Caroline Zimbalist, BFA Fashion Design ’19, Creates Innovative, Wearable Sculptures and Objects
It can be worn on the body. It can hold a bouquet of flowers. It can help light a room, and cast bold shadows and colors throughout a space. Caroline Zimbalist’s multi-faceted work, created using innovative textiles and unique mixtures, spans disciplines while remaining thrillingly original and true to her singular perspective.
As a designer, Zimbalist, Fashion Design ‘19, is inspired by a range of ideas, including the fruit that grows on trees, the way food is plated, plants sprouting up in unconventional places, ultra-modern art, her family, and more. She has been featured in some of the world’s leading fashion and design magazines, including the Wall Street Journal and Vogue, and her work has been exhibited in celebrated galleries, museum shops, and more.
“I always hope my work inspires some of the joy that it gives me to make it,” shares Zimbalist. “I love colors and patterns and shapes that remind me of an altered natural world. One person said he and his friends lie on the floor and stare at a lighting fixture I made. Another artist told me discovering my pieces at a store cheered up his day. Knowing my work can affect people in such simple ways is enough for me. But I also wouldn’t mind bringing more awareness to the intersection of nature, human footprints, and the future.”
Zimbalist started creating her one-of-a-kind pieces while at Parsons, when she discovered the “Bioplastic Cookbook” and began developing mixtures that have become the type of sculpting and coloring she designs with now. Her pieces begin with a sketchbook and an outline, and then she plays with the color palette before moving on to cooking up a mixture on the stove, draping the piece to dry, and continuing to refine the color while sculpting.
“Mixtures involve different ingredients such as starch or agar powder and different consistencies depending on what form I am making,” she explains. “Drying time varies and dictates when I can finesse manipulations for shaping.”
During her time at Parsons, Zimbalist took a variety of classes that forced her to think outside the box, which have helped influence the way she approaches her practice today, and laid the foundations for her success.“The talent and work ethic at Parsons inspired me and fed my own ambitions. It’s a school that constantly produces successful designers. I treasured my time at Parsons.”
Currently, she is working on a presentation for New York Fashion Week, taking place in February, 2024, which will include a ready to wear collection with bioplastic garments. She is also creating a new set of plant-inspired vessels for guest suites on a cruise ship.