This past fall semester I had the pleasure of taking the studio elective Fashion and the Narrative. This class explored story telling within fashion and gave us students the opportunity to execute our own narratives. Who better to teach this class than Vilislava Petrova (our simply Vili), our professor for the class who also just so happens to be the senior manager of Trend and Color at Converse. What is that exactly? Basically one of the coolest jobs ever, I’ll let Vili explain!
Name: Vilislava Petrova
Classes You Teach: NYC Trend Spotting and Fashion and the Narrative.
How long you’ve taught at Parsons: Since 2010.
Favorite Artist or Designer Right Now: I recently saw a performance/video piece by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson called the The Visitors. The piece is visually stunning and also very personal and emotional. It touched something quite deep within. me. As far as fashion goes, I truly admire the work of Nicolas Ghesquière for Balenciaga.
Lauren Davis: Hi Vili! Explain a little bit to our readers what your job is over at Converse.
Vilislava Petrova: As head of trend and color research at Converse, I study, analyze and visualize current and upcoming consumer and product trends that I believe will affect the consumer’s future product preferences. I then communicate this information to a team of designers, merchandisers and marketers and help them translate the information into actual designs. I also create the company’s global color palette and direct how it should be applied – how colors need to be combined and executed in order to achieve innovative and unique product.
LD: What would you say are some of the best aspects of your job as a professor at Parsons and apart of the trend and color team at Converse?
VP: There are quite a few great aspects of my current jobs both at Converse and Parsons. Definitely traveling and being exposed to different sources of information and inspiration are great perks. Also, having the process of constant research and observation be such an integral part of my job experience is a great bonus.
LD: What do you enjoy most about teaching?
VP: Interacting with the students and introducing new ideas and concepts into their work, inspiring them to do better at whatever they are passionate about and feeling like I can make a difference in someone’s work life. I have always liked to motivate people to be more open and true to themselves and their work. I believe that all of us need to share what we are good at; teaching for me feels like my contribution.
LD: What advice do you have for students wanting to get into your field?
VP: To re-develop that quality we all possessed as children – the quality of being curious and observant. Being observant and analytical of your own inspiration in order to inspire others is a key element of this work