Interview with MA Fashion Studies Alumni Ariel Stark
Ariel Stark, MA Fashion Studies Alumni, shares with us her experience at Parsons Paris and how it led her to her current position as Curator and Archive Assistant at the Foundation Azzedine Alaïa.
To know more about Ariel, take a look at the interview below.
- Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?
I am American, currently living and working in Paris. I have a background in Public Relations and Advertising as well as fashion styling. I have always been a writer and have done a lot of fashion research in my previous job roles. Some of my current interests, outside of my job, are sewing and cooking.
- What were your ideas for the future when you applied to parsons?
I wanted to go further into fashion journalism and the program sounded like a good fit for me and what I was looking for in a Masters. I ended up changing my focus after starting the program, which was surprising, but looking back on it now, I realize how intertwined my previous jobs and interests have been in art and fashion history. It made much more sense and was much more motivating for me in terms of what I wanted to pursue professionally.
- Which were your favorite courses during the Master? What were the highlights from your master?
One of the highlights of the program was the Fashion Curating course as well as the end of semester exhibition that we held at a gallery in the Marais. The exhibition was done in collaboration with MoMu in Antwerp and we had the rare opportunity of being able to feature some of the study collection pieces in the exhibit. During the semester, the entire class was able to travel to Antwerp for a few days to visit the museum. We had the chance to interview the personnel who currently work at MoMu as well as consult the pieces and learn more about their collecting practices. It was a memorable experience for me and really cemented my interest in working with fashion historical collections.
- What was the topic of your thesis? How was the idea for your thesis born?
My thesis topic was based on how different systems of representation in the fashion industry are translated through fashion exhibitions, collecting, and curation. It was inspired by the work that I did in the Fashion Curating course, as well our end of year exhibition on study collections. During the summer, after the first year of the Masters program, we had the opportunity to submit a thesis proposal to the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris in order to have the opportunity to conduct research in their archives. I ended up being chosen for the project and had amazing access to primary resources in their collections. I also had the opportunity to do a 6-month internship after graduation in their conservation department which was an incredible learning experience for me.
- From your experience, what are the advantages or opportunities that the program can offer future students seeking to join the program?
The program gives you the opportunity to do great internships in Paris and abroad, like my experience with the Yves Saint Laurent Museum as well as the project with MoMu in Antwerp.
- How did the MA program in Fashion Studies at Parsons help your professional experience?
The project opportunities that we had during the coursework really enabled me to not only work with fantastic institutions and companies, while enabling me to build upon my professional contacts, but it also helped me add to my work portfolio projects such as putting on an exhibition, creating a magazine, etc. I am currently working for the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation in Paris as an Archive Assistant. In my role, I work with the historical collections as well as assist in putting on the exhibitions at the Foundation. I am thrilled to be able to continue building off the knowledge that I learned in the Masters program while continuing to research all of the topics that I am passionate about.
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