Each graduating senior in Apparel Design presented a wholly unique design perspective at this year's runway show.
Ready to Reshape Fashion
Given the pandemic, RISD’s newest Apparel Design graduates missed out on the opportunity to show their senior thesis collections in the department’s annual spring runway show. Instead, their work and the deep thinking behind it is summed up in the book Collection 2020, a stunning new print publication designed by alum and faculty member Cem Eskinazi MFA 17 GD featuring the studio photography of Max Luger (The Content Campus).
“The book pays tribute to the Class of 2020,” explains Department Head Lisa Z. Morgan, “and to the breadth of approaches, processes and methods that have driven these students.”
“These designers seek to implement and inspire change by committing to ethical and sustainable practices, gender inclusivity, body positivity and community.”
Featuring process images along with studio photography of students’ beautifully crafted garments, Collection 2020 provides a backstage view of a virtual fashion show featuring the work of an international and globally conscious group of emerging designers. It also includes each student’s personal manifesto about their thesis work.
“My concept is not only a reflection on the waste from the fashion industry but also on the general build-up of materials that live without a cycle,” Alla Alsahli 20 AP writes. Her wearable juice box dress makes a splashy statement about unsustainable packaging in our consumer culture.
Hannah Davis 20 AP, whose looks suggest a space-age punk rock club, also focuses on sustainability issues in her practice, making “clothing that is worth the environmental impact.”
And self-described maximalist Samantha Tate 20 AP explores the unsustainable pace of modern life in her work. “I am not here to make something that is easily digestible or familiar,” she writes. “I invite the viewer to take time to fully look at my work… to smell the flowers and get lost in the garden.”
A June article in Vogue highlighted the work of six of the 27 graduating seniors, providing a platform for them to speak directly to industry leaders.
British designer Isabelle Saxton 20 AP says that she strives for “a community to form around [her] work—a community that can stand out for sustainability while pioneering solutions that fight for the welfare of the planet.”
“The changes the industry needs to move forward reveal themselves when we, as individuals, ask why we are doing what we are doing.”
South Korean designer Andrew Kim 20 AP believes that “the changes the industry needs to move forward reveal themselves when we, as individuals, look to answer the drive behind why we are doing what we are doing the way we are doing it.”
“My mission in fashion is to tell my story and not allow others to do it for me,” Desiree Nicole Scarborough 20 AP tells Vogue. “The fashion industry has a long history of appropriating black culture…. Right now—more than not having our culture stolen and made palatable for others by showing it on non-Black bodies and selling it at exorbitant prices—we want to live.”
“My mission in fashion is to tell my story and not allow others to do it for me.”
Since the Class of 2020 had to leave campus abruptly in the middle of their final semester, they were forced to rely on the inventiveness, focus and confidence they had been building over the past three years.
“This group of designers seeks to implement and inspire change by committing to ethical and sustainable practices, gender inclusivity, body positivity and community,” notes Morgan. “And they believe that fashion has the power to bring about the changes they want to see.”
—Simone Solondz/photos by Max Luger (The Content Campus)
Explore thesis work by the Apparel Design Class of 2020 in this limited-edition sustainably produced publication.
September 2, 2020