For the second year in a row, an alumnus of Parsons The New School for Design has won a National Design Award from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. The design world’s highest honor, they recognize lasting achievement in American design.
This year, Behnaz Sarafpour, who graduated from Parsons’ BFA Fashion Design program in 1992, won for fashion design. Sarafpour has produced lines for Target and collaborated with brands like Tiffany & Co. Her work is notable for its strong shapes and classic silhouettes mixed with material innovations (buttons made from cherry pits, for example) and a deliberate use of bold patterns. In 2008, her environmental concerns led to the addition of organically produced pieces in her collections, which continue to be designed and produced in New York’s Garment District. Prior to launching her label, Sarafpour worked with Parsons alumni Narciso Rodriguez and Isaac Mizrahi.
Evan Roth, a graduate of the MFA Design and Technology Program in 2006, won a National Design Award in 2012 in the category of Interactive Design. While the award was specifically for his work with EyeWriter, a device that allowed paralyzed graffiti artist Tempt1 use eye movements to continue tagging, Roth restlessly creates new interactive projects. He creates gifs, turns paint squiggles into physical objects, and has an ongoing Google hack that makes him the number one search result for a certain expletive-laden compliment.
Previous award winners include Parsons faculty members David Lewis of Lewis-Tsurumaki-Lewis and Lucille Tenazas, and alumni Yeohlee Teng and Tom Ford. The 2013 Awards will be given out at a gala in New York in October, as well as celebrated at a luncheon at the White House presided over by First Lady Michelle Obama. For more information, visit www.cooperhewitt.org/national-design-awards.