This year the looks from the 2013 Parsons Senior Fashion Show were absolutely amazing. And if you followed the show then there was no way you missed Isabel Simpson-Kirsch (S-K). Isabel’s print based collection was centered around the self-proclaimed “Basedgod” himself, Lil B. For those of you who do not know, Lil B is a rapper with his own “based” philosophies that center around positivity and acceptance of others. I couldn’t even begin to really articulately tell you what based means but I’m sure this article can.
Isabel’s collection wowed students, professors and even the Basedgod himself with countless press coverage including The Fader and Complex to name a few. After being amazed by her artfully executed thesis I reached out to Isabel to get a bit more insight on the collection and more specifically of all people why Lil B?
Lauren Davis: So Lil B was obviously the main focus for this collection, why him exactly?
Isabel S-K: Lil B is incredibly inspiring. To begin, he immediately gets respect, because he has hundreds and hundreds of mixtapes and music videos, the guy never stops working. In addition to that, the majority of his work is about promoting positivity. Which is something that is very rare today. His twitter feed, and book are full of inspirational words from the Based God himself. He has amazing thoughts about how people should treat each other and live their lives and its truly positive and inspiring.
LD: What were the reactions to the collection from teachers and faculty who probably had no clue who he was?
ISK: Well, I explained all about Lil B to my teachers, Max and Caroline and they really supported the concept. But I think everyone else was probably a little confused at first. I didn’t expect anyone to understand what I was doing at all though. When I started this project, in my head I was like, “this is ridiculous.. I’m doing my entire thesis about Lil B ..everyone’s gonna think I am crazy but whatever.” But when I presented my collection at panel, and the panel really seemed to understand and appreciate my concept I was like, “woahhh, okay, word they get it.”
LD: What were the other reactions like from your peers and the public as well?
ISK: My peers were very supportive! All of my classmates already knew who I was as a designer and my aesthetic, so they were probably just like, “oh Isabel is up to something crazy again, haha.” When the public started reacting to my work and really liking it, I was so surprised, all of the recognition I’ve gotten is literally beyond my wildest dreams. Getting this kind of reaction was never intention and I think that is why it’s caught me so off guard. This project came from a personal place of love, and for other people to understand that and like it, is amazing.
LD: Now that you’re in the “real world” how do you feel Parsons prepared you for your future in fashion design?
ISK: Parsons taught me pretty much everything I need to know about designing and sewing clothing. I also learned how to work nonstop under large amounts of stress, which is invaluable in the fashion industry. I would also say that industry internships are beyond important as far as preparations for being a designer myself. I’ve been lucky enough to have a large variety of internships from working in design departments, magazine closets, visual departments, to being an assistant. These, along with the artistic knowledge from school, have prepared me for working in the industry.
LD: Now for a nostalgia moment, what has been one of your best memories while at Parsons?
ISK: It’s hard to say, I have been attending Parsons programs since I was 15, so there’s a ton to choose from. But I would have to say the best/happiest moments was when I got to see my thesis collection on the runway, that minute of life was something I have honestly been dreaming about for about ten years. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy.
LD: Even though it’s only been a little bit over a month since graduation, what’s next for you?
ISK: I am in the process of starting my business now, as well as doing freelance work for others. Currently, I’m working on getting my collection into production and trying to find potential investors and get my business started! Thanks to Isabel for the interview can’t wait to see more from her in the future!