If fashion, like advertising, Hollywood, fast food, and athletics, is obsessed with youth, then Début on Mulberry Street in Manhattan was the place to be on Tuesday evening. While much of New York overran the seaport to try and get an earful of Drake (or was it Hanson?) at Paper’s free (and then canceled) concert, some of us stayed above Houston St. to get a glimpse of selected up-and-comers from Parsons New School of Design’s graduating class.
“We singled out 10 designers from the Parsons graduating class. We met with 40 seniors, saw their look sheets, and then chose 10,” says Début owner Lisa Weiss, who opened her NoHo shop to display only the newest, most undiscovered talent. “That was the inspiration for the store. A lot of stores like to watch a designer for a while, and see how they sell through. We’re not looking for a track record. We want to showcase new talent, help them get started and provide some help with the their overhead,” she says.
This year, Weiss noted that students were working with good quality fabrics, and were moving away from the lighter, spring materials. “Wool, cashmere, knitwear; those were some of the stronger collections we saw,” she says.
Some sartorial highlights from last night's event:
Nicole Mobasser, a Great Neck, NY native, was inspired “by evolution, by the transformation of ape to man.
“My collection focuses on those shapes, behavior, and how it changes,” she says.
Mobasser demonstrated how she’d capture the primitive shapes with the drop shoulder on one piece. “I love using knits and soft drapes.”
LA’s Kevin Joo Hwang based his collection on a combination of utilitarian and menswear, inspired by vintage photographs of fishermen in Southeast Asia.
He adapted operational fabrics, like nylon, to create a line that is wearable, elegant, yet masculine. “The color palette is classic menswear: navies, khakis and blacks,” he says.
Yujin Kwon hails from South Korea, and refused to tell me her age. “I’m 16!” she laughed. Her line was a colorful modern take on classic forms, like the trench seen here.
“I wanted the collection to be modern, but bring some fun and joy,” she says. Dyeing all her fabrics by hand, Kwon brings her personal flavor to each piece: “I always buy white fabric and then dye or paint it so I can show what I really want. It’s very time consuming, but I love it.”
Toronto’s Laura Siegel got into fashion design because she loved “the relationship of design to body to material.” She took last year off to travel the world, an experience that lent itself to her designs.
“The collection is inspired by the travelers and locals I met,” she says. “I wanted to experience them through my clothing.”
Siegel’s threads—she only uses natural fibers and dyes—exhibit her skills at embroidery, knitting, and beading, some hand-weaving, and even included garments constructed with the batik wax-dyeing technique.
Finally, I had a chance to chat with Haesu Kwon, another representative of Seoul. Labeling her collection “Space Queen,” Kwon focused on luxurious materials, like leather, fur and expensive yarn.
Presenting perhaps the most coherent collection of the lot, Kwon’s pieces included sleeveless sweaters, which mixed dyed yarn, and in another case cashmere, with nylon thread used for African costume.
“My mom’s friend is a knitting expert, honored by the Korean government,” says Kwon. “She taught me how to make knitwear with grid patterns.”