Five design students from the 2022 class on the future of fashion – WWD

Five design students from the 2022 class on the future of fashion – WWD

In many ways, the students of Class 2022 are a product of their larger environment. These young fashion designers completed more than half of their education during the pandemic, while the world around them witnessed upheaval and long-overdue social changes.

While business interests have since mitigated some of the fashion industry’s urgency on sustainability, social justice and inclusion, these fashion industry graduates are resolute in their beliefs. Themes such as nature, sustainability, cultural bridging and inclusion featured prominently in the collections of five graduates surveyed by WWD, who were singled out by their respective schools for exemplary design work. Many of them have incorporated premium knitwear and upcycled textiles into their collections, infusing designs with a sense of craftsmanship and durability.

Here, students from five globally-recognized US fashion design schools offer a glimpse into their graduating collections and design ethos as they look toward a bright future:

SCAD student Beckham Lin.

SCAD student Beckham Lin.

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Savannah College of Art and Design

Name: Beckham Lin

Hometown: Changhua City, Taiwan

Age: 22

WWD: Talk a little bit about your dissertation drafts and your concept.

Beckham Lin: This collection represents when a person leaves the comfort of their home, like a bird leaving the nest to fly out into the world. Every journey human beings experience is moving toward a dream of its own, just like the bird soaring to great new heights. The bird represents my journey to find and build my own home and environment where I can be my true, authentic self. Much inspiration comes from Eastern and Western cultural perspectives of home and family dynamics. My collection explores the idea of [xiào or filial piety] and each look represents the different steps of growing and embracing freedom.

WWD: What is important to you as a young fashion designer? Where do you think the industry can improve?

BL: For me personally, authenticity and embracing my individuality is paramount to being able to shine through in my art and collections. Fashion gives me a platform to communicate my feelings, desires and beliefs and to connect with others. Sustainability and inclusivity are issues that are incredibly important to me and my generation of colleagues. It’s inspiring that the broader fashion industry is making sustainability, body positivity, sexual identity and general inclusivity a priority, and that there’s also an openness to embracing new talent, especially a multicultural designer like myself.

WWD: Would you like to say something to designers who have inspired you along the way?

BL: Three designers have had a lasting influence on me as an artist and designer and have enabled me to see fashion as a true art form. Thank you Iris Van Herpen for creating such incredible and thought provoking garments. Thank you Alexander McQueen for your genius and for sharing your art of storytelling through design. Thank you Guo Pei for always considering your culture and traditional Chinese influences in your creations.

WWD: Do you have a job prospect? If yes, where?

BL: Next month I’m looking forward to moving to New York City. I have been blown away by the amazing and positive feedback I have received on my recent SCAD collection and hope to devote my time to developing my collection and forging meaningful connections with the industry.

FIT student Monica Palucci.

FIT student Monica Palucci.

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Fashion Institute of Technology

Name: Monica Palucci

Hometown: Pound Ridge, New York

Age: 25

WWD: Talk a little bit about your dissertation drafts and your concept.

Monica Palucci: My thesis entitled “Close to Home” refers to memories of the nature reserve where I grew up. It reflects my relationship with nature. My work aims to explore an interaction with nature – enabling outdoor experiences while taking a critical look at outdoor culture. Multifunctionality and low-waste practices have been implemented to expand the use of garments. Single fiber materials, hand-sewn reusable hardware, and biodegradable wax treatment were used to ensure circularity. My juxtaposition of found artifacts, traditional techniques, upcycled hiking gear and engineered design is a nod to the disconnect between nature and how we sometimes engage with it.

WWD: What is important to you as a young fashion designer? Where do you think the industry can improve?

MP: After my first year at FIT, I took some time to think about what it would look like to approach fashion in a way that made me feel comfortable. I delved into studies of sustainability, ethics and scale inclusivity – looking for opportunities and experiences that would help me answer this question.

At this point, it’s common knowledge that the industry needs to improve its sustainability practices, but that can get convoluted at times. A commitment to long-term solutions is crucial. I think starting with a fashion education is a good start.

WWD: Do you have a job prospect? If yes, where?

MP: I’m currently doing an internship for Danielle Elsener at Decode MFG and doing some freelance upcycling design on the side.

Parsons student Briah Taubman.

Parsons student Briah Taubman.

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Parsons School of Design

Name: Briah Taubman

Hometown: Los Angeles

Age: 22

WWD: Talk a little bit about your dissertation drafts and your concept.

Briah Taubman: My Broken/Open knitwear collection is inspired by a beautiful and suffocating relationship that eventually ended. This collection grew out of my affinity for yarn knits and vibrant colors.

The “fear shirt” embodies this collection the most. The black and red cutout/spiral top pays homage to the deep dread I felt trying to decide whether to let go or hold on to my relationship for fear I wouldn’t find love like that again. Like my shirt, I was bursting at the seams.

WWD: What is important to you as a young fashion designer? Where do you think the industry can improve?

BT: I find it unfortunate that the industry has lost nuance as the collective continues to shift towards mass production, fast fashion and the rise of digital clothing.

I fell in love with fashion because, as a runaway, I finally found an art form to express myself. I wish fashion consumers would appreciate the ateliers and the process of handmade clothing that takes months of meticulous design and craftsmanship. I wish that design houses would only release two seasons a year so that designers have time to reflect and gather inspiration for their collections without the pressure of impatient consumption.

WWD: What is your dream job? Is there anything you would like to say to designers who have inspired you along the way?

BT: My dream job is to have my own brand Artemis. I want my brand to give a voice to women who are shy or unable to express themselves with words, like I struggled to do as a child. I want my clothes to reflect the personality of my customers.

My other dream jobs would be working for designers like Glenn Martens, Kiko Kostadinov and Jonathon Anderson; These designers make me fall in love with fashion all over again with every collection.

WWD: Do you have a job prospect? If yes, where?

BT: I am currently working as a freelance knitwear designer for a knitwear consultancy called Studium. I am also a freelance stylist assistant for independent stylists and magazines, currently W Magazine and Mastermind.

Pratt student Trung Tin Pham.

Pratt student Trung-Tin Pham.

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Pratt Institute

Name: Trung Tin Pham

Hometown: San Diego

Age: 21

WWD: Talk a little about your dissertation drafts and your concept:

Trung Tin Pham: This collection, titled Synonym, is a fictional world that I created based on fake IDs. [When non-white communities have] a legacy ID card, there is a photo in which someone looks similar, and due to microaggression and racism, the fake is accepted. Growing up as an Asian American, I have often experienced the random grouping of Asian boys as an archetype. Synonymous is my satirical response by casting 12 similar-looking models, all posing as “Trung-Tin”.

My designs incorporate elements found in various places throughout the collection, giving a sense of clones.

WWD: What is important to you as a young fashion designer? Where do you think the industry can improve?

TT.P.: I think representation is very important for the industry. Growing up Vietnamese-American, I’ve never seen people like me in any form of media, but I’ve never questioned it. As I left my city, I realized the importance of representation in all forms of art. The fashion industry needs to improve by humanizing people and work[ing] on diversity until it is reflected at all levels of the industry.

WWD: What is your dream job? Is there anything you would like to say to designers who have inspired you along the way?

TT.P.: My dream job is a knitting programmer working with Stoll or Shima machines. During my undergraduate studies, I fell in love with knitting after attending a Shima Seiki class. My collection was heavily based on complex programmed knitting, which I’m very proud of. I’ve always strived to incorporate technology into my craft.

WWD: Do you have a job prospect? If yes, where?

TT.P.: I don’t have a permanent job lined up, but I plan to move back to California from NYC to get closer to all the knitting programming jobs on the west coast.

RISD student Jackie Oh.

RISD student Jackie Oh.

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Rhode Island School of Design

Name: Jackie Oh

Hometown: Seattle

Age: 25

WWD: Talk a little bit about your dissertation drafts and your concept.

Jackie Oh: The overall aesthetic was inspired by music artists adorning themselves in diamond-encrusted gold Jesus pieces and oversized garments; as well as extravagant paintings of Christ, his followers and enemies from the past. Bordering kitsch, camp and cathartic, I mixed casual but over the top pieces with a more is more mentality.

WWD: What is important to you as a young fashion designer? Where do you think the industry can improve?

YO: I’ve never focused heavily on the garments alone – I originally studied FAV [film, animation, video] before he also took on clothing design. And even then I spent most of my time in the makeshift jewelry studio that I had set up between the sewing machines.

WWD: Do you have a job prospect? If yes, where?

YO: As soon as September arrives, I’ll be back in the classroom as a post-bacc student here in Seattle. Hopefully, in the next few years, I can get all my science qualifications done and then apply to dental school like crazy. In the meantime, I’m working on a second children’s book with my brother and spending some time in a couple of jewelry workshops in the area.

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