25-year-old SoCal native, Kevin Hwang, first enrolled in Sewing 101 at his local community college in an attempt to develop his art portfolio. Upon completing the course, Hwang was surprised to discover that he had fallen head over heels for fashion design: "The teacher was absolutely fantastic," says Hwang, "so encouraging, and I feel it's part of the reason I'm in fashion now." Now a Parsons graduate, Hwang is definitely a rising star in the biz, looking to bring functionality and pragmatism to a sophisticated customer.
For his senior thesis, Hwang started with an exploration of classic utilitarian shapes. "I came across vintage images of fishermen from both Western and South East Asian cultures," he explains. Though unusual, the theme turned out to be oddly appealing, his models draped in slouchy trench coats, oversized shorts and big floppy rain hats, equal parts fisherwoman and comfy downtown hipster.
In building his collection, Hwang incorporated natural fibers with fabrics typically reserved for outerwear--the same kinds of textiles that his fishermen would sport, but used in unexpected ways. A baggy beige dress, for example, is made from a nylon windbreaker material more commonly found in jackets. Other materials in the collection include raw silk, soft fleece jersey, silk micro faille and printed linen.
"I think my designs are something a wide range of people can relate to," says Hwang. "I guess I really think about real people when I design and how things would look when they pass me by on the street as opposed to the runway." For this, we are eternally grateful.
Be sure keep your ear to the ground for murmurs of this multi-talented designer, who claims he also plans to one day write a novel or a screenplay: "I feel like, as someone in a creative field, I have an imagination that runs on its own, and the stories that come from that could be something others might be interested in witnessing." We definitely are!