The New School News

Parsons Student Projects Designed for Social Good Make ‘Impact!’ at Seaport Culture District

New Yorkers have so many places to be and so many people to see: they could be working at the office one minute, partying the next, and grabbing a bite in between—if there’s time!

That leaves little opportunity to switch into situationally appropriate outfits. A team of Parsons School of Design students has a solution. Inspired by the “multifaceted daily needs” of busy urban dwellers and a little-known shape-shifting marine creature know as the Cuttlefish, students developed a line of garments that can “change depending on the event or environment, from casual to formal wear, to day and night,” according to the designers.

“Through traditional couture smocking techniques, sewn with shape memory alloy wires and draping styles on the slit of a contemporary dress, we created two garments that can subtly and delicately change shape based on their wearer’s daily calendar data,” added the students, who employed Intel technology to bring their garment line to life.

The students presented their work at the opening reception of “Impact!”, an exhibition of projects by Parsons students that explores the ways in which designers, artists, scholars, technologists, and strategists from different disciplines come together to push the limits of their practice and create new possibilities for social change. Many projects were created in collaboration with industry partners, including Intel, Mastercard, Tide, and Swarovski.

The reception coincided with a gala opening-night block party for South Street Seaport’s Culture District—a celebration of independent art, music, fashion and culinary offerings—on the cobblestone pavements of historic Fulton Street. Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal and footwear designer Sarah Flint were among the high profile guests who came out to a VIP reception that featured Parsons Potion, the leading art and design school’s take on a cosmopolitan.

“Parsons students are rigorous, aware, and engaged artists and designers making the world better, more sustainable, and more beautiful,” Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons, said during the reception. “We are so pleased to be able to share their extraordinary work with the larger art and design community in New York City.”

The window-fronted exhibition space for “Impact!”, located adjacent to Titanic Memorial Park, is packed with projects that focus on sustainability, shortening the supply chain, and meeting consumer needs. Projects include Design for Care, a collection of garments designed in collaboration with Tide that explore the way clothes are laundered, repaired, altered and worn; MasterCard x Parsons, a series of prototypes and design concepts that embed payment functionality in products and garments; Intel in Tech and Fashion, a collection of wearable tech prototypes incorporating the Intel Curie module that address user needs in areas such as health and self-expression; and Local Studio, Made in New York, a series of products designed for New York City, made in New York City, and sold in New York City.

“Impact!” is part of Parsons Festival 2016, a celebration of the leading art and design school featuring exhibitions and sales of student work, and student-led presentations and symposia in a range of design disciplines. Visit The New School’s website for a schedule of events.

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