Meet the Graduates: Parsons' Designer of the Year Nominees

Parson's Senior Fashion Show offers a peek into the future, a look at the talented up-and-comers whose work we will undoubtedly see more of in years to come.

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Student fashion shows offer a peek into the future, a look at the talented up-and-comers whose work we will undoubtedly see more of in years to come. Pennsylvania-born David Ferron -- who took home the Womenswear Designer of the Year award last night -- was inspired by the idea of "a copy of a copy" for his senior thesis collection.
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Ferron explains that he wanted to "circumvent the constant pressure to copy trends" by incorporating some of the trends themselves into his line. Somewhat paradoxical, of course, but the concept played out beautifully on the runway.
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Designer Katty Hoelck came to Parsons hoping to eventually design for a major label before launching her own brand. "I am pretty open-minded," she says. "I just want to be in an environment where I can push the envelope and be in a creative atmosphere."
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A San Diego native, Hoelck's senior thesis collection took inspiration from the devastating wildfires that ravage the California landscape. "I played on this narrative of building a house -- buying a plot of land, putting things inside, raising your family, and it burning down -- the loss in fire, watching your things burn away. I designed two prints for the collection that were inspired by burning wood and by the sky during a wild firestorm."
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22-year-old Snehal Bathwal came to Parsons from Kolkata, India and has already completed internships with the likes of Anamika Khanna and Maggi Norris.
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Bathwal's senior thesis collection took inspiration from the "the revolutionary spirit and vibrancy of the 1960s," with super-bright separates like these neon green trousers.
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Designer Carmen Chen Wu hails from Valencia, Spain, and came to Parsons to hone what she calls her "avant-garde cosmopolitan Buddhist New Yorker" aesthetic."My clothing is loose, easy and full of drapes," says Chen Wu. "I tend to like asymmetry because it creates just the right amount of awkwardness that I like."
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Chen Wu's remarkable senior thesis collection was inspired by a recent trip to China. "I was inspired by the tasteful combinations of colors and prints that happened accidentally in the clusters of fabric that hung drying on the clothing lines in the streets of Wenzhou, where my family is originally from, and the East-meets-west cultural blend of the city of Shanghai," she explains.
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Sherman Hung apprenticed under Isaac Mizrahi and Heidi Weisell before graduating from Parsons. Already thinking of his target audience, Hung describes his future customer base as "sophisticated women who embody great leadership skill and a spirit of effortless elegance."
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Hung's final collection at Parsons evolved from "an exploration of abstract, distorted images," and featured modern interpretations of basic shirt, pant, and dress silhouettes.
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Paige Kettering already has Peter Som and J.Mendel on her resume, but her senior thesis collection -- inspired by traditional Korean and Japanese dress -- augurs even greater things to come.
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For the collection, Kettering carved her own wood blocks to make custom prints, and even fashioned a new textile, pulling cross-grain threads from raw silk fabric to create a streaky, stripe effect.
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Angeleno Gousche Kim looked to advanced equations in algebra for his senior thesis collection, specifically "an algorithmic structure called 'quadtrees.'"
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Put simply, "a quadtree breaks a surface into smaller and smaller quadrants, and I used these grid-like structures to dictate how I cut and folded the garments onto the body," Kim explains. Happily, no calculator is necessary to appreciate the streamlined beauty of his final product.
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With internships at Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs under her belt, designer Katherine Kim claims she's most inspired "by individuals with a unique sense of style. Each collection has a different specific muse," meant to reflect evolutions in Kim’s personal taste.
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Kim's outrageous senior collection -- inspired by "the illusion of the 1950's American dream" -- was driven by her vivacious use of color and pattern.
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Devoted to jewelry-design and accessories, Charlie Leibel worked with indie-faves Phillip Crangi and Thom Dolan before completing his senior collection.
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Described simply as "Pre-Fall, 2069," it's no surprise that leather satchels and perfectly-placed jewelry played an important role in Leibel's collection.
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Long Beach native Amelia Lindquist focused on Scandinavian knits for her fall 2012 senior thesis collection.
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Lindquist wanted to modernize traditional "snowflake" sweaters by "translating them into heavy hand embroidery on lightweight silks and wools."
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Jovana Mirabile wanted to go to Parsons ever since she read a profile of the design program in a magazine at age 13. "Since I was 6 years old I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer, so when I heard about Parsons I just had to go there!"
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"I always begin my design process developing textiles first, as this becomes a sort of story board for my collection," explains Mirabile. "My collection is very print and textile driven, and I looked at x-ray, MRI, and PET scan findings to develop the artwork for my print designs." After graduation, Mirabile will ship off to London to spend the summer working with fellow print-master, Matthew Williamson.
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World traveller J.P Rangel worked as a designer Singapore, Dubai and the Philipines before coming to New York City. Though his senior collection was somewhat morbid in concept -- inspired by "the experience of drowning" -- it's impossible not to be smitten by Rangel's sophisticated drape and ruching techniques.
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"The pieces reflect the movement of the body as it experiences stress underwater," explains Rangel. "[Exploring] the concept of buoyancy and the dichotomy of restriction and freedom."
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Expert tailor Brian Suter-Maury has long admired the work of fellow drape-masters Narciso Rodriguez (another Parsons grad) and Raf Simons.
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Suter-Maury's senior collection used tried-and-true draping techniques to create evening looks that were altogether unfamiliar and strangely futuristic."The focus was to create dynamic tailoring that would complement the fluidity of bias-cut satin on the female form," he explains.
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Mia Wright-Ross of Richmond, Virginia approached her senior thesis collection from a position of faith and "thanks to God."
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Described as a reflection of her "personal relationship with God -- the highs, the lows, the emotion, the joy" -- Wright-Ross wanted her senior collection to reflect "what my heart feels and what my fingers have worked to express."
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