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Ready to Reshape Fashion

A new publication captures the brilliant work and inclusive ethos of RISD’s Apparel Design class of 2020.

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.

“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.”

ethereal, romantic dresses by Vanessa Chiriboga 20 AP
“These designers seek to implement and inspire change by committing to ethical and sustainable practices, gender inclusivity, body positivity and community.”apparel design department head lisa z. morgan

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.

Sketches like these by Violet Zhou 20 AP offer a glimpse of the designers’ creative processes.
Alla Alsahli 20 AP presents a juice box dress that playfully addresses unsustainable packaging.

“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.

Work by Hannah Davis 20 AP is rife with edgy details.

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.

bold, urban attitude from Isabelle Saxton 20 AP

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.”andrew kim 20 ap

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.”

Isabelle Xing 20 AP always puts the wearer first in her work.

“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.” desiree nicole scarborough 20 ap
"Being Black is tiring,” writes Desiree Nicole Scarborough 20 AP in a manifesto about her collection. “It is dangerous. It is fantastic."

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

Explore thesis work by the Apparel Design Class of 2020 in this limited-edition sustainably produced publication.

Singular Style at Collection 19

Each graduating senior in Apparel Design presented a wholly unique design perspective at this year's runway show.

Stepping into the Limelight

Fanciful and well-crafted looks by Apparel Design seniors wowed the crowd at the runway show known as Collection 18.

Collection 17 Celebrates the Body

Seniors in Apparel Design showed their flamboyant, beautifully crafted collections at a much-anticipated runway show.