Fashion innovation happens everyday in design schools around the world, and IRK Magazine’s Art Editor, Stacy Seiler has offered us an inside look into her Integrative Studio course at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Integrative Studio is a BFA, First-Year course that introduces research methods, iterative design, team collaboration and cross-disciplinary investigation, while challenging student to consider both “how” and “why” they create.
In their first fashion assignment, teams were asked to research the history, architecture, culture and commerce of a NYC neighborhood, and then extract a unique or lesser-known aspect of that neighborhood to inspire the design of a garment. By using the city as their muse, students were able to take a fashion-forward approach to concept development and bring innovation to the forms that define the body. Following the garment’s construction, the collaboration process continued as the students took to the streets of New York, styling and producing a fashion editorial photo shoot that featured their garments back in the original neighborhood of inspiration. Innovative indeed!
IRK Magazine is excited to share the work of the following talented Parsons design students.
SOHO: Fashion Illustration and Photo shoot
Today, SOHO is a thriving commercial shopping area that is equally famous for its majestic cast iron buildings. In fact, SOHO has reached landmark preservation status for being the largest district of cast iron architecture in the world. With such beauty it’s hard to believe that only 60 years ago SOHO was a crumbling industrial wasteland knows as “Hell’s Hundred Acres”, a nickname given because of the rampant industrial fires frequently occurring the in the abandoned manufacturing lofts. The SOHO design team utilized this portion of history as inspiration to create a dress in which layers of burning paper flames form a skirt that encircle the molded cast iron-inspired bodice. Oversized fire escape-like accessories offer a means of visual exploration throughout the garment while their precarious angles and sharp turns give an unsettling sense that there is no clear way to safety. In their photo shoot, the ablazen garment begins to assimilate back into the cast iron buildings and layers of zigzagging fire escapes, highlighting how much the neighborhood has evolved over time.
SOHO Team Project Credits
Fashion Design, Photography: Jennifer Elias
Fashion Design, Styling: Lauren Lee
Fashion Design, Model: Yasmine Childs
Fashion Design, Styling, Fashion Illustration: Shally Wang
Fashion Design, Styling: Cydney Bomba
Lower East Side: Fashion Illustration and Photo shoot
Beginning in the late 19th century the Lower East Side emerged as a working class community formed by German, Italian, Greek, Jewish and Eastern European immigrants arriving through Ellis Island. Today the heavily gentrified neighborhood has continued to add layers of diversity to its heterogeneous roots. Aging tenements stand next to glass high-rise condominiums and boutique hotels, century-old family businesses share a common-wall with trendy restaurants, the renowned New Museum competes against blocks of colorful street art and graffiti, and the list continues. For the Lower East Side design team, this visual juxtaposition of old and new became the inspiration for their garment. At first glance, a workman’s denim jumpsuit is physically divided between past and present. Beginning with the back of the garment, iconic business names, a simulated brick wall with fire escape and the heritage of the original working class immigrants are hand-painted in neon pink, referencing the glowing signage at night. Then, with one turn, the current-day Lower East Side is revealed through street names that mimic the intricate graffiti tags and street art seen throughout the neighborhood. The garment pushes the element of juxtaposition one step further with the design of a sleeveless top made from mirrored plastic squares and intricately sculpted metal florets. The reflective surface breaks through the unzipped jumpsuit like the emerging modern glass buildings that have redefined the landscape. The team’s photo shoot takes on an element of true urban camouflage as the tagged garment feels as much a part of the Lower East Side as the graffiti-covered walls that frame it.
Lower East Side Team Project Credits:
Fashion Design, Styling: Audrea Guo
Fashion Design, Lighting, Styling: Riane Belgau
Fashion Design, Styling, Fashion Illustration, Photography, Lighting: Mikki Mccann:
Fashion Design, Styling, Model: Taara Mehta