7 Young Designers to Watch from Parsons’ MFA Class 2018. Meet 7 emerging designers who let their visions and personalities shone in the annual Parsons MFA graduate show.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, for fashion lovers and other people in the fashion industry that is. That’s right, it’s fashion week season! This year, Parsons has yet again held their annual Parsons MFA Graduate Runway Show. Showcasing the spring 2019 collection were 15 graduate students: Rui Zhou, Limeng Ye, Irina Wang, Jimin Kim, Saya Zalel, Floyd Hogan, Max Cui, Yang Liu, Kota Okudo, Amy Crookes, Shie Lyu, Wrong Xiao, Stephanie Frig, Venice W. and Annaliese Griffith-Jones.
Parsons alumna, Donna Karan, who initiated the MFA program in 2010, was especially impressed by the sustainability factor of each designer. “Everything was made from scratch — every fabric, every bead, every design. For these guys to do that is extraordinary. Usually, you see things like that on the recycled level. But they made every single thing,” Karan said.
Here are the top seven designers from Parsons MFA graduate runway show whom we thought were absolutely brilliant:
1. Rui Zhou
Show opener, Rui Zhou, showcased her super-fine yarn creations, which made her pieces look like wearable dreamcatchers with that transparent knit vibe. Zhou explained, “I am driven by my emotions and my inspiration comes from three women in my family. Our relationship has influenced my view of the female experience and my own life and if it was my last day on earth, I would want to be with my family and nowhere else. My work explores the interaction between a garment and the body: the space between the body and the curves can be associated with the distance and intimacy between people. It is filled with air.”
2. Max Cui
Max Cui went with feminine aesthetics for his “Daydreamer’s Dream” collection which had emerged since a quick peek a few months ago into the sketchbooks from which his whimsical drawings surfaced. His actual pieces stood out in colors like red and emerald, with silhouettes of weaving round columns of misty organza. “I hope the wearer embodies a different persona as they appear to hold a tale that has yet to be told,” said Cui.
3. Kota Okuda
Kota Okuda said he wanted to “redefine the American currency by commodifying its value in an alchemistic system of dress”, and so he did. Okuda created his pieces with a hint of playful examination on materialism. He made accessories out of real money, including a giant American Express card. One model was wrapped in giant dollar bills held by a giant money clip, another one was swallowed by a massive black wallet with an extraordinary sized American Express card peeking out of it, and others were barely covered by coins and transparent dollar bills.
4. Jimin Kim
With bright colors like pink, blue, yellow, and red, Jimin Kim created paracord athluxury pieces, including helmets! Kim aimed to strip the streetwear and hip-hop of its misogynous overtones; on her collection she explained, “I wanted to embrace my nationality as a Korean, Asian woman. When I researched female Asian culture, I found that there is so much misogyny. So, I incorporated a traditional Korean knotting technique that’s used to make decorative ornaments but has a hidden meaning [that translates] to ‘play with a girl,’ because it’s small and beautiful. Then I thought to myself, ‘Why don’t I make them bigger, and re-appropriate this technique to make it stronger?’”
5. Limeng Ye
Limeng Ye’s collection stood out thanks to the alluring shapes and photoreal prints of her pieces. From earrings to dresses, to shoes, Ye’s street style aesthetics embraced the everyday smartphone-captured human layers over the individualistic fashion peacock through hyper-realist photographic and trompe–l’oeil prints. Ye stated, “I was always very interested in the idea of a daily look. I feel like a lot of accidents happen each day, so I wanted to record them.”
6. Saya Zalel
Saya Zalel managed to create an elegant tulle eveningwear collection in ultrarich colors like blue, purple, and green. Zalel’s rich textile exploration originated from the chaos and control she identified in the Kazak culture of her birth. “Finding balance in chaos and embracing the tension between cultural values and the personal,” explained Zalel on her collection. Her pieces consisted of dresses and top-and-skirt set made of bold colored rumpled tulle with a hint of transparency and oversized kimono-style long dresses. To complete the looks, they all came with matching shoes of course.
7. Shie Lyu
This year’s runway show sure showed a display of the students’ textile knowledge and abilities with each collection more tedious-looking than the last. One of those collections was Shie Lyu’s. Lyu utilized softer colors like white, and pastel colors like blue, pink, and yellow. She worked with fine rubber tubing, sequins, perspex, and molded plexiglass to form mesmerizing pieces that represented people’s ideas of whimsical eveningwear. Shie Lyu’s collection was so complicated that it seemed to be 3D printed (it was all sewn by hand!). On her collection, she commented, “The errors of distance. A union of longing and belonging with craft and technology.”