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Kering & Parsons reveal winners of Empowering Imagination
May '13
Kering and Parsons The New School for Design have announced the two winners of this year’s “Empowering Imagination” student design competition. Harim Jung has been selected for her women’s ready-to-wear designs, and Yunxiang Zhou has been chosen for her men’s ready-to-wear designs.

"In addition to being awarded an internship at one of Kering’s 19 luxury and sport & lifestyle brands, Jung and Zhou will also take part in a closed mentoring session with Style.com and will have their work showcased at the flagship Barneys New York on Madison Avenue, in the 8th Floor Co-op from May 28 – June 10. Their collections will also be on view as part of the Parsons Fashion Benefit taking place May 22.

The 14 Parsons BFA Fashion Design graduate finalists presented their thesis collections to a panel of fashion industry insiders, including Eco Age’s Livia Firth, Style.com’s Dirk Standen, Barney’s New York’s Dennis Freedman, Kering’s Laurent Claquin, Paper Magazine’s Mickey Boardman, and Parsons’ Simon Collins.

The panel selected the two winners based on quality and conceptual vision of their thesis collections, as well as their ability to communicate the idea behind the collection. As part of a special partnership this year, Style.com has been featuring the 14 finalists on their website since May 2.

“The fourteen student finalists for the Empowering Imagination competition exemplify the high level of talent and creativity that Parsons The New School for Design is so famous for. This year’s competition was particularly difficult to judge as each student exhibited a unique point-of-view and creativity, marks of true emerging talent. Harim and Yunxiang both possess a natural level of maturity and skill which we feel will benefit greatly from at an internship with one of our 19 luxury and sport & lifestyle brands,” said Laurent Claquin, Head of Kering Americas.

Harim Jung’s inspiration for her thesis collection was a school uniform from her hometown of Seoul, South Korea. Her collection, called Identity + Ethos, is focused on personal experience. "It was quite clear from the start that I didn't want my collection to just be a re-creation of a memory," Jung says.

"I wanted the collection to be something more imaginative and, personally, more fun to make. As a result, I ended up really enjoying the process of creating different methods of patternmaking as a conceptual "time machine" that took me back in time. However, since I didn't want to keep this experience to myself, and wanted to leave room for anyone who would have access to it as real garments, it was equally important to find the balance between accessibility and creativity."

Yunxiang Zhou was born in Tai'an, China and when she was five, her family moved to Israel. "After four years at Parsons, I have learned a lot about fashion that I was never aware of before. My biggest gain, I think, is my personal awareness of the issue of sustainability.

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