Five design students from the class of 2022 on the future of fashion – World Water Day

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

While commercial interests have since dissipated some of the fashion industry’s urgency around sustainability, social equity and inclusion, these graduating fashion students are resolute in their beliefs. Themes of nature, sustainability, cultural bridging, and inclusion were at the forefront of the collections of five recent graduates surveyed by WWD, who were singled out by their respective schools for their exemplary design work. Many of them incorporated high-quality fabrics and recycled fabrics into their collections, giving the designs a sense of craftsmanship and longevity.

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

SCAD student Beckham Lin.

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Savannah College of Art and Design

Name: Beckham Lin

Hometown: Changhua City, Taiwan

Age: 22

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

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

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

DEGREE IN LAW: For me personally, authenticity and embracing my individuality is of the utmost importance for it to shine through in my art and collections. Fashion gives me a platform to communicate my feelings, desires, beliefs and connect with others. Sustainability and inclusion are incredibly important topics for me and my generation of peers. It’s inspiring that the fashion industry in general is making sustainability, body positivity, sexual identity and inclusion in general a priority, and that there is also an openness to embrace new talent, especially a multicultural designer like me.

WWD: Anything you want to say to the designers who have inspired you along the way?

DEGREE IN LAW: Three designers have had a profound impact on me as an artist and designer, allowing me to see fashion as a true art form. To Iris Van Herpen, thank you for creating such incredible and inspiring clothing. To Alexander McQueen, thank you for your genius and for sharing your art of storytelling through design. To Guo Pei, thank you for always embracing his culture and traditional Chinese influences in his creations.

WWD: Do you have a job lined up? If so, where?

DEGREE IN LAW: Next month, I am excited to move to New York City. I have been overwhelmed with the incredible and positive feedback I have received on my final SCAD collection, and look forward to spending my time developing my collection and making meaningful connections with the industry.

FIT student Monica Palucci.

FIT student Monica Palucci.

Courtesy

Institute of Fashion Technology

Name: Monica Palucci

Hometown: Pound Ridge, New York

Age: 25

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

Monica Palucci: Entitled “Close to Home,” my thesis paper references memories of the nature reserve in which I grew up. It is a reflection of my relationship with the natural world. My work aims to explore a reciprocity with nature, facilitating outdoor experiences while taking a critical look at outdoor culture. Multi-functionality and low-waste practices were implemented to extend the use of garments. Single fiber materials, hand-sewn reusable hardware and biodegradable wax treatment were 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 relate to it.

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

parliamentary: After my first year at FIT, I took some time to reflect on what it would be like to approach fashion in a way that makes me feel good. 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 understood that the industry needs to improve its sustainability practices, but that can be tricky at times. 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 lined up? If so, where?

parliamentary: I’m currently interning for Danielle Elsener at Decode MFG and doing freelance upcycling design.

Briah Taubman, student at Parsons.

Briah Taubman, student at Parsons.

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Parsons School of Design

Name: Briah Taubman

Hometown: Los Angeles

Age: 22

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

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

The “anxiety shirt” is the one that most embodies this collection. The black and red, cropped/coiled top pays homage to the visceral anxiety I felt in deciding whether to let go or hold on to my relationship for fear of never finding love like that again. Like my shirt, it was about to burst.

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

BT: It is unfortunate for me that the industry has lost its 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, being an outlier, I finally found an art form in which I could express myself. I want fashion consumers to appreciate the workshops and process of handmade clothing that takes months of meticulous design and craftsmanship. I wish design houses only released two seasons a year, giving the designer time to reflect and get inspiration for their collections without the pressures of impatient consumerism.

WWD: What is your dream job? Anything you’d like 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 with words, just like I struggled as 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 all over again with each collection.

WWD: Do you have a job lined up? If so, where?

BT: I currently work as a freelance knitwear designer for a knitwear consulting company called Studium. Alongside this, I am a freelance assistant stylist for independent stylists and magazines, currently W and Mastermind magazine.

Pratt's student, Trung Tin Pham.

Trung-Tin Pham, a Pratt student.

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Pratt Institute

Name: Trung-Tin Pham

Hometown: San Diego

Age: 21

WWD: Talk a bit about your thesis designs and concept:

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

My designs incorporate elements that can be 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?

T.P.: I think representation is very important for the industry. Growing up as a Vietnamese American, I never saw people like me in any kind of media, but I never questioned it. Moving from my city made me realize 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? Anything you’d like to say to the designers who have inspired you along the way?

T.P.: My dream job is to be a weaving programmer working on Stoll or Shima machines. During my undergraduate degree I fell in love with weaving after taking a Shima Seiki class. My collection was largely based on complex programmed weaving, which I am very proud of. I have always strived to incorporate technology into my craft.

WWD: Do you have a job lined up? If so, where?

T.P.: I don’t have a solid job waiting, but I plan on moving from New York to California to get closer to all the programming point jobs on the west coast.

RISD student Jackie Oh.

RISD student Jackie Oh.

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Rhode Island School of Design

Name: Jackie Oh

Hometown: Seattle

Age: 25

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

Jackie Oh: The overall aesthetic was inspired by musical artists adorning themselves in gold, diamond-encrusted Jesus pieces and oversized garments; as well as extravagant paintings of Christ, his followers and enemies of the past. Bordering on kitsch, camp and cathartic, I mixed casual yet exaggerated 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?

JO: I never focused too much on garments, I originally specialized in FAV. [film, animation, video] before also devoting himself to garment design. And even then, I spent most of my time in the makeshift jewelry studio I set up between the sewing machines.

WWD: Do you have a job lined up? If so, where?

JO: Actually, once September rolls around, I’ll be back in the classroom as a post-Bac student here in Seattle. I look forward to completing all of my science prerequisites in the next two years and then applying like crazy to dental school. In the meantime, I’m working on a second children’s book with my brother, as well as spending time at a couple of jewelry studios in the area.

Source: wwd.com