Parsons MFA Fashion Design & Society 2016 Runway Show

Parsons School of Design

Explore the innovations behind a new generation of fashion designers.

MFA Fashion Design & Society 
The MFA Fashion Design and Society at Parsons School of Design is the first graduate program of its kind in the United States, with a unique interdisciplinary and international approach to fashion. Each year, a small group of students join this academy for advanced studies in fashion design, training to become innovative and progressive world-class designers.

The program

The program has an acceptance rate of approximately 10% per year making it a high level program to access based on talent.

Initiated by Parsons alumna Donna Karan, the program has received support from major names in fashion such as Diane von Furstenberg, Swarovski, Uniqlo, and Kering.

The two-year program combines intensive studio-based projects with research and exploration, which fosters experimentation, providing students with the design and research skills they need to become successful in the field, including a critical awareness for self-development and growth. The program helps students develop an understanding of the global, ecological, and business contexts of their work.

The Class of 2016
The Fifth Generation of Parsons MFA Fashion and Design consists of a group of 13 designers from all over the world. The graduate collections are presented at New York Fashion Week each September supported by MADE Fashion. At the end of their second year, students present their graduation collections to industry insiders, headhunters, select press, stylists, and buyers within an exhibition format, which has resulted in employment.

Xiang Gao

Born into a family that owns a clothing factory, it was quite natural for Xiang Gao to choose fashion as a creative endeavour.
The city’s many galleries were source point of inspiration for Xiang’s thesis collection, for which she looked at various artists such as David Hockney, Matisse and Edward Hopper, alongside her own life experiences.

Xiang also considered different artistic techniques such as wood block printing and sketching, to investigate how certain artists have drawn people in the past, and to examine how to build a 3D vision on something flat. This made Xiang think about how she could personally use knitting techniques in order to “present the feeling of drawing in knit,” as well as the volume of the garments themselves.


Jessie Shroyer

Originally a professional dancer, Jessie studied philosophy in order to have a chance to sit still, and detach the focus from her body; placing it on the mind instead.

Being the only American in the MFA Fashion Design and Society program was the starting point of her thesis collection. It enabled her to see her own culture through the eyes of others – coming to NYC from all over the world – and made her question her own identity as ‘American’. Jessie ended up asking friends and family to help her develop an ‘American’ identity through clothing, by giving her one garment. The only parameter set, was that they couldn’t wish for the article of clothing to be returned to them. What did she receive? T-shirts with Mickey Mouse and Coca Cola on them, alongside raw materials for the collection.


Mook Attakanwong

She is an emerging womenswear designer. Her eclectic aesthetic is translated in her textiles explorations of embroidery, embellishment and silk-screening printing coupled with her anarchic combinations of colours. She believes in comfortable luxury and draw strong inspirations from sportswear and contemporary art.
Her label has been widely seen in the fashion press, both national (Australia) and international. Mook was sponsored by Swarovski Elements in her 'Libertine' Graduate collection and has recently been mentioned in Vogue Italia, Vogue Talents September 2014 issue as one of the 200 emerging talents.


Anna-Marie Gruber

Emerging knitwear designer. Anna Marie Gruber’s slick youthful designs: skin-tight, above-the-knee dresses with sheer paneling and color-blocked linear graphics. Although extremely minimal — nearly all the looks were all white — it brought a true Nineties sensibility to the lineup.


Alex Huang

For him, "fashion is the ultimate form of contemporary culture. It is the appearance of philosophy, aesthetics, politic of a time and in a way, by taking a part of it, we are creating history".


Ran Bi

“This collection was based around machines and engineering, the clothes were constructed by cutting and joining individual pieces to produce repurposed looks. I have always been curious about how machines function, my father and I used to disassemble mechanical structures then put them back together, sometimes replacing a component to change its function. I like to think this method can produce similarly interesting outcomes if applied to fashion design.”


Kozaburo Akasaka

“For this collection, I was inspired by a story about the origins of the Japanese traditional mending technique, kintsugi. The story tells of a warlord who found beauty in porcelain, fixed with staples, an idea which I felt resonated with my personal aesthetic and sensibility. I felt compelled to interpret it into my own vision. I used the Japanese sakiori technique to create recycled fabric by collecting cut off jean legs and then shredding them into strings and weaving together again to make new jeans.”


Snow Xue Gao

Snow Xue Gao’s work focuses on tailoring and draping. Her ready-to-wear collection focuses on combining, tailoring, and draping the garment. Twist, pinch, and tie-up; those draping actions gradually become the inspiration and the concept towards Snow’s design. Snow twists, conceptually and literally, her eastern roots with the western culture she is constantly surrounded by.

Bjorg Skarphedinsdottir

Saturated in monchrome, Bjorg Skarphedinsdottir explored the technology behind knitwear in his graduate offerings.


Queenie Quinghe Cao

Queenie Cao's graduate collection, entitled "Cute Monsters & Little Girls," features thick fuzzy black lines across a heavy textured textiles.


Born and raised in Siberia, Russia, Jahnkoy is a New York based visual artist. Her work draws upon found materials and ready-made clothing to illustrate her ideas around consumerism, racial and cultural inequality, crafts and the political and economic restraints that surround it. She sees fashion as a powerful force to raise questions about the sustainability of the actual fashion system and seeks to bring awareness and raise consciousness among consumers about alternative, more viable modes of production, distribution and consumption.

Zishan Li

Zishan Li's graduate collection, "Purple Mountain," reflects an acid trip of color and texture to deliver dashes of optimism and irreverence.

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