At Parsons, Yunxiang Zhou developed an awareness of sustainable fashion. Her thesis collection celebrates both pride in one’s labor and utilitarian clothing as a means of promoting sustainability and challenging social values.
For Yunxiang Zhou, menswear has always been synonymous with sustainability and functionality. She cites the example of vintage Levi’s, whose practical details are part of their style, as is the sturdy, long-lasting fabric from which they are made. In her thesis collection, Manifesto, Zhou took functionality and durability as her starting point, basing her designs—a series of aprons made from long-wearing materials—on workers’ garments and tools.
Zhou considers work—and mastering a craft—a person’s greatest source of pride, and after being named Parsons’ Menswear Designer of the Year and winning Kering’s Empowering Imagination student design competition, she has a lot to be proud of.Now interning in Italy at the venerable menswear firm Brioni after stints at Calvin Klein and J. C. Penney Company, Inc., Zhou still considers her peers and professors at Parsons her greatest inspiration. “Being surrounded by such talent was always humbling,” she explains. “The more I learned, the more I recognized how much I had to learn.”