Home American fashion company Five design students from the class of 2022 on the future of fashion – WWD

Five design students from the class of 2022 on the future of fashion – WWD

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The Class of 2022 students are, in many ways, a product of their larger environment. These young fashion designers have completed more than half of their education during the pandemic, while the world around them is undergoing long-awaited upheaval and social change.

While commercial interests have since assuaged some of the fashion industry’s urgency for sustainability, social equity and inclusion, these graduate fashion students are resolute in their beliefs. Themes of nature, sustainability, building cultural bridges and inclusion were paramount in the collections of five recent graduates interviewed by WWD, who were highlighted by their respective schools for their exemplary design work . Many of them have incorporated high-performance knits and recycled textiles into their collections, imbuing the designs with a sense of craftsmanship and longevity.

Here, students from five US-based and globally recognized fashion design schools offer a window into their thesis collections and design philosophy as they look to a bright future:

SCAD student Beckham Lin.

Courtesy

Savannah College of Art and Design

Name: Beckham Lin

Hometown: Changhua City, Taiwan

Age: 22 years old

WWD: Talk a bit about the design and concept of your thesis.

Beckham Lin: This collection represents the moment when a person leaves the comfort of their home, like a bird leaving the nest to fly out into the world. Every journey people experience is heading towards a dream for themselves, just like the bird soaring to new heights. The bird represents my journey to find and build my own home and environment where I can be my true authentic self. Much of the inspiration comes from Eastern and Western cultural perspectives on home and family dynamics. My collection explores the idea of [xiào or filial piety] and each look represents different stages of growth and freedom.

WWD: What is important to you as a young fashion designer? Where do you think the industry can improve?

BL: For me personally, authenticity and acceptance of my individuality is of utmost importance for my art and collections to shine. Fashion gives me a platform to communicate my feelings, desires, beliefs and connect with others. Sustainability and inclusiveness are extremely important themes for me and my generation of peers. It is inspiring that the wider fashion industry is making sustainability, body positivity, gender identity and overall inclusivity a priority, and that there is also an openness to welcome new talents, especially a multicultural designer like me.

WWD: Do you have something to say to the designers who have inspired you along the way?

BL: Three creators had a profound impact on me as an artist and designer, and allowed me to see fashion as a true art form. To Iris Van Herpen, thank you for creating such amazing and empowering clothes. To Alexander McQueen, thank you for your genius and sharing your art of storytelling through design. To Guo Pei, thank you for always embracing your culture and traditional Chinese influences in your designs.

WWD: Do you have a job in sight? If yes, where?

BL: Next month, I’m excited to be moving to New York. I have been overwhelmed by the incredible and positive feedback I have received on my latest SCAD collection, and I look forward to dedicating my time to growing my collection and making meaningful industry connections.

FIT student Monica Palucci.

FIT student Monica Palucci.

Courtesy

fashion institute of technology

Name: Monica Palucci

Hometown: Pound Ridge, New York

Age: 25 years old

WWD: Talk a bit about the design and concept of your thesis.

Monica Palucci: Entitled “Close to Home”, my thesis work refers to memories of the nature reserve in which I grew up. It is a reflection of my relationship with the natural world. My work seeks to explore a reciprocity with nature – facilitating outdoor experiences while critically looking at outdoor culture. Multifunctionality and low waste practices were implemented to expand the use of garments. Single fiber materials, hand-sewn reusable material and a biodegradable wax treatment have been used to ensure circularity. My juxtaposition of found artifacts, traditional techniques, recycled hiking gear and technical design is a nod to the disconnect between nature and how we sometimes engage with it.

WWD: What is important to you as a young fashion designer? Where do you think the industry can improve?

deputy : After my freshman year at FIT, I took some time to think about what it would be like to approach fashion in a way that appealed to me. I immersed myself in studies of sustainability, ethics and size inclusion – looking for opportunities and experiences that would help me answer this question.

At this point, it is widely accepted that the industry needs to improve its sustainability practices, but sometimes it can be complicated. A commitment to long-term solutions is crucial. I think starting with fashion education is a great way to start.

WWD: Do you have a job in sight? If yes, where?

deputy : I’m currently doing an internship for Danielle Elsener at Decode MFG and doing freelance upcycling design at the same time.

Briah Taubman, student at Parsons.

Briah Taubman, student at Parsons.

Courtesy

Parsons School of Design

Name: Briah Taubman

Hometown: Los Angeles

Age: 22 years old

WWD: Talk a bit about the design and concept of your thesis.

Briah Taubman: My “Broken/Open” knitwear collection is inspired by a beautiful and suffocating relationship that finally ended. This collection was born out of my affinity for yarn knits and vibrant colors.

The “anxiety shirt” best embodies this collection. The black and red cutout/spiral top pays homage to the visceral anxiety I felt deciding whether to let go or cling to my relationship for fear of never finding a love like that again. Just like my shirt, I was packed.

WWD: What is important to you as a young fashion designer? Where do you think the industry can improve?

BT: It’s unfortunate to me that the industry has lost nuance as the collective continues to shift towards mass production, fast fashion and the rise of digital clothing.

I fell in love with fashion because as an outlier I finally found an art form in which I could express myself. I want fashion consumers to enjoy the workshops and the process of making handmade garments that takes months of meticulous design and craftsmanship. I want design houses to release only two seasons a year, giving the designer time to reflect and gather inspiration for their collections without the pressures of impatient consumerism.

WWD: What is your dream job? Do you have something to say to the designers who have inspired you along the way?

BT: My dream job is to have my own brand, Artemis. I want my brand to give a voice to women who feel shy or unable to express themselves in words, just as I struggled to when I was a child. I want my clothes to highlight the personality of my consumers.

My other dream jobs would be working for designers like Glenn Martens, Kiko Kostadinov and Jonathon Anderson; these designers make me fall in love with fashion again with each collection.

WWD: Do you have a job in sight? If yes, where?

BT: I am currently working as a freelance knitwear designer for a knitwear consulting company called Studium. At the same time, I am a freelance stylist assistant for independent stylists and magazines, currently W and Mastermind magazine.

Trung Tin Pham, student of Pratt.

Trung-Tin Pham, student of Pratt.

Courtesy

Pratt Institute

Name: Trung Tin Pham

Hometown: San Diego

Age: 21 years old

WWD: Talk a bit about the design and concept of your thesis:

Trung-Tin Pham: This collection, titled Synonym, is a fictional world that I created from fake IDs. [When non-white communities have] an ID passed, there is a photo showing someone who looks like him, and due to microaggressions and racism, fake is accepted. Growing up as an Asian American, I often experienced the occasional grouping of Asian boys as an archetype. Synonym is my satirical response to all of this, throwing out 12 similar-looking models all posing as “Trung-Tin”.

My designs incorporate elements found in different places in the collection, creating a clone feel.

WWD: What is important to you as a young fashion designer? Where do you think the industry can improve?

TT.P. : I think representation is very important to the industry. Growing up as a Vietnamese American, I’ve never seen people like me in any form of media, but I’ve never questioned it. Leaving my city, I realized the importance of representation in all forms of art. The fashion industry needs to improve by humanizing people and work[ing] on diversity until it is reflected at all levels of the industry.

WWD: What is your dream job? Do you have something to say to the designers who have inspired you along the way?

TT.P. : My dream job is to be a knitting programmer working with Stoll or Shima machines. During my undergraduate studies, I fell in love with knitting after taking a Shima Seiki class. My collection leaned heavily on intricate programmed knitting, which I’m very proud of. I have always sought to integrate technology into my profession.

WWD: Do you have a job in sight? If yes, where?

TT.P. : I don’t have a solid job lined up, but I’m planning on moving from New York to California to be closer to all the programming jobs on the west coast.

RISD student Jackie Oh.

RISD student Jackie Oh.

Courtesy

Rhode Island School of Design

Name: Jackie Oh

Hometown: Seattle

Age: 25 years old

WWD: Talk a bit about the design and concept of your thesis.

Jackie Oh: The overall aesthetic was inspired by musical artists adorning themselves with diamond-encrusted gold Jesus coins and oversized garments; as well as extravagant paintings of Christ, his disciples and past enemies. Bordering on kitsch, camp and cathartic, I mixed casual, yet over-the-top pieces with a “more is more” mentality.

WWD: What is important to you as a young fashion designer? Where do you think the industry can improve?

OJ: I never only focused on clothes – I initially specialized in FAV [film, animation, video] before also embarking on the design of clothing. And even then, I spent most of my time in the makeshift jewelry workshop I had set up between the sewing machines.

WWD: Do you have a job in sight? If yes, where?

OJ: In fact, once September rolls around, I’ll be back in class as a post-grad student here in Seattle. I hope I can get all my science prerequisites in the next two years and then apply like crazy to dental school. In the meantime, I’m working on a second children’s book with my brother and spending time at a few jewelry workshops in the area.