There was a host of big winners at Parsons’ blowout gala in New York on Monday night. Headliner Solange was honored as a pioneering creative force; Gucci president and CEO Marco Bizzarri and Farfetch founder José Neves both took home accolades (and offered up scholarship programs for the school); promising graduates Claudia Poh and Amy Yu Chen, Gal Yakobovitch, Sydney Loew, and William Stautberg were given awards for Social Innovation, Fashion and Technology, Future Textiles, and Creative Systems, respectively; and, of course, there was Parsons, who raised $2.26 million in scholarship funding. But no one’s prize was quite like that of Shanel Campbell, a recent Parsons MFA grad and current Parsons faculty member who, after being handpicked by Solange, dressed the star for the event.
“It was insane!” said Campbell between dinner courses. “A lot of people pull my pieces, but for me, Solange is the person. She’s the person who formed my artistry, who pushed me to be a Black woman who’s not afraid to be weird, not afraid to be creative and artistic. It’s like, if you met your idol. That’s what just happened to me.”
The emerging designer, who is hoping to stage her first solo runway show in September, caught Solange’s eye with her graduate collection, which, as Campbell told it, “was about my dad and how he did construction to put himself through law school. So it was a combination of suiting and industrial materials.” More significantly, the outing, she explained, touched upon “Black women and the Black experience and strong women. That’s why I used industrial materials.”