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Religion, decolonization and identity inspire the runway looks at Parsons MFA

By Jackie Mallon


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Dan Lecca

The MFA Fashion Design and Society runway show from Parsons School of Design took place on September 13 as part of the scheduled New York Fashion Week calendar. 15 students presented their thesis collections in the first show since the director and founder of the program, Shelley Fox, stepped down from her post last December. Under new director, Lucia Cuba, the subjects explored within the students’ work were gender, culture and identity, race and decolonization, sustainability and the innovative possibilities of reusing existing materials.

Dan Lecca
The opening collection by WeiRan featured sculptural metal tailoring, gauzy hand knitting and molten silver accessories, including shoes which seemed to foam around the ankles, merging the aesthetic of armor with the delicacy of organza. Marlene Haase reengineered original fast fashion cotton items to propose a collection which reflects her values but also, through her process of caged construction and distressing techniques, examines the labor abuses behind some of our most popular closet staples: denim jeans, trench coats and jersey sweaters.
Dan Lecca

The pleasant rippling movement of Meng Ling Chung’s collection evoked her objective, as stated in her artistic statement, of celebrating the “meaningless little details which happen to everyone, which makes me feel a subtle sense of connection with others.” Pleated structures built gently in color and fanned out around the shoulders and knees or erupted playfully from tailored torsos.

Sarah Hawes, specializing in Corporate Sustainability and Social Responsibility, represented the reality of being dependent on our fellow humans, bonded together towards an uncertain future with her twinning blue collar exits. A marriage of Freud's and Nietzsche's philosophies, the Japanese religion called Nichiren-Shoshu, and lived experience contributed to the majestic finale by Asato Kitamura. In a palette of scarlet, purple and teal interspersed with ecru, he created decadent fabrications and human-like appendages which gave the illusion that models were accompanied by a presence or were carrying around on their backs the weight of faith, or lack thereof.

Dan Lecca
Class of 2022
Fashion Education
Graduate fashion