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Parsons Graduate Festival crowned by Benefit’s 3.6 million fundraising haul

By Jackie Mallon


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Parsons school of fashion is reeling from a weekend of celebrations. Its annual Graduate Exhibition which honors the artistic achievements of its class of 2019 just wrapped up with the school throwing open its doors to members of the Parsons community, and the public curious to see for themselves why Parsons continually rates top among the nation’s fashion schools.

Across four floors of the University Center, booths overflowed with immersive artistic installations, film, textiles and garments from graduating students of the AAS Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing, and BFA Fashion Design programs, as well as MFA Textiles first-year students.

The weekend program also included a photoshoot, and the designers of the year announcements. Future Textiles winner was Andrew Davis whose painstakingly hand sewn menswear involved picking apart and reassembling, then rubberizing, classic tailoring fabrics. The Creative Systems award was shared by Yayi Chen whose poetic layering of beading and lace (sponsored by Solstiss) addresses the invisibility of Chinese women in the food service industry, and Veronica Lee whose puffed blood red sculptural pieces stem from an examination of human greed and depravity.

But dig deeper through notebooks, sketchbooks, fabric experiments, knit samples, drawings, 3d prototypes, photography, for a true glimpse into the extensive process behind the individual thesis exhibitions, and those much-photographed final collections, of which one look from each had just been presented hours earlier in the school’s first street fashion show, outside on 13th Street.

Parsons scores top for fashion and fundraising

A selection of the top collections was then presented in full on Monday at the school’s exclusive 71st gala benefit dinner held at Pier Sixty, with this year’s honorees, Pharrell Williams, The Real Real's Julie Wainwright, Stitch Fix's Katrina Lake and Everlane's Michael Preysman. Honorees are recognized, according to the school, “for embodying the university’s dedication to creativity, sustainability, and innovation as well as their exceptional commitment to educational and charitable initiatives.”

But that wasn’t the end of the celebrations. This creatively successful academic year was crowned with the news the next day that the gala benefit had raised the record figure of 3.6 million dollars, including funds from a live auction led by Lydia Fenet, Managing Director of Christie’s, which will be used to fund future scholarships within the school.

Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.

Photos FashionUnited

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