Future Perfect: Parsons Thesis Collections

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I think you'll be as impressed as I was by the thesis collections of these new Parsons graduates. An organization known as "the underground runway," a collective of over 30 fashion designers hailing from the newest graduating class recently showed their designs at a fashion show, which I was sorry to miss. However, I'm looking forward to seeing some of their work in person when pieces become available at Debut's week-long exhibit of graduate collections starting June 16th.

Here are some select pieces from the work of eight talented graduates along with a description of the collection in their own words and a peek at their future plans.

Lauren Jennings:

"My inspiration was an amalgamation of many things that I found interesting while studying at Central Saint Martins in London last summer, but what stood out in particular at the end of it all was topography and the work of architect Thomas Heatherwick. I interpreted these into both organic and structural shapes using soft fabrics like chunky hand-knit wools paired with light but structured organza. I tend to have a strong focus on silhouette, and tried to emphasize the shoulders in this collection."

Lauren says she is still a “free agent.” After her travels in London, she will be returning to the states to start her job hunt. Ideally, she would like to work with a startup designer level company with an interest in knits.

Lauren Jennings Parsons thesis white knit dress and jacket @ Dream Sequins Lauren Jennings Parsons thesis grey chunky knit sweater and white leggings @ Dream Sequins
above: Lauren Jennings looks
all images via the underground runway

Sarah Hermez:

"This Spring/Summer collection is inspired by the Masai warriors, an indigenous African people located in Kenya and Tanzania, and their extraordinary use of color to communicate. A fascination by their massive beaded necklaces, that from far looks like a cluster of beautiful colors intertwined, sparked the experimentation of various textures and the creation of hand-painted prints. Most of my fabrics are hand crafted and hand painted. I use lightweight fabrics such as silk chiffon, georgette, and organza. My knitted dresses are created using strips of chiffon, and my prints are all hand painted using fabric paint. My striped dress is also handmade using different colors of markers on ten yards of fabric. My necklaces are made of leather, elastic cording and fringes. My wedding dress is also hand knitted silk chiffon and the headpiece is made of feathers."

Although Sarah graduated from Parsons, she is a double major in media and cultural studies at
Eugene Lang and has another semester left at school. While still in school, she plans to pursue internships and work for a designer upon graduation.

Sarah Hermez Parsons thesis colorful scarf top @ Dream Sequins Sarah Hermez Parsons thesis white knit wedding dress and Native American inspired headdress @ Dream Sequins
above: Sarah Hermez looks

Rachel Balzarini:

“My design philosophy has always been a mixture of sportswear meshed with eclectic shapes and contrasting colors. I also love to play with odd fabrics and challenge myself to make them wearable. The inspiration around my senior Parsons collection is the Chaos Theory, also known as the Butterfly Effect: small shifts in an initial condition can cause a long term behavior in the system. For example, a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the earth can cause a tornado on the opposite side. While designing, I used this inspiration to infuse everything; fabrication, shifting of silhouettes, color palette and even an attempt to shift the way we normally put together our every day outfits. I wanted to introduce clothes that I saw people wearing in the next few years, clothes made of odd materials, unusual closures, items that could perform a slight change in shape if the wearer moved a zipper or layered the pieces differently. The materials I used were vinyl, coated linen, nylon coated spider organza, spandex, metal corset closures, zippers, keys and a bit of stretch jersey. I also made a custom print of the mathematical equation of the chaos theory which I applied in stamp form to some of the looks just to relate to the inspiration."

Rachel plans to go to Milan in September to do some internships. After that, she will to move back to New York to look for a design position. She would love to work for a designer who shares her design inspirations such as
Hussein Chalayan, Preen, Bernhard Willhelm or Bruno Pieters.

Rachel Balzarini Parsons thesis graphic print dress @ Dream Sequins Rachel Balzarini Parsons thesis futuristic vest @ Dream Sequins
above: Rachel Balzarini looks

Jon Pagels:

"For my thesis collection, I played with two sides of a spectrum... the natural and the artificial. Each piece I approached playing with these two elements in a different method. The fabrics that I used are very traditional (cotton jersey, blue fox, suede) and very forward (apalca wool knit - coated in vinyl, lingerie fabrics, and a transparent fabric that at this point no one has been able to identify). One element that bridged the entire collection was the use of metal tubes. For one of my blouses it suspended the blouse up while appearing to be just a necklace. On my purple evening gown, the tubes suspend from front to back while holding their place due to the perfect amount of weight."

Jon is currently approaching companies in Milan and New York and says he would like to work under a designer to really understand the craft and the industry.

Jon Pagels Parsons thesis grey structured jacket @ Dream Sequins Jon Pagels Parsons thesis purple puddle train gown @ Dream Sequins
above: Jon Pagels looks

Amanda Horrigan

"My collection was inspired by Emily Bronte's novel, Wuthering Heights, focusing on the atmosphere of the the English moors and the violent and macabre undertones of the novel. The idea for the loose fit of the garments came from a scene in the novel where Heathcliff exhumes the grave of Catherine - I wanted to convey a body that had lay shrunken in its funerary clothes. The fabrication focused on heavy, looped hand knits, Mongolian pelts, and textured wools to give the wearer shelter from the elements, both of city streets and freezing moors, to diaphanous voiles and mohair knits inspired by the wind and the translucency of specters."

Amanda just accepted a fulltime styling job working with musicians and says she is really interested in exploring many aspects of the industry.

Amanda Horrigan Parsons thesis dramatic white fur wrap @ Dream Sequins Amanda Horrigan Parsons thesis cropped jacket over pants @ Dream Sequins
above: Amanda Horrigan looks

Anna Sun K. Lee:

"In creating a concept for my senior thesis, I drew technical inspiration from artist
Lee Bul’s art works and corporeal inspiration from caves of nature. I viewed Lee Bul’s latest works last year and her works are incredibly elaborate, conceptual and extremely feminine. She demonstrates a connection to other forms of art dealing with chaos and deconstruction. My S/S collection is wet drapery and collapsed structures that are incorporated with a naturalistic aesthetic. This collection is based on a half knit and half woven collection so I used jersey, silk organza, charmeuse, chiffon, habotai, cashmere and wool. I also did experiments on fabrics like foil print and hand painting on habotai. The prints that I created using foil and hand painting best represent my inspirations (silvery,metallic feeling from Lee Bul's installations and hand painting from caves)."

After graduation, Anna would like to work for fashion companies for a few years before starting her own line.

Anna Sun K. Lee Parsons thesis all white look with cropped sheer pants @ Dream SequinsAnna Sun K. Lee Parsons thesis white silk printed dress with open back @ Dream Sequins
above: Anna Sun K. Lee looks

Macarena Rosas:

"My collection was inspired by the massacre of aborigines in Argentina during the late 1800’s. I wanted to create a cohesive collection that would show the two parts of this history: on one side the Argentine military and on the other side the native aborigines. Both sides inspired my textiles; I used traditional techniques such as weaving which was made in Argentina on an aboriginal loom with Argentine llama yarn. Conversely, I wanted to use some very clean and lustrous fabrics to accentuate the sleekness of the military silhouette as well as chains and shiny trims to illustrate the idea of the Argentine uniform. Most of my designs are a combination of textures, which makes my collection a strong conception of my inspiration. I like to design simple silhouettes, but create an overall look that emanates importance and excitement through the fabrication, details, and addition of accessories. As a result, my collection becomes a paragon to my aesthetic and a distinction from others."

Macarena would like to return to her home in Argentina and work for a designer to learn more about the fashion business in South America. In the near future, she plans to start her own line or explore Sao Paulo’s growing fashion industry.

Macarena Rosas Parsons thesis graphic knit dress with black jacket @ Dream Sequins Macarena Rosas Parsons thesis cream knit neckpiece with chains @ Dream Sequins
above: Macarena Rosas pieces

Rachel Ford:

"This collection is an exploration of man’s relationship to nature, and our need to simultaneously protect and be protected from it. Specific references are made to the Native American warrior as a representation of survival with a respect for the natural world. The fabric is mostly organic cotton, and sustainable bamboo rayon, and many of the pieces are hand dyed and hand painted. The shoes are made out of recycled care inner tube."

Rachel is currently seeking employment in New York and hopes to work for a smaller label.

Rachel Ford Parsons thesis cream dress with black graphic print @ Dream Sequins Rachel Ford Parsons thesis black recycled material shoes @ Dream Sequins
above: Rachel Ford pieces

Best wishes to these talented designers and their classmates!

For more information or to view more pieces from these collections or those of other designers in the graduate class, check out the underground runway.


MizzJ said...

What exciting designers they all are! It's very interesting too to see the influences they cite behind their collections.

GUGAW said...

Love the Rachel ford pieces, I would genuinely wear that outfit, and the masai inspired pieces are just stunning and so sculptural x

Brigadeiro said...

Oh my! Such amazing talent! I especially love Lauren Jenning & Anna Lee...stunning! :)

Leigh said...

ZOMG. i love love love those knit looks. i really need bold, architectural sweaters to become a reality, and not just a dream of knitting fashion nerds like me and select few...

Slices of Beauty... said...

Love the mix in this post ~ real slices of beauty!

Couture Carrie said...

Wow! So much talent! Loving the chunky knits and that Rachel Ford dress! Faaaabulous post, darling!


E said...

I love the sculptural, avant garde looks from Lauren Jennings and Jon Pagels. I hope I'll get to see more of their work on the runways.

Dream Sequins said...

MizzJ: I'm glad you enjoyed it! I was so impressed at how articulate they all were about their inspirations and the fabrication of their collections.

GUGAW: Glad you enjoyed the Rachel Ford pieces. It's very wearable, and I enjoy that the shoes are made of recycled materials!

Brigadeiro: I could see you in Lee's draped dresses. Very Brigs :D

Leigh: Oh I'm big on the knits, too. I think they are coming back in a big way, don't you think? LOL to the knitting nerds comment. Rodarte and a bunch of designers coming out of London are very knit-centric.

Slices of Beauty: Thanks, beauty!

Couture Carrie: Glad you enjoyed the post! xx

E: The Jon Pagels is pretty cool. There are tubes that weigh the dress in different ways from the back to front.

trishdarling said...

This is so inspiring to me. Thank you for posting. It makes me want to go back to school.

Lily G. said...

These designers are so talented and creative!!

thefatandskinnyonfashion said...

they are so talented. i can see myself wearing some of them.

Hanh said...

there are many ultra cool stuffs going on here. love the chunky knit !!!!


dapper kid said...

Oh wow, I am in love with Lauren Jennings work, what beautiful silhouettes! And Rachel Ford's pieces look wonderful, plus the eco factor is pretty amazing :)

Hanako66 said...

so cool....would love to see them in person! I hope that they have great success!

LJ said...

I really like Lauren's cream knits..nom nom.
xx-LJ from SOS!

Dream Sequins said...

trishdarling: I know, aren't they inspiring? xx

Lily G: I wholeheartedly agree! They definitely have great points of view!

thefatandskinnyonfashion: I would be pleased to wear any of these things!

Hanh: You could rock any of these. I, too, am fond of the knits!

dapper kid: Great choices. Yes, I love the eco factor of Ford's pieces, too.

Hanako66: I think I'll have to take some pictures and share them on the site! :D

LJ: She's got some other cool knit pieces. I am in love!

Elizabeth Marie said...

I got chills reading this. Lauren is my fav-although, how can I pick favorites from this group??? I just adore the second image in her interview.

Makes me wish I went to Parsons instead of FIDM. :)

Bravo to you for highlighting these designers! XO

Erin said...

great coverage on the next gen of designers to watch, can't wait to see what's next for them!

FashionMatchmaker said...

I really liked the white Sarah Hermez gown, the details look interesting, and the fabric Anna Sun K. Lee chose for her dresses is gorgeous!

la petite fashionista said...

they truly are the future of fashion & so incredibly talented!

I can't wait to see more from the future from them! In today's trying times it must be extra motivation to create unique pieces.

Lauren Jenning's knitwear is my favorite!

Nora said...

omg, these are incredibly stunning! they are all so talented and creative in their own ways. cheers to them :)

miky said...

love this last dress

SF Indie Fashion said...

glad you posted this! Love seeing a glimpse of what we have to look forward to from the Parsons grads in years to come....

Modelizer said...

I was totally at the debut event and covered it for my paper. I didn't see most of the designers featured on your blog there :( But it was a good show over all.

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