One of the many things that makes Parsons such a unique environment to study art and design is its diverse student population. Now with the opportunity to study at Parsons global campuses around the world, there is even more of a chance for international collaborations in new exciting environments. This week I sat down with my friend Parigna Desai, an international student from Mumbai, India, and talked about what it’s like being at Parsons, Paris, and Studying abroad.
Parigna Desai, Junior BFA fashion design
Being from half way across the world, how did you first hear about Parsons?
– I first heard about Parsons New York from an academic counselor. I was a looking into art schools and had an interest in fashion but didn’t know yet that I wanted to major in it, so the fact that Parsons offered the first year curriculum was the perfect fit. I liked having that year to get a better idea for what I really wanted to do with art and design.
What was it like initially moving from Mumbai, to New York? Were there a lot of adjustments?
– Those who know Mumbai understand that the “hectic city life” is nothing new. Our city is the New York and L.A. of India, It’s much more crowded, and just as busy, so I was already used to that. In fact moving to New York was personally one of my only options, because I was so used to that fast paced lifestyle at home that I wanted something equal to that wherever I was going to study to keep me motivated. The biggest shock was that in New York I had all these different freedoms. At home culturally it’s more protected, with strong family values and when I got to New York I was just 17, with absolute freedom.
So what attracted you to Paris?
-Paris always has had this sort of ‘hype’ around it for me, I was already studying abroad in New York, so I thought why not take a semester in Paris? It was another opportunity to explore and travel, so I was not going to turn that down.
How was it different adjusting in Paris as opposed to New York?
– The language barrier– ha-ha. I’ve been doing fine with it although I barely speak any French, I understand more of it, but it definitely made Paris seem a little more alien than New York.
What do you think about being a student in Paris?
– What I like about Parsons Paris is since it’s a smaller group, the courses feel more integrated into one another. All the students and teachers know each other well, so there is more collaboration across courses. Also, the Parisian way of life is a lot more relaxed, so there is a lighter feeling to it all, which is refreshing.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Paris so Far?
– I love to sit by the Seine River. It’s calming and peaceful.
Have you seen any exciting exhibitions or shows since you’ve been in Paris?
– A few events stick out so far for me:
Nuit Blanche (the white night) was excellent. It’s a night where museums and galleries are open from 7pm to 7am and everyone is out to all hours of the night to appreciate it all. It was great perspective to see Paris from because most nights things in Paris close rather early.
Premiere Vision is one of the largest textile shows in the industry, and we Parsons Paris fashion majors were lucky to be invited to it. It’s the trade show for textiles and we got a rare look inside it, which is exciting because it’s something I wouldn’t have been able to do in New York
And finally, this week in our Accessory design elective class, we took a field trip to the Louis Vuitton Headquarters, which was such a unique view of a major brand within the Paris fashion industry, which is a major part of what this study abroad experience is about.
As a BFA Fashion Major, how to you find your view of Fashion has changed based on where you’ve been?
– I first chose to go abroad because I knew that the fashion at home was not the right fit for me, the exposure is very different and I wasn’t looking to design Indian wear. I wasn’t exactly sure how I wanted to do fashion, I never had a specific aesthetic in my mind, it was all kind of mainstream until I got to Parsons. It was in New York that I started to work with people that helped me recognize my strengths and aided me to develop that individual style. It wasn’t just fashion that influenced me at first it was all areas of art and design that have influenced where I am today. New York motivated me to think about all kinds of design, and how that relates to the 3-Dimensional aspects of fashion. The Paris fashion industry is more traditional, and the influences of haute couture are motivating, but definitely a different perspective from the kinds of design I’ve been gravitating towards.
What interests you most in fashion now?
– I’ve recently been interested in the integration of technology into my work. To see the future of fashion as more than just clothes, but a venue for future change.
Check out more of what Parigna has to say at www.theateliery.wordpress.com