Cory Paglinco, a recent Parsons BFA Fashion Design Graduate presented her children’s wear thesis collection as part of this season of petitePARADE Kids Fashion Week in New York. With this interview, I set out to ask her a few questions about life post Parsons, her experiences working with petiteParade, what she sees for the future.
Callie Jensen: With recent attention on your senior thesis project, post Parsons, could you give us a brief description of the concept behind your collection and your personal design style?
Cory Paglinco: My senior thesis collection is a juniors collection for girls, within the children’s wear section. This knit-focused 6 look collection consists of different textile treatments that I had built a passion for over my four years at Parsons- beading, embroidery, natural dyeing and faux fur/faux leather manipulations. I would describe my aesthetic as being bohemian with a definite city edge to it. The main source of inspiration behind this collection is a painting by Georgia O’Keefe called “Black Iris”. The whole collection is centered around this mixture of delicacy and boldness, which is apparent in O’Keefe’s painting. Every textile treatment used in the collection is, in some way, connected to the painting or the details of the iris flower. The target customer for this collection is a young pre-teen to teenaged girl with a very eclectic style. My target customer definitely has a “more is more” mentality.
CJ: How did you get involved with petitePARADE?
CP: John James Muller, the Project Director of petitePARADE Kids Fashion Week has been a supporter of the children’s wear designers at Parsons for a while now. He sat on the panel for our section’s thesis panel presentation in May and reached out to the designers that he felt had the strongest collections to be apart of this year’s runway show, so getting handpicked by him was a huge honor.
CJ:How was the show organized? Presentation or runway style?
CP:The runway style show took place at Bath House Studios on October 18th. For me it was just one of the most amazing experiences because I was chosen as the point person for the Parsons show, so everything from the music for the show to the order of the designers showing was up to me. Having that much control of such a prestigious show in children’s wear was an incredible experience that I’ll always remember. I really got to be involved with every aspect of the show, which is not something that many people can say. A huge thank you goes to Francesca Sammaritano, my thesis professor who is responsible for the relationship that Parsons students and alums are lucky enough to have with petitePARADE!
CJ:The photo shoot from the show looks amazing, did you have to find your own models or did the organization they help with the pre-show details?
CP:One of the greatest parts about participating in petitePARADE was the outpouring support that we received from both models and photographers. We had a really great group of moms (of models) who knew us from shooting our thesis look-books who helped us book all of our child models for the runway show. We also had the honor of having our collections shot by famous children’s wear photographer Lee Clower after the show, as well as many other great children’s wear photographers and bloggers.
CJ: The styling seems to relate really well to your aesthetic, did you style the girls or did they supply stylists for you?
CP: For the most part the styling of my girls for the show was done by me. I made the floral headbands they wore prior to the day of the show, and I lightly curled their hair for a soft and tousled look. I was able to recruit hair and makeup artist Rita Madison who was kind enough to volunteer her day to assist a few of the designers for the show.
CJ: Did you have any other media attention to your collection while in school?
CP: Yes! Most of the media attention came after the collection was complete. A few of the industry professionals at the panel presentation posted really great things about the collection on social media. The collection gained attention through various sponsorships that I acquired through both Parsons and on my own. One collaborative sponsorship that I was lucky enough to participate in involving the Humane Society of the United States and Fabulous Furs where I was awarded amazing quality faux fur for my collection received quite a bit of media attention. But the most media attention that the collection has gotten has by far been through petitePARADE.
CJ: Are you currently free-lancing or working in the fashion industry?
CP: Currently I’m a full-time freelancer for RTW Knitwear at Kate Spade New York. It’s been such a great experience so far, and definitely a great company to work for!
CJ: How did your collection help/change the process of job searching since you’ve graduated?
CP: Your senior thesis collection takes up the majority of your senior year, but it’s not to be confused with being the most important part of your senior year. Of course it’s great to be able to show interviewers that you are able to take a collection from it’s conception to the final product, but the portfolio that we develop throughout the year is equally as, if not more, important. The portfolio that consists of your design sketches, flats, concept research, fabric treatments- that’s what gets you the job.
CJ: Do you have any advice for current seniors or perspective Parsons BFA Fashion students?
CP: For current seniors: This is advice that our graduating class received when we were just entering into the fashion design curriculum. Dean of Parsons School of Fashion Simon Collins told us two very simple, but important words: “be nice”. It’s true. You will get nowhere with a nasty attitude- so be nice to your professors, your peers, the companies you intern/work with. The fashion industry is smaller than you think, especially when most of the people you will meet at Parsons, be it students or professors, have worked or will work for some of the most powerful fashion houses in the world. And somewhere along the line you will run into that professor that you didn’t get along with sophomore year, who knows the creative director of some company you’re interviewing with and you will not get the job. It’s harsh but it’s true. So always be nice! It can only help you.
For perspective Parsons students:My advice would be to go for it as long as you’re ready to commit to the huge commitment that is being a Parsons student. It is definitely not your average college experience, but it’s an experience that I am so grateful for. It’s such an honor to be chosen to attend Parsons, and if you’re extremely dedicated and stay true to your design aesthetic it will all be worth it.
CJ:Do you have a website or a digital lookbook?
Congratulations again to Cory and all of the Parsons Fashion Design Graduates who participated in the petitePARADE. To see more Alumni work from the show check out petitePARADE’S Blog!