With so many options for Fashion's Night Out, it's hard to choose where to go. But HuffPost Style will be setting up shop at the Ports 1961 boutique in the Meatpacking District, where designs from Parsons' first graduating MFA in Fashion Design and Society class will be on display alongside pieces from The Hetrick-Martin Institute's most fashion-savvy youth.
New York-based HMI is the oldest and largest LGBTQ organization that fosters creativity and young talent in a safe environment, and Parsons' students hail from Japan, Taiwan, Australia and beyond, so it's no surprise that all their designs are exciting, surprising and very diverse. Take a peek at our gallery below to learn a little about each of the designers and hear what they each had to say about their collections, inspirations and more.
Then, if you're in New York for Fashion's Night Out on Thursday, September 6th, please come say hi at Ports 1961's store (3 Ninth Avenue at Gansevoort Street) between 7-10pm!
Sinead Lawlor, 28, Dublin, Ireland (Parsons)
<strong>When did you first become interested in fashion? </strong>I became interested in fashion at an early age. My grandmother was always sewing, making or repairing clothes. Whenever she would buy a new skirt or pair of trousers she would always make sure to replace the pockets with long deep pockets in order to make any potential pickpockets job a little bit more difficult. My mother also was a keen knitter and used to sell her knitwear. I also had a big interest in art and fashion in high school, taking part in futuristic fashion competitions and winning art awards. <strong>What inspired the design that you're displaying on FNO?</strong> I was originally inspired by African tribes and traditions. I began researching different African tribes and their rituals. From the bright colors and prints they used, pictures of how they did their hair to how they tied their clothes, I found it all extremely inspiring. Inspired by the range of yarns that Zegna Baruffa produces, such as Sable, Cashwool and Mousse, I developed a collection that focused on stripes, jacquard and fringe to build up texture. Inspired by the use of strong colors in African tribal prints and jewelry, I produced a collection of unusual knitted fabrics. <strong>What inspires you in general?</strong> People, color, culture, music, my surroundings, street style, subcultures, museums, exhibitions... Really anything I find visually pleasing or even unpleasing. Anything that makes me think. <strong>How would you describe your personal style?</strong> Colorful, eclectic, bright, with a street edge. I don't really have an exact style, it could change from granny chic to '80s street from day to day. I've always loved layers though and big chunky jewelry. <strong>Whose style do you love?</strong> Róisín Murphy, Daphne Guinness, M.I.A, Tilda Swinton, Aaliyah and TLC back in the '90s. <strong>What are your long-term career aspirations?</strong> I would love to keeping working on my own collections. I am constantly interested in collaborating, working with fellow creative people and developing new ideas. I also would love to work with a great design team, one where we are all excited about the product and can all have a valued input. Photo Credit: Elle Laycock
Kaoru Oshima, 32, Tokyo, Japan (Parsons)
<strong>What inspired the design that I'm displaying?</strong> I was inspired by Trisha Brown's "Walking on Side Walls," and started exploring the silhouettes of a trench coat put on forms sideways. The images were breathtaking, and I became obsessed with the idea of expressing beauty against gravity. My work is the ultimate outcome of my exploration with materials, different weights of fabric, knitting techniques, and garment silhouettes. <strong>What inspires me in general? </strong>Very small surprises inspire me--when I see different perspectives of ordinary objects in performance art, paintings and sculptures. <strong>How would I describe my personal style? </strong>I'm a fashion collector and collect what I feel attached to. <strong>When did you first become interested in fashion? </strong>I wasn't interested in fashion--making fashion for me is creating three-dimensional collages.
Noriko Kikuchi (Parsons)
<strong>When did you first become interested in fashion?</strong> At 16 years old, when I was an exchange student in Minnesota for a year and had too much free time, and no language skills, so I started to draw figures and my host mom turned one of my designs into my prom dress with leftover fabric from her wedding dress. <strong>What inspired the design that you're displaying on FNO?</strong> My work incorporates techniques such as hand knitting, darning and embroidery. I experimented with mixing multiple ends of different yarns in various textures and colors, by both hand knitting and machine knitting, including aspects of felting. The melting and merging together of the yarns helped to create a softer color tone, almost like oil painting, as well as a soft hand feel. I used exaggerated chunky honeycomb cables mixed with fine gauge lacey machine knitting to give depth in terms of textures, and incorporated mesh knitting to add airy effects to the garments. <strong>What inspires you in general?</strong> I think what drives me to create is the philosophy behind things. I'm constantly looking for the value and meaning in everyday life, and have realized without the message behind my creations, I'm not actually so much interested in the garments itself anymore. I take inspiration from everything around me, while favoring non-fashion topics. An article, book, art exhibition, and philosophy are my resources for creative input. <strong>How would you describe your personal style?</strong> Laid-back, colorful, fun and easy. I love Vince, Rag & Bone, and Loeffler Randall <strong>Whose style do you love?</strong> Yohji Yamamoto, Martin Margiela, although as artists through their fashion What are your long-term career aspirations? To continue to create and inspire in any form I can. Photo Credit: Elle Laycock
Paula Cheng, 26, Taipei, Taiwan (Parsons)
<strong>When did you first become interested in fashion?</strong> I have always been interested in fashion since a very young age. I've wanted to become a fashion designer since I was 8 years old. It has been a very long journey in pursuing fashion from then to now. <strong>What inspired the design that you're displaying on FNO?</strong> The design is inspired by my own fascination with knitwear. Unlike woven design where it consists of mostly pattern making, knitwear to me is an organic process where the knitting is constantly "growing" as the needles intertwine with one another. I used the process of plying and mixing fibers, metallic hues and feather-like textures, and pulling loops into loops to form fabric and ultimately form structure. <strong>What inspires you in general?</strong> This is very difficult to say... it could be really anything from what I see, do and experience from day to day. I usually find something that I am fascinated with, that I want to explore and I would experiment with it until I have come to a realization of what my inspiration would be. <strong>How would you describe your personal style? Whose style do you love?</strong> My personal style and the styles I love are constantly evolving. It all depends on what my new obsession is, where I am traveling to and what projects I am doing next. <strong>What are your long-term career aspirations</strong>? I am a very curious person by nature and I always love the challenge in all aspects of design. I really do love to create and explore the wearing experience of garments and accessories, and I hope that this inexplicable urge to grow as a designer and polish my vision will always be a part of my life.
Soojin Kang, 30, Seoul, South Korea (Parsons)
<strong>What are you currently up to? </strong>I am working on a 2013 fall and winter knitwear collection for a private label. We just finished our first samples and now are in the process of reviewing final samples for the showroom. I am also working as a freelancer knitwear designer for Calvin Klein Jeans on their 2013 fall and winter collection. I am also looking forward to showing my MFA graduation collection in New York Fashion Week in September 2012. <strong>What inspired the design that you're displaying on FNO?</strong> I interpreted the theme of shadow and light by mixing a lot of different materials of yarns in a similar shade and giving them a pop accent color for bright effect. My interpretation of light and shadow is mainly from the idea of the nightscape of New York City: headlights of the cars, neon lights from advertisements. A mix of grey, black and deep blue hues were used as the main color palette with a spectrum of bright orange and silver luminex as a hint of the city light. <strong>What inspires you in general?</strong> Madeleine Vionnet (her amazing draping), Antonio Gaudi, Richard Avedon <strong>What are your long-term career aspirations?</strong> I want to have a diversity of experiences by collaborating with other artists and designers for a couple more years, and I want to focus more on my private label after that. <strong>If you could have lived in another time period, which one and why?</strong> If I could choose another time period, I want to live in 1950s Paris. I think the 1950s was the most romantic time period in fashion. I want to meet Christian Dior, Balenciaga and Richard Avedon, and sip a cup of espresso at a café near the Seine.
Talia Shuvalov, 24, Sydney, Australia (Parsons)
<strong>When did you first become interested in fashion? </strong>I don't remember not being interested. <strong>What inspired the design that you're displaying on FNO?</strong> The collection was inspired by images of structural packaging in both two and three dimensions. I began to think about the way we store and travel with our clothing. The collection features knitted inlay panels that instruct the wearer how to fold the garment so that it is always uncreased when traveling. Technological advancements in the way we utilize and consume clothing have inspired the way in which I approach my own design process. This collection explores knitwear techniques that form horizontal joints in the fabric, which are reversible and allow for a structural silhouette. <strong>What inspires you in general?</strong> I spend hours on visual blogs and Tumblrs, where there are no words, just huge collections of pictures. There is no sense to the string of images except for a visual appreciation. My personal relationship to these images inspires me, the imaginary explanations that turn into stories. <strong>How would you describe your personal style?</strong> My style is excessive and minimal at the same time. I like polar opposites that coexist within a look. <strong>Whose style do you love?</strong> Hannah Lambert, she is Sarah Mower's assistant and has an awesome way of putting together the most unexpected items. Always an outfit that makes you think twice. <strong>What are your long-term career aspirations?</strong> To work with people I respect and hope they brush off on me. Photo Credit: Elle Laycock
Oreo Che Mugler (HMI)
Oreo Che Mugler is an HMI youth and a member of the HMI Kiki Ballroom House of Juicy Couture, which is a youth-led movement that encourages fun, safe sex, education and harm rejection. "Art and fashion are love and desire that come from the heart."
Jonovia Chase (HMI)
Jonovia Chase originally hails from Baltimore, MD and is an active member of New York City's Kiki Ballroom scene. Jonovia is inspired by designers like Alexander McQueen, Norma Kamali, and Victor Rolf. "I love movement, volume and shapes. I love making the unexpected come to life and putting the editorial into the real world."
RJ Frazer (HMI)
RJ Frazer is originally from St. Thomas, but quickly found himself at home in the Bronx. As an HMI youth, RJ is active in the Kiki Ballroom scene, competing in the fashion and runway categories. RJ began creating fashion because he couldn't find off-the-rack clothes that expressed his personality. "American menswear is so bland and boring. Fashion is supposed to be fun! I like to incorporate bold colors and feminine prints into the menswear I design."