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The Impact of Graduate Fashion Shows during NYFW

April marks the start of graduate fashion shows, with designers from prestigious schools located in fashion capitals such as New York and London. Regional school leaders then wondered if their students were at a disadvantage compared to city-based creatives. This led them to organize their own shows, showcasing graduate students, which take place in September during New York Fashion Week. However, the initiative requires a significant contribution from industry players.

The cost and effort of a graduate parade at NYFW

From 2022, Ann Mariko Walter, Director of NYC Fashion at Kent State University, plays an integral role in organizing the KSU fashion show during NYFW. The participation of the institution based in Ohio last September included coordination with several regional and international structures. Kent State University partnered with IFA Paris fashion school to present the work of 20 graduate designers across 40 looks at Lightbox NYC, along with other partners: the New York Film Academy and the Garment District Alliance. USK is the only public school outside of NYC to host a fashion show at New York Fashion Week.

“For us it was scary but we loved the idea and we just didn’t have the infrastructure and the human resources in New York to make it happen,” Walter told FashionUnited. “We really wanted a presence, visibility, in New York, the fashion capital of the United States and where the other top schools are. »

USK previously partnered with IFA for their first NYFW show in 2022, a smaller event that was very successful. The Paris-based program, led by Jean-Baptiste Andreani, had similar goals to USK but different resources, according to Walter. “We have the New York presence, the relationships, the experience, and they had a great network and a global brand reputation that they were looking to continue to build,” she said. “Last year’s collaboration was much stronger than any of us could have accomplished on our own.” For the school’s second NYFW event, Walter expanded his network by reaching out to the New York Film Academy, which had previously partnered. with USK students on photography and media projects over the years.

Walter also collaborated with the Apparel Area Alliance, becoming a member of the Business Development Collaborative, which aims to strengthen and preserve the area’s manufacturing and apparel industry and build community. USK’s New York campus has been located in Manhattan’s historic fashion district since its establishment 15 years ago. Walter takes advantage of the group’s expertise to identify locations and update programs and as a result, USK hires vendors and uses the resources of the Garment District Alliance to organize the parade. Outside of class hours, Walter makes the school spaces available to small fashion and media companies to organize networking events, photo shoots, pop-up fairs and meetings during the fashion weeks. “The collaboration was natural, organic, but also a great way to engage students in hands-on, experiential learning, which is at the heart of what we do.” That’s why the NYFW show is so important to us. »

Do schools benefit more than students from the NYFW fashion show?

Simon Ungless was the executive director of fashion at the San Francisco Academy of Fine Arts until May 2022, a program he launched 25 years earlier. Academy of Fine Arts graduates were regular attendees at NYFW until the pandemic. “I think we had our first show in 2004, off the record, and then we moved into the record, appearing in Bryant Park and Lincoln Center. » The last NYFW show was held in 2019. At the same time, Ungless had begun to question the motives behind the project. “To be completely honest with you, I didn’t want to do it again. When we started, it was for designers, throwing them into this area, and I think it worked for a few years,” he said. “But then the school’s marketing team and management realized that this represented an incredible recruitment opportunity. Why march just so the school gets more students, more funding, more media attention? »

The fashion industry has also changed in the fifteen years that Ungless has been bringing his graduates to NYFW and for him, it was time to consider other ways of giving them opportunities that are less dependent on him what he does Fashion Week Shows. There are fewer positions at fashion houses that emphasize runway experience today, but many schools still push designers in this direction. “However, there is often nothing in the end,” Ungless said.

The Fashion Future Graduate Showcase, organized by the CFDA, is an event held in conjunction with London Graduate Week, which featured eight national schools in its three years of existence from 2019 to 2021. With the this project, the CFDA provided a platform for the best students. to invite New York by presenting their clothes and portfolios on a stand. Industry players could visit and chat with the designers, but also review not only their collections but also their portfolios and sketches. The event encouraged connections between graduates and potential employers. Each year, it brought together between 50 and 60 graduates and was attended by nearly 600 recruitment professionals, editors and influencers. In 2021, the campaign went completely digital on CFDA Runway 360, uniting alumni profiles with members and new industry talent. According to the CFDA website, the program has allowed graduates to join leading brands such as Nike, Proenza Schouler, Pyer Moss, Reebok, Telfar and Tory Burch.

AI and Future Graduate Fashion

FashionUnited reached out to Kozlowski, Vice President of Program Strategies, Education Initiatives & Sustainability at CFDA, to ask his thoughts on the importance of the NYFW graduate show for students hoping to pursue careers in New York or internationally. “I think that the presentation of the final research work (whether it is a collection designed for the traditional fashion show or the results of a thesis like those done by some designers) is essential, but very today there are “Now there are many forms. and different places,” she said. She confirms that graduate gatherings coinciding with NYFW in September can attract business audiences. However, schools that open their doors to business players can offer immersive tours interesting to offer by showing studios and giving access to student records. “I think the most important thing is not the large production of events like this, but the opportunity for graduates to present their work as final milestone of their course,” she said.

Since Ungless left the Academy of Fine Arts in May 2022, AI has dominated the education landscape. For Kozlowski, this represents new opportunities for graduates to realize their career goals, whether or not their work is selected to represent their schools at NYFW. “As we enter the frontier of the AI/digital 2.0 revolution, there are so many opportunities to recode graduate talent platforms: it’s exciting to visit a thesis studio and see students developing their creative identity, while exploring and discovering physical and digital expressions, with portfolios of work that include clothing as well as digital films and interactive technology.

Therefore, the question of whether regional schools should send the work of their best graduates to New York for an expensive look on the catwalk of fashion week may not disappear. According to Kozlowski, “The fact that these creative people are now able to encode augmented reality, create their own 3D objects, and understand the environmental and social impacts of the materials and processes they use practice, very surprising. It will be exciting to see how AI can augment their work in the future. »

2024-04-16 18:17:30
#fashion #schools #hold #graduate #shows #York #Fashion #Week

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