Solange Knowles in Salvatore Ferragamo.

The School of Fashion, one of the academic schools within The New School’s Parsons School of Design, and Saint Heron, the multidisciplinary creative agency and design studio founded by musician and visual artist Solange Knowles, have joined forces to launch “Here and Now,” an immersive visual festival designed to recognize the thesis and capstone work from the Class of 2020.

This is one part of the university’s larger response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has altered the way students are able to display their end of year projects to the public.

“Here and Now” will bring this experience online for the first time, offering the students the opportunity to share their creative visions on an international stage while they develop connections with industry leaders in fashion, art and culture. The festival will take place from June to August with programming that includes various mentorship opportunities, online discussions/lectures, special performances, films, screenings and design workshops. An interactive digital environment hosting the students’ work will be available to the public starting in early July at parsons.edu/hereandnow.

“The Class of 2020 is in a unique and unexpected position,” said Jason Kass, interim dean of fashion at Parsons School of Design. “We are excited to partner with Saint Heron on a shared vision for extraordinary access and meaningful insight into our students’ work. With ‘Here and Now’ we are providing our graduating students and the creative community a space for discovery and growth. Our graduates are unequivocally the future of fashion and textile design, fashion marketing and management. We are committed to creating opportunities to showcase their outcomes and successfully position them for the next chapter of their lives.”

The virtual environment, which will allow them a place to tell the story of their final projects in their own words, will feature Metonymy, a 3-D installation created in collaboration with world-renowned artist Jacolby Satterwhite, Saint Heron’s creative team, and more than 300 graduating students from the School of Fashion at Parsons.

According to a statement from Saint Heron, “The Saint Heron team is honored to partner with The School of Fashion to celebrate and uplift the dedicated work of the graduating class of 2020 by presenting, ‘Here and Now.’ We look forward to working with the students over the coming weeks and helping bring attention to their hard work and unique perspective. As the world confronts the challenges of our current global crisis, fashion and design communities must embrace new ways to pause, evolve and adapt. These challenges open up opportunities to expand growth in our creativity and innovation — two expressions at the core of Saint Heron as well as Parsons.”

“Here and Now” serves as the finale for and an extension of the eighth annual Parsons Festival, the school’s annual celebration of graduating students across the college’s five schools. The festival period, which generally lasts for three weeks in May, typically consists of in-person exhibitions, installations and activations that fill the university’s buildings and includes presentations across fine arts, media, technology, constructed environments, fashion and textiles. Parsons has taken the full event digital this year in an effort to continue this tradition and showcase the students’ creativity, flexibility, resilience and ability to adapt to the challenges of the moment.

Saint Heron, which was founded by Knowles in 2015, seeks to expand cultural, music, art and design conversations and communities. The agency works through multiple mediums to collect, preserve and uplift one’s stories, through creative collaborations.

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