EVERYBODY’S A CRITIC: Many Rhode Island School of Design seniors are already on the hunt for full-time jobs, but more enterprising ones might zero in on this year’s guest critics.
The soon-to-be Apparel Design graduates have already shown their respective collections a few times to the quartet who will be front and center at the school’s May 7 runway show on the Providence, R.I., campus.
As founder of artsthread.com, a launching pad for creatives taking the leap from education to industry, Alex Brownless has certainly jump-started a number of careers. One of his fellow judges, The Row’s head designer Francesco Fucci, also knows firsthand what it takes to succeed in the fashion industry, as does Diane von Furstenberg’s senior knitwear designer Henry Zankov.
New York-based Pratt professor and designer Dean Sidaway is doubling up this graduation season, pitching in as a guest critic at RISD and continuing to teach at Pratt. Before RISD’s seniors stage “Collection 16” at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on May 7, Sidaway will be front row at Pratt’s May 5 show. He also just folded a pop-up exhibition at 99¢ Plus, a storefront gallery, studio and store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sidaway, whose art accessories are often used by stylists such as Sebastian Kaufmann and Sarah Richardson, is cooking up a new project for Hotel Particulier. By chance, that collaboration is being done with another RISD guest critic, Mariana Vidal-Escabi. In addition to consulting with such designers as Phillip Lim, Maria Cornejo and Diane von Furstenberg, the Brooklyn-based Vidal-Escabi is also founder of awindow, a creative studio and traveling design concept gallery. Vidal-Escabi said she is also crafting a spring project for the West 29th Street boutique Project No. 8.
RISD’s new Apparel Design Department head Neil Gilks (who most recently worked at the CFDA) is adapting the format for this year’s show. For the first time, Collection 2016 will solely feature the work of the department’s 19 seniors, instead of juniors and sophomores as in the past. In addition, Gilks is bringing the runway back to campus to the college’s historic library. Founded in 1878, RISD’s Fleet Library is one of the oldest independent art college libraries in the country. The location has proven to be a draw, considering both shows have already sold out.