For the fifth year in a row, Kering and Parsons School of Fashion are teaming up for the “Empowering Imagination” design competition. The competition involves 12 2016 graduates of the Parsons BFA Fashion design program who were selected for their vision, design and technical competencies.

On May 17, the finalists will be invited to present their thesis 3-D collection and portfolio in the areas of women’s wear, men’s wear and accessories to a panel of fashion judges including Joseph Altuzurra; Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA; Massimiliano di Battista, Management Artists president and fashion talent agent; Nicole Phelps of Vogue Runway; Roopal Patel, senior vice president, fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue; Burak Cakmak, Parsons’ Dean of Fashion, and Laurent Claquin, head of Kering America. The jury will access the work and select two winners, who will be revealed at the 68th annual Parsons Benefit, which will be held at Pier 60 on May 23.

The winning designers’ thesis collections will be exclusively featured in the Saks flagship’s windows from May 27 to June 10. The winners will have the opportunity to spend two weeks at Kering facilities in Italy, where they will visit Kering Materials Innovation Lab, which houses more than 2,000 sustainable fabric options available to be used by all Kering brands, and other brand locations in Milan, Vicenza and Florence.

“Since its creation, the ‘Empowering Imagination’ competition has rewarded eight talented young designers. Each one has progressed along their own path. Our five-year collaboration with Parsons School of Fashion reflects Kering’s core values and priority toward young talent. I am happy to offer once again to the winners the opportunity to learn about and connect with or brands in Europe,” said Kering’s Claquin.

Each of the finalist’s profiles and work will be displayed on until May 22.

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