Parsons The New School for Design has a roster of famed students (some of whom didn't quite make it to graduation): Alexander Wang (who actually dropped out before graduation), Proenza Schouler, Jason Wu, Tom Ford, Peter Som, Marc Jacobs and the list goes on. Well, as of last year, the celebrated NYC school has offered a new program, the Master of Fine Arts in Fashion Design and Society, that has drawn enormous interest from the industry. In fact, according to Style.com, Céline, Nike, and Givenchy are already courting members of the class of 2013. Earlier this month, the graduating class (which consists of just 16 students) showed their collections and we caught up with them to talk about their brands, the business of fashion and what they are obsessed with right now ...
Focusing heavily on deconstruction for her final collection, Jae Woo Lee showed visible seams, torn sleeves and thick stitching. She presented a wide use of color (especially in comparison to many of her peers) and incorporated geometric cuts and minimalist/geometric prints into her wares. A standpoint piece: the blood orange frock that fell just below the knee (below right). That piece could likely hit stores today and sell!
1. How old are you and where are you from?
I am 30 years old from Seoul, South Korea.
2. You just showed your MFA collection. Tell me a bit about you and your design process in general.
The idea come from my previous work, fabric manipulation technique; ripping double-faced wool fabrics. There were many extra tiny threads in the space between the right side and the wrong side fabric to hold and connect two sides of fabrics. I made many small fabric samples to exaggerate the tiny threads and transformed bigger hand stitch lines with colorful and bold thread. After creating some collages with fabric samples to find the key of silhouettes in my collection, I found the deconstructed and naturally unfinished shape with tearing, stitch techniques with the rich of color combination. Both techniques appear like closed darts with embroidery, creating cuffs shape with cutting fabric and thread stitching technique, creating Ham line with ripping technique and three dimensionally Hanging skirts with Navy Knot string, In general, I explore unconventional techniques, unexpected colors, unique details to challenge conventional ideas of beauty and taste.
3. Do you feel like you're becoming a brand? How are you different from other young designers/design brands?
Maybe someday. I would like to be the fashion designer who has the artistic visionary with unconventional techniques to create modern ideas of beauty and taste.
4. What have you learned so far about the business of fashion?
Money is power, creativity is vision. Money is present, creativity is future. I have worked as a fabric designer and fashion merchandiser for 3 years in the Korea fashion industry. It was very commercial, I could not find any kind of vision. That’s why I moved to New York to participate in the Fashion Design and Society MFA program. I believe that my education in the Master’s course has prepared me for an experience with the process of creativity. Based on my personal identity, connecting the dots of my past, present, and future, trying to find “Who are you,” it was all about personal story, my curiosity, interest, emotion, thought, taste, and beauty. Doing several projects during the past two years, I naturally learned about how to develop my work step-by-step and have established my own process of working for creativity.
5. What is your dream job?
My final dream job is to be a creative director. But, I would like to learn more about the industrial fashion system in New York as an assistant designer first.
6. What fashion designers do you admire/look up to?
Nicolas Ghesquière, Raf Simon, Miuccia Prada and Phoebe Philo.
I think they are the most powerful designers to push fashion in new directions. In every season, their collections are very strong, dynamic, and focused to represent modern, chic and fashion-forward. I always have a emotional commitment with their own strong vision and voice.
7. What are you obsessed with right now?
It was two years quite long journey and the show just finished. I feel quite focused on the new start of my life. Be confident! Keep working!