a beautiful work of art; a way to convey our deepest concerns, by trying to make our thoughts heard regularly through our work. Knowing who I am and my ancestral background is an important aspect of my work. It allows me to share and educate the masses about the struggles and oppression of my people, while also sharing my personal experiences so others can feel the raw emotions of my pain and triumph. As an artist, my journey started when I moved from South America (Guyana) to the United States. I knew that moving to a new country wasn't going to be easy; I had to find myself again. Being a kid from a different country, I was seen as an outcast in school. But by educating myself in history and understanding the fact that I have to start loving myself in order to find myself, I started to explore more in art, fashion, color and culture. By opening myself up to see the real me I wanted to do the same for  others. So for the past six years I've decided to mix art, fashion, social and historical issues to create one of a kind wearable sculptures that provoke thought and boggle the mind. I want people to not only question the piece, but do their own research and come to their own conclusion. My showcase is meant to open the minds of others through storytelling, while also differentiating my work. Other pieces might just make a fashion statement, but my ensemble is a time capsule for the viewers to look upon and experience.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

The Evaluation of a Strange Fruit. Living in a country where Black Americans have endured numerous hardships since their involuntary migration and subsequent enslavement from Africa to America, over the years the physical captivity of slavery has been transformed into a more mental captivity, in the way that mainstream American culture has systematically fostered racism and discrimination. The despicable imprisonment of African slaves in every way, especially physically and mentally, still affects Black American values, identities, and ideologies to this day. I wanted to display this through a cape that was transformed by acrylic paint to give it a hard but beautiful structure. Black women wanted to identify with being strong and independent. They wanted to be in control of their lives. It was acceptable to take ownership of your own sexuality and if you wanted, use it to your advantage. The sense of free will, independence and agency occurred due to the portrayal of Black women as observable, tangible elements of these very things. The distinctive portrayal of Black women during the slavery era shows how the shift in representations can affect the values, identities and ideologies for women today. The last piece is a dress that hugs the body, giving it a powerful feeling.

Joshua Mudgett

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

23

Hometown:

Pembroke, New Hampshire

What do you love about fashion?

Clothing design is the closest physical representation of Character design. I get to create a person, a look, and a feeling. It also provides a great opportunity to experiment with materiality and craftsmanship.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

My greatest inspiration will always be my curiosity. Though blessed with many answers growing up, I find the questions in fashion to be the most exciting.

How would you describe your design style?

I describe my style as "Chimeric Couture.”  By this I mean that my creations are an equal mix of classic understanding of garments and haute couture techniques and my own personal aesthetic and technological abilities. My great love for Cyberpunk, Sci-fi, and fiction blends cohesively with my admiration for the classic, romantic, and pure. What it makes is J•MUJET.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Motoko. The collection takes heavy inspiration from both the vaporwave music pop culture phenomenon, and the integration of its sounds and culture into the classic 1980-90's cyberpunk and anime stratosphere. The collection includes 3D printed embroidery, silicon encased fabrics, laser-cut appliqué, and machine embroidered digitized illustrations by J•MUJET. These materials help form the vibrant nuances of the collection in a uniquely empirical way.  

Doris Sofia Diaz

School:

Fashion Institute of Technology

Age:

28

Hometown:

Ecuador

What do you love about fashion?

Fashion is an open window to self-expression. I love how we are able to communicate through it, and how we are able to connect with people on different levels. We communicate our times, our ideas, and feelings and we bring them to the table for people to identify with. Not only does it serve its practical function, but it adds to how we experience our life, what our attitude towards it is, and how we feel.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I've always considered myself a creative person and I always knew I wanted to be a designer. I first went to school for graphic design, but something was missing. I wanted to create something that we can relate to in our everyday life, and I wanted it to be wearable. When I was a teenager I used to collect fashion magazines, and I found myself fascinated by the editorial photoshoots in them. It wasn’t just about the clothes in these images, but the feelings and ideas behind them. I think they’re just stuck in my mind until this very day, and I’m trying to recreate them in my own way.

How would you describe your design style?

I find the word “style” too limiting.  As an artist who strives to express freely, I do not like to be classified or categorized. However, I can say my work is often defined by modern, clean, and sharp lines, which revolve around the specific collection’s feel and concept. Lately, I’ve been very interested in sustainable and ethical fashion, and that’s why I’ve incorporated organic and repurposed fabrics into my collection.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Landmine. My collection was inspired by a series of fragmented collages and a Ray Bradbury’s quote I related to those images: “Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together.” It revolves around the idea of how we live our lives in constant self-construction. I wanted to reflect that in my garments by attaching its main parts with bold, black straps that hold the garments together, enabling you to put them together and adjust them as you wish. It has a very strong attitude.

Glenda Garcia

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

22

Hometown:

Jakarta, Indonesia

What do you love about fashion?

Fashion for me is the most direct and personal form of art that one can utilize to visually express their individuality. I love fashion because it is a powerful tool that has so much significance in our daily lives, as it is a way to understand people and a means to interact—communicating with each other without needing to actually say a word.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

My interest in fashion came from just being surrounded by lots of women who love fashion growing up, but what made me decide to become a fashion designer and to pursue it as a career is a documentary called Seamless.

How would you describe your design style?

Clean and structural lines, subtle details, and wearer-oriented.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Dua, which is derived from the word duality, and means ‘two’ in my mother tongue. It explores the notion that singularity in meaning and perception is nearly impossible in life. Inspired by the poem ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou, the civil rights movement, and the work of artist Lorna Simpson, this collection reflects upon how everything and anything can mean and be taken in multiple ways, both good and bad.

Junghan Lew

School:

Fashion Institute of Technology

Age:

23

Hometown:

South Korea

What do you love about fashion?

I think fashion is the most functional and beautiful artwork.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I had an affinity for fine arts from childhood, which makes me naturally gravitate towards “fashion designer” as my future career.

How would you describe your design style?

In my opinion, fashion is attractive when it is wearable, functional, and also beautifully artistic. My design style is very sporty, casually avant-garde, and also has little unique details. I believe this element of wit can change expected things into very special things.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

The Honor of Infinite Beauty. I was inspired by Korean traditional uniforms called "Hanbok."

"Hanbok" has a very loose and relaxed fit. It has straps for closures (Jeogori), large, simple, voluminous silhouettes, and is beautifully constructed. The combination of my Korean heritage and spirit is reflected in my collection. It is my wish to bring my country the honor of its infinite beauty.

Ginny Cho

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

22

Hometown:

Los Angeles, California

What do you love about fashion?

Freedom of expression, self-identification.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I was always interested in the arts and when I got older, I grew an interest in designing my own clothes which led me to fashion design.

How would you describe your design style?

Modern.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

HER. The inspiration behind it was my past memories in combination of my memories of my grandmother.

Annabelle Tok

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

21

Hometown:

Singapore

What do you love about fashion?

The industry is dynamic and full of energy. Fashion curates unpredictable lifestyles, boundaries are limitless, and explorations can be taken outside of the lines. It provides a platform to materialize an individual’s poetic manifestation.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

Growing up in a contemporary garden city with strong family bonds and memories, I am endlessly presented with an array rich in diversity. However, there is a dilemma between being rooted in values and rebelling against the status quo. In designing, I am able to control conditions in my existence that I want to see transform. As I explore surrealistic other-worldly environments, inspired by the nostalgia of home, I feel compelled to share and recreate these escapades – making it accessible for the mortal human. Being a designer gives me the stage to thoughtfully reinvent.

How would you describe your design style?

Value is placed on concept and narrative. Every design begins with a reflection of my state of mind. Abstracted models of ideas establish avant-garde experimental outcomes. There are often poetic sensibilities explored heavily through textiles.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Reverse reinvents traditional perceptions built upon the miracle of life. In the doctrine of life, it asserts that a conditioned existence is constantly regenerated as it transients through the phases of suffering and enlightenment. The exploration divulges an unconventional theory describing the cry of a newborn infant as the commencing mark of life and beginning of suffering. Enlightenment is established during the imperceptible phase between birth and cry of a baby – it hovers within a newborn’s undeveloped subconscious, therefore memory of such an ephemeral event has always been undisclosed due to its ambiguity of occurrence. The intensity of the fleeting moment is captured through the morphing of natural environments, inspired by landscapes surrounding places where equanimity seems most possible. The chapters flow in a private capsule encompassing an individual’s personal meditative sensibility; inviting an individual out of his/her typical environment into a new world.

Angelica Green

School:

Fashion Institute of Technology

Age:

20

Hometown:

Oyster Bay, Long Island

What do you love about fashion?

Fashion is one of the purest articulations of identity. There are endless possibilities to find yourself through this art form, regardless of whether one holds the position of creator or consumer. It allows any individual to render themselves in a way they might not be able to through verbal words. What I love most about fashion is seeing people feel beautiful. When you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you do good.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I have always had a drive to create. Throughout my life, my mother played a significant role in the maturation of my fashion interests and creative personality. I attribute most of my creative success and passions to her. With her support, I won a contest that granted me the chance to attend my first New York Fashion Week show and from the colossal amount of inspiration throughout the day, I was certain that being a designer was the career path I was meant to pursue.

How would you describe your design style?

Feminine. Regardless of the genre of my collection, I always center my silhouettes around femininity and flattering the figure, no matter what body type.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Chroma is a collection centered around the mélange of color. The whimsical and exuberant nature of Chroma is inspired by the saturated hues and playful patterns of the street art throughout our very own New York City. There is so much color woven through the streets of New York and I wanted to highlight that element of the culture.

James Chapman

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

22

Hometown:

Boca Raton, Florida

What do you love about fashion?

I love fashion because it is wearable art. As a fashion designer, my job is to make the world beautiful. I believe art and fashion are two of the few professions that celebrate life, which is pretty awesome!

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

My grandmother was an artist who created beautiful pottery and paintings and as a young child, I would always create art pieces with her. From that experience, I knew I wanted to do something creative with my life. At the age of 14, I began sewing and designing clothing, and had my first fashion internship by the age of 16.

How would you describe your design style?

I design sustainable luxury ready-to-wear for both men and women. My designs are unique and use a combination of traditional craftsman and cutting edge technology. Each piece I design is like an art piece, but I believe fashion is for the wearer. I design with the end user in mind from the beginning of the design process.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

The name of the collection is HOWL. 

The collection follows the descending and spiraling nature described in the HOWL poem to tell the story of self destructive America. The collection begins with bright colors, kaleidoscope inspired textiles and manipulations, and has a whimsical attitude. Following there will be a transition into muted colors and grays, and textiles emulating the end of this spiraling descent. The collection shows a story of escapism and departure from reality.

Vesper (Jinyu) Han

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

21

Hometown:

China

What do you love about fashion?

I love fashion for its undefined nature. Fashion to me is a medium for my artistic expression which I can apply different meanings and purposes.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I am constantly inspired by artists and designers from different fields and industries. I think the ability to work and create through different methods and approaches is what also inspired me to pursue a career in fashion.

How would you describe your design style?

Expressive, relevant.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

The Sneetches. It is a multifaceted art and fashion project created by analyzing and examining Dr. Seuss’ children’s story book The Sneetches. Upon researching the author’s background as well as the content of the book, it was revealed that the children’s story was created in reflection of the social and political influence of The Civil Rights Movement. Thus the duality of interpretation of the work was identified: a concept of “What is seemingly innocent and

childish at first sight could be, in fact, reflecting a current social/political issue.”

Inspired and informed by this discovery, The Sneetches by Vesper Han was created based on the purpose behind protesting, in combination with reflecting the current election results to Dr. Seuss’ story. By using a radical approach aiming to inform and incite conversation, action and organization among like-minded people, the purpose of this project reaches far beyond just fashion and art. Through the interactive component of the installation, individuals are encouraged to express emotions as well as concerns, and are inspired to connect and organize with the aim of prompting the changes and revolutions today’s society desperately needs.

Arna Lísa Traustadóttir

School:

The New School: Parsons School of Design

Age:

23

Hometown:

Reykjavík, Iceland

What do you love about fashion?

How it's a form of expression that everyone takes part in. Sometimes an outfit is well thought through, and sometimes put together just within minutes, but it's always delivering some sort of message about the person under the garments.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

The harsh weather conditions where I grew up were definitely the starting point. The weather can change drastically within minutes, so it almost forces you to consider the actual function of each garment. At the same time, I take very direct inspiration from the different textures in nature, and surfaces that are constantly exposed to the weather that we only have to fight temporarily.

How would you describe your design style?

Comfortable, effortless, simple, calm, soft, versatile, 90’s.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Sea_Kona. I came across a photograph of a woman working out on sea, by the coasts of Iceland, taken in the 1950's. She was wearing an oversized sailor coat, clearly originally fitted for a man. Despite that, her smile gave me hope and reminded me of the tireless fight that we as women fight everyday, simply aiming to be seen for our true value. I wanted to create clothes that support and empower us in the modern environment. To work out, work at home, go out, or stay in—dressing for our own comfort and purpose.

Roderick Reyes

School:

Fashion Institute of Technology

Age:

20

Hometown:

Brooklyn, New York

What do you love about fashion?

Fashion to me isn't just about the pretty, cute, or sexy… it’s more than that. I believe it's more about culture, art form, design, and emotions that can't really be defined. Around the world, everyone has a different idea of fashion. The "idea" doesn't matter until there is a change to viewing fashion as wearable art and a way of self-expression versus “fast fashion.” The underlining of each designer’s concepts, ideas, visions, and themes for creating a certain look or design can change how we see fashion globally or even just locally, and can have a small or large impact on how it is then understood by the masses.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

I don't think it’s a what or who because I was always a creative child growing up, making my own personalized cards and sewing things out of paper, cutting up my mother’s dress at the age of 5 and getting punished for it, and always doodling on my school homework thinking to myself that I didn't fit in and I would change that when I got older to make a difference in fashion. I never looked up to designers when I was younger. I lived in a very strict, protective, and Christian home that didn't let me explore creativity or myself. But I remember in my elementary yearbook under my name it said  "When I grow up I want to be..." and I wrote "a fashion designer.”

How would you describe your design style?

High-end street wear. I just love mixing things—prints, embellishments, colors, patterns, textures, and construction. All those small details make a woman feel special when they wear my garments.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Lost Heritage. As a native New Yorker born and raised in New York City by two immigrant parents, then only being raised by my Dominican mother until the age of 15 and having to leave my Mexican side behind, I came up with the concept of "Lost Heritage.” It is the mixing of embellished items and the tailoring of traditional construction in high-end clothing along with the toughness of everyday streetwear, styled with a flavor that only New York City understands. Having a strong sense of Mexican culture, religion, and arts, parallel with different ideologies of today and of the times is what makes this capsule collection authentic and original to my aesthetic and persona.

Olivia Jing Zhao

School:

Fashion Institute of Technology

Age:

20

Hometown:

Born in Japan, raised in China and Boston.

What do you love about fashion?

I love fashion because it's a personal statement that creates emotions. It expresses the way you think and who you are without words.

What/who inspired you to become a designer?

The thought of inspiring others inspired me to become a designer.

How would you describe your design style?

Modern, chic, and elegant.

What is the name of your collection and the inspiration behind creating it?

Eccentric Elegance. The inspiration behind this collection is the future of fashion. I believe that “fashion forward” means originality and practicality. One little detail can make a large difference.

Photos by Silvana Fazzolari

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