A money clip, cash included, worn as a dress. A dress with half of a blazer sewn over it. Pants with only one pant leg. All of these looks, and many more, walked down the runway at the recent MFA Fashion Design and Society Generation 7 fashion show at Spring Studios during New York Fashion Week.
“The designers are so diverse in their approach to their work,” says program director Shelley Fox. “Their starting points are very unique, as many come from a deeply personal story or experience, and/or an obsession around a fabrication or technique which they are able to personalize through the making of fabrics. There is an emphasis on the pursuit of making the best of your craft as a designer – in whatever form that may take.”
The MFA in Fashion Design and Society at Parsons School of Design is the first of its kind in the United States, and in the tradition of critical social research at The New School, the student designers develop an understanding of the global, ecological, and business contexts of their work. The program, which was started in 2010, is overseen by Fox, and associate director JOFF. The annual fashion show is the culmination of the two-year program, which has helped launch the careers of numerous designers who go on to work for some of the biggest names in fashion and retail.
“The program is boutique in size, allowing us to give the students the attention they need at this level,” says Fox. “Research is key and is embedded within each course throughout the curriculum and simultaneously challenges the students to think about social engagement, their place within society, the language of their craft, materiality, the communication of fashion – and supported with courses in photography, film, art direction, fashion communication, choreography, and entrepreneurship.”
The runway show made it very clear that each designer has developed their own sense of identity thanks to their time in the intense and challenging program and are poised for future success.
“We have given them the opportunity to establish a solid foundation for themselves,” says Fox. “Which in turn gives them the confidence to implement themselves confidently within the industry.”