In July, Parsons teamed up menswear tradeshow PROJECT New York for the inaugural “Next in Class” program, which afforded five of the school’s top graduates a chance to meet the buyers who help make the fashion industry tick. Here, the emerging talents selected by the Parsons faculty to participate share their experiences, hopes, and plans for the future. Stay tuned in the coming days to read the stories of his peers.
This past July, buyers browsing the PROJECT New York menswear tradeshow got quite a jolt when, amongst the faded jeans and rugged tees, they stumbled upon the “Next in Class” booth, which displayed five Parsons’ grads thesis collections. “I think our booth scared a lot of the buyers,” said Raymond Natale, a recent graduate. “But not in a bad way—it was good that they would come over and talk with us. That’s something that I still have to work through, because they don’t really teach you how to do that at Parsons.”
While he honed his craft at the prestigious fashion school, dealing with buyers was very different than creating in the classroom, which is why he felt so fortunate to participate in the inaugural edition of PROJECT New York and Parsons’ “Next in Class” program. “It’s hard to find a way to talk with the buyers about prices. But it’s great to tell them about the collection and get their feedback,” he explained. “Our crazy booth of student stuff was a bit out-there for some stores, but still really wearable garments. You’ve got to be just a little adventurous sometimes.”
For the Toronto native, the opportunity to meet with buyers in the industry was indicative of more than just New York’s support for students—it highlighted the strength of the city’s fashion community. “I think there are a lot of opportunities for young designers [in New York],” he said. “And now, with the CFDA doing this great new men’s week, and dedicating a day to emerging designers, it’s really inspiring to see that support. It pushes me a little bit harder.”