Innovation starts with youth, that’s why it’s important to highlight up-and-coming designers who we predict will take over the fashion industry in due time. These young graduates are currently in the real world working and building their own brands in pursuit of their dreams. They aspire to be the best; their hunger for success is what makes them stand out. From different design aesthetics of heritage-inspired pieces to Avante-garde designs, these young design graduates are taking the fashion industry and flipping it upside down. These graduates had just showcased their works last season in May at Parsons to commemorate their graduation. They worked endlessly to perfect their pieces that were shown to a full audience rooting them on.
Designers like Ahmrii Johnson, Celeste Nicole Hasering, and Chiedza Kaseke are two skilled multi-hyphenates who look to their heritage, race, and life backgrounds within their creative processes. Kelsi Smith and Sherleen Motan are Avant-garde designers who are fearlessly pushing boundaries. Each of these graduates are encouraging us to look to the youth to learn about creativity and artistry. Look through what these designers can do with their unique perspectives and talents below.
Celeste Nicole Hasering’s works explore girlhood and the “American dream” from the Black lens hence her latest collection being titled the previously stated phrase that we all grow up hearing constantly. She does a deep dive into the intersections of sexuality, gender, and race all in the age of the early aughts as the digital age starts to creep in. Her clothing is full of vibrant colors, hypnotic prints, and classic yet elevated silhouettes.
Ahmrii Johnson’s latest collection is entitled “Homegrown,” and is an ode to Indigenous wisdom. She explores the natural world and the spiritual connections from it to us by blending traditional motifs in her work with contemporary silhouettes. Her pieces are full of warmth, affectionate colors, and patterns that are reflective to wisdom.
Chiedza Kaseke’s work is full of South African-inspired pieces as that is her homeland. She pulls from her ancestors and culture in the design process to create pieces that are fitting for South Africa’s future which is a nod toAfrofuturism. Kaseke is able to take cultural motifs and rebuild them to connect broken or weak connections to re-embrace these traditions for the sake of the future where people are able to “embody their roots while moving forward into an optimistic era,” as the designer says on her site. These Avante-garde dramatic and colorful pieces belong on the runway.
Kelisi Smith is a fashion designer and “imagineer” who is using his degree in a revolutionary way by launching a company called FI studios. They mainly focus on using AI to best equip innovative pieces. Instead of fearing AI, they embrace it by fusing tradition and tech into one. The company’s core philosophy is “rooted in the idea that the next evolution of mankind may come from our creations.” Smith is all about pushing boundaries; his design company is proof.
Avante-garde designer Sherleen Motan uses her multidisciplinary art background to inform her clothes-making process. She explores material and illustration and merges the two to create pieces that are unimaginably beautiful. Her pieces range from dramatic knits, leathers, and some pieces include lots of frills and draping. Motan’s ability to forge art into her pieces is commendable –this design cue is what allows her to shake up and innovate the fashion industry.