Student Hosts Fashion Panel on the African Diaspora

On May 2, our student Rikki Byrd held a fashion panel on campus titled, Identity, Innovation, Influence: Navigating New Narratives in African Diaspora Fashion. Rikki, along with two undergraduate students in Parsons’ design program, worked diligently to create a program that would foster constructive conversations surrounding the use of African textiles in design, the role of designers of African descent in the mainstream fashion industry, as well as the marketability of designs that are thumbed as “African-inspired” in the mainstream. The panel was moderated by Essence Magazine’s Entertainment Editor, Yolanda Sangweni, and included designers and founders of influential brands: Celia Smith, founder of needle+thraed; Dynasty and Soull Ogun founders and designers behind L’Echanteur; Reuben Reuel, founder and head designer of Demestiks New York; and Sophie Nzinga Sy, founder and head designer of Sophie Zinga.

In addition to the panel, Rikki also worked with two seniors in the the BFA program to organize a mini exhibit featuring items from each of the designers’ collections.

With the support of Parsons MA in Fashion Studies program, Sisters Art Salon, Parsons’ Scholars Program and the New School’s Afrofuturism Conference, the event was a major success.

Congratulations, Rikki!


View more images from the event on Rikki’s website

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