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  • Swarovski: Celebrating Inclusive Beauty

  • Students in Parsons Paris’ BFA Fashion Design and BBA Strategic Design and Management programs teamed up with Swarovski to create Let Her Shine, an exhibition that challenged traditional beauty standards while celebrating inclusivity through sustainable fashion.

    Fashion Design (BFA), Strategic Design and Management (BBA)

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    In their first creative collaboration, Parsons Paris and Swarovski launched a cross-disciplinary initiative reflecting the shared socially progressive and sustainability-minded values of the Swarovski Foundation and The New School, the university home of Parsons Paris. The project brought together conscious design and the empowerment of women, particularly those of diverse heritage. It also united students in Parsons Paris’ BFA Fashion Design and BBA Strategic Design and Management programs in an educational collaboration beginning with a critical inquiry into the standards of female beauty perpetuated by the fashion industry and media and their effects on women of different ethnicities and cultures. 

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    Students took two parallel paths of critical reflection and action according to their areas of study: Second-year Fashion Design students created garments incorporating high-quality leftover Swarovski crystals, thereby diverting valuable resources from the waste stream. In the overarching concept for the fashions, discarded crystals became a metaphor for the societal rejection of non-normative body shapes. As part of their work, the student designers investigated the embodiment of aesthetic norms and beauty criteria in relation to morphological diversity. By challenging the arbitrary standards imposed on people whose physical features do not necessarily fit fashion size charts and indexes, they critiqued archetypal Western beauty ideals. In essence, their creative engagement sought to mediate the complex relationship between a garment’s construction and human diversity. 

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    At the same time, second-year students in the BBA Strategic Design and Management program worked directly with a curator and an architect to imagine concepts for Let Her Shine, an exhibition of the looks created by the BFA Fashion Design students. (Visit the Parsons Paris blogpost to see more of the students’ fashions.) BBA students were challenged to develop concepts enabling the designers, who represented 12 different nationalities, to both showcase their fashion creations and share their reflections on cultural notions of beauty ideals. The exhibition was presented at the inaugural Parsons Paris gala, held at the Place Vendôme, the first home of Parsons Paris, established in the 1920s. 

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