navigation bar





Parsons Empowering Imagination Competition

By Hildelisa Díaz

Last May, Parsons, top fashion school in the U.S., celebrated their annual graduation gala. Aside from rising money for their scholarship fund, 48 BFA graduates got to showcase their thesis collections and the Empowering Imagination Competition results were revealed. Harim Jung, from Seul, South Korea, and Kaye Applewaite, from Barbados, were named women’s wear designers of the year. Yunxiang (Sharon) Zhou from Tai'An, China, was named menswear designer of the year; and Diana Woodside, from Los Angeles, was named children's wear designer of the year.

Harim Jung's collection, Identity + Ethos, was inspired by her own personal experience.  She experimented with different methods of pattern making as a conceptual "time machine", while still creating real garments that could be enjoyed by others. She took inspiration from her high school experiences, which related from her uniform to school policy. Wool, cotton and brass were the main materials for the collection. 

The Arc of Self, Kaye Applewaite thesis collection, was driven by her search for identity. The designer told “It is an individual critique of the process of design, from an initial idea to the final garment. What began as the deconstruction of a hoodie resulted in a five-piece collection that is a blueprint to the thought process.”

Manifesto was inspired by workers' garments and tools, Zhou developed a collection of aprons that celebrate utility and incorporated details that focus on day to day labor. Sharon Zhou told “For my thesis collection, I explored vintage menswear—the classic leather jacket and military parka, for example—and found that in menswear, the utility of a garment always gave birth to a classic that never went out of style...My thesis is a celebration of work.”

Some other amazing collections came from Harin Yang, who worked with going from two dimensional design to tridimensional construction in what she calls a “fourth dimension”; Soon Il Kwon, who combined his passion for automotive and fashion design; Madeleine Provost, who explored how the relationship between craft and sustainability can produce luxury design; Jasmine Plantin, she presented an unisex collection; Josh Tafoya, who presented a collection inspired by the Chicano culture and their pop culture obsession, Josh also designed his own prints for this collection; Maisie Schloss, who's collection was inspired by Louis Wain and Yayoi Kusama obsessive behaviors, that not only inspired their bodies of work, but also eventually consumed their lives; And Francine Frohlich, who translated a nightmare into an incredible architectonic collection, to only mention a few.

Yoonsun Choi