The Rhode Island School of Design will be giving 10 recent graduates a real New York moment this fall.
For the first time, the school will show off its talent during New York Fashion Week on Sept. 14 at Skylight Clarkson Sq. Tommy Hilfiger is helping to make the whole event possible through a grant.
This won’t be the first time the designer has given RISD students a helping hand. A few years ago, he participated in the school’s seniors critiques, and in 2015 provided his downtown offices for them. One of Hilfiger’s daughters, Elizabeth, is a RISD alum and aspiring designer but she is not on RISD’s roster this fall.
Robert Geller and Nicole Miller also know their way around the school’s Providence campus, having both earned their degrees from RISD. The New Yorker will host this fall’s show. An established group of guest critics helped to size up the talent for the upcoming show — The Row’s head of design Francesco Fucci, Henry Zankov of Diane von Furstenberg, Artsthread’s founder Alex Brownless, artist Dean Sidaway and designer Mariana Vidal Escabl. The school also lined up a selection committee for the New York show for extra input. That group was made up of Vogue Japan contributor Tomomi McMaster, Parsons MFA Fashion Design director Shelley Fox, textiles designer Daniel Reynolds and designer Kate Wallace.
While it is not expected that each one will attend, first-time runway designers will still have several industry insiders to connect with. Presumably, the people in the Clarkson Sq crowd won’t be the only ones critiquing what they see.
The New York show will also be a meet-and-greet for RISD president Rosanne Somerson, who was officially named in that post in February after serving as interim president for 14 months. Somerson, a woodworker and furniture designer, is the first alumna to head up the school.