May is graduation month, which means there are plenty of fledgling fashion designers ready to depart the sewing room and venture into the big, crazy world of clothes.
Thomas Finney, a 2010 graduate of the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) is one of those designers.
With summer internships at Thom Browne and Ruffian behind him, the 21-year-old is ready to pack up his things and move permanently to New York City. He'll bring with him the Golden Scissors, an annual award given to SCAD's top graduating designer.
We'll be tracking Finney's moves over the next year or so as he transitions from student to full-blown professional. Here's Episode I of our Q&A series:
Fashionista: First off, congrats! Tell us about your graduate collection--It was six looks, right? Thomas Finney: Thanks! Yes, it's six looks. And I'd say that it was inspired by Italian bicyclers going on a picnic. It's a humorous take on traditional menswear. So, you're planning on moving to New York, right? When will that be, and what will you do there? Probably at the beginning of June. I've got a couple interviews lined up--some are for internships, but I'm really looking for a permanent position. And some other opportunities have been opening up.
Like starting your own line? Yeah, there's definitely been outside interest in a line. But I think I would like to work for somebody for a while. I'm still in the very early stages of my career, and I think a smaller, established company is where I'll fit in best right now.
Are you nervous? Are your fellow students scared? It's not like the economy has improved much over the last year. There are some nerves. But we're barely out of school. Things are on an upswing, and [companies] are starting to look for 20-somethings for new ideas. Generation Y is such a big market. We can relate to people our age--we know what our peers want. You didn't start out as a fashion design major. How'd you fall into it? I was going to be a film major, and my friend suggested that I take a fashion class my first quarter--just to learn how to sew. A professor ended up asking me to design something for the SCAD senior show that year. So I decided to become a fashion major. Any chance you'll forget about joining the workforce and scamper off to grad school? Definitely not. I'm ready to start working.
** All Photos by Victoria Gildersleeve.