The CFDA Fashion Future Graduate Showcase 2020, like almost every other
event on the graduate calendar this summer, has gone completely digital.
Typically its focus is a 2-day Manhattan event featuring a selection of the
nation’s strongest graduate collections on display with its creators
mingling among a swarm of industry guests.
But FFGS20 Digital Showcase gathers together more than 100 designers
from the Class of 2020 from fashion schools across the country on the CFDA
website, granting them exposure and recognizing their talent and resilience
at a time when the job landscape looks particularly bleak.
Selected based on a combination of their thesis portfolios and educator
recommendations, these future leaders from undergrad and post-grad programs
will be driving the conversation around climate action, social justice,
diversity and equitable fashion systems for years to come.
The 12 schools represented are: Academy of Art University, California
College of the Arts , College for Creative Studies, Fashion Institute of
Technology, Kent State University, Marist College, Otis College of Art and
Design, Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, Rhode Island School of
Design, Savannah College of Art Design, School of the Art Institute
The graduates also gain the opportunity to forge relationships with
Paris-based recruiter par excellence Floriane de Saint Pierre.
Past FFGS graduates have gone on to receive placements at leading brands
including Reebok, Proenza Schouler, Thom Browne, Ralph Lauren, and have
been featured editorially in Vogue, Vogue Italia, and
Spotlight on five grads from the Class of 2020 CFDA showcase
“Agency” is the word Jacob Olmedo, who gained notice for his 2017 thesis
collection of hydroponic textiles which resembled fresh grass sprouting
from calico, chooses to define his work. Continuing to work with new
biomaterials and natural fibers to create textiles that take form on and
off the body, the recent Parsons MFA grad says, “I hope that my generation
can work together to transform today into a tomorrow that is inclusive and
collaborative of all perspectives. A tomorrow that steps back from grand
production and looks towards the singular and hand-crafted objects that
stay with people forever.”
The experimental pattern cutting and technical creativity behind Academy
of Art University’s Kenneth Brody McCasland’s avant-garde, macabre
fantasies are inspired by subconscious images which bridge the elusive
moment between sleep and wakefulness. Corsetry boning creates the dramatic
skeleton of the garments, fusible horsehair adds support, and meticulous
pleating evokes delicacy.
Bingjin Zhu, inspired by her father, a wood craftsman who sculpted
traditional Chinese fictional characters which he used to tell her stories
when she was a child, wants to be a storyteller of her own using fabric. A
graduate of FIT’s MFA program she describes herself with the same quality
as the fabric she drapes and gathers and twists into such unexpected
SCAD MFA graduate Ming Yang calls herself an experimenter and believes,
“Fashion needs to be redefined as a strategy to solve problems.” Inspired
by the beauty but also the pressure which the fashion industry causes, she
dismantles and deconstructs old patterns to build new practical garment
Edna St Louis of Art Institute of Chicago rejects the old adage that
clothes should not wear the individual, instead reveling in their power to
transform the wearer into any persona. She hopes that sustainability can be
achieved by treating garments as precious works of art instead of
Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for
the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.
Images in corresponding order student work by Ming Yang, Jacob Olmedo,
Kenneth Brody McCasland, Bingjin Zhu, Edna St Louis.