Outstanding graduates of the BFA Fashion Design program introduced themselves to the fashion and design industry recently, showcasing their thesis collections at a fashion show at the 70th annual Parsons Benefit.
Held at Pier 60, the fundraising event for student scholarships attracted industry leaders and influencers including singer Solange Knowles, who was honored alongside Marco Bizzarri, president and CEO of Gucci, and José Neves, CEO and founder of Farfetch. The honorees were recognized for embodying the leading art and design school’s dedication to creativity and innovation as well as their exceptional commitment to educational and charitable initiatives.
This year, attendees experienced a new and expanded version of the benefit. Students in the MFA Lighting Design program showcased a unique installation, and BFA Fashion students not exhibiting their work in the runway show displayed collections that highlighted the four pathways in the program: Collection, Materiality, Fashion Product, and Systems & Society.
In addition, Arta Jekabsone, a student from the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at The New School’s College of Performing Arts, performed with her quintet, reflecting the university’s interdisciplinary and collaborative approach.
Accepting her award from her friend and fellow musician Vince Staples, Solange expressed her gratitude to Parsons and The New School.
“I can’t put into words how overwhelmingly awesome this is and how humbled and honored I am,” said Solange, who was wearing a design by Shanel Campbell, MFA Fashion Design and Society ’17 and current Parsons faculty member. “What a beautiful night. I’m eternally grateful!”
Recent honorees at the Parsons Benefit include Rihanna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, LVMH, and Eileen Fisher, who were recognized for their various contributions to fashion, education, philanthropy, and the arts.
“It was an honor to celebrate Solange, Marco, and José, who are all leaders in their fields and have empowered young designers and artists through their incredible work,” said Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons.
This year’s benefit raised $2.26 million in scholarships. Gucci and Farfetch also announced scholarship funds for students at the event.