Fashioning the future with Parsons’ class of 2020

Watch a documentary on the MFA students of New York’s best design school, who are entering a fashion industry at its most unpredictable.

The Parsons MFA graduates never got the chance to showcase their final collections after two intense years of study. Though this isn’t entirely new, with most of the fashion calendar moving entirely online, it’s all the more disappointing since students are often given a much longer lead time than a traditional fashion house to perfect their final (and debut) collections. 1 Granary stepped in and co-created a compelling, intimate documentary with the MFA course, directed by Adinah Dancyger, which allowed these grads time to discuss the thought that went into their singular creations, and how it feels to be graduating into an industry that is seemingly on life support. But despite fashion’s doldrums, these four graduates – Zhouran Li, Shuxuan Li, Jessica Guzman and Sarah Lim – are holding out hope that their talents will put them on the map.

Shuxuan Li

Age: 26

Current location: NYC

Describe your collection in one sentence.

I create fitted yet loose garments to explore the contrasts and tension between artistic heritage and superficial modernity.

How do you feel about entering the fashion industry at this time?

It’s quite an interesting moment to be involved in the fashion industry. It’s a new [set of] circumstances for everyone. I’m quite curious to see where the industry will go, what kind of changes will happen, and how people’s expectation will change towards the industry. It’s an era designers are more involved in. Instead of just making beautiful garments, they question: what’s the meaning of fashion in our daily life? It’s the best time for us to thinking and questioning, and to make changes happen.

What are your feelings about not having the possibility to showcase your collection as normal?

To be honest, I was disappointed at first, cause the runway show is somehow something that every fashion student expected. Everyone is waiting for the final moment”. In a way, it’s quite nice to think of the new possibilities and the new language to express ourselves with, instead of following the original path. I’m quite into the idea of showing people what fashion” really is… What’s the story and [what are the] thoughts behind it? Fashion for me is not just about emotionless commodities, it’s really about something that is connected to us closely.

@shuxuan11126

Zhuoran Li

Age: 26

Location: New York City

Describe your collection in one sentence.

My collection is about a visual recording of drawing on my body.

How do you feel about entering the fashion industry at this time?

I feel I have the passion and optimistic attitude to face the uncertain world. But after being a fashion design student for such a long time, I feel I really need to learn a lot of things except fashion design, not only about how to design but also how to sell your design/​product.

What are your feelings about not having the possibility to showcase your collection as normal?

I feel even more excited since we need to think about using different types of media to storytelling for our collection rather than the normal” runway.

@zzzzzhuoran_li

Jessica Guzman

Age: 26

Location: Los Angeles

Describe your collection in one sentence.

I am approaching knitwear as the inner structure of a garment, allowing garments that are typically precisely formulated, to be freed of these pre-designed silhouettes.

How do you feel about entering the fashion industry at this time?

The fashion industry has been moving at such an insane speed that it has grown complacent and has not experienced growth or evolution in response to the changing world. Now, we are seeing a fashion industry forced into dramatic change where brands must adapt to survive. For a young creative who is very critical of the fashion system, I am incredibly eager to participate in this now awakening industry. I also think my naivety works to my advantage.

What are your feelings about not having the possibility to showcase your collection as normal?

The runway show is a very traditional format that for me feels more like entertainment than a fashion showcase. Fashion presentations should be unique to the fashion that is exhibited.

@guzman

Sarah Pei En Lim

Age: 26

Location: New York

Describe your collection in one sentence.

Cowboys listening to acid house in suburbia.

How do you feel about entering the fashion industry at this time?

Positive – it’s the perfect time to be adaptable. I’m learning that having a balance of technical and creative experience can open a lot of new avenues that I might not have thought possible before and I’m excited to see what comes next.

What are your feelings about not having the possibility to showcase your collection as normal?

The drama of a runway show is really fun to me so I was a little disappointed, but it’s important to be open and react to the world we’re currently living in. In a conventional showcase the audience only gets to interact with the final product, so it’s refreshing to be able to contextualise the collection through a documentary format. It’s also opened me up to thinking of different ways fashion collections can be made more accessible and interactive through collaboration, something that I’m really hoping to do more of in the future.

@eslim_


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