“You are the chosen class,” said Oprah Winfrey. “Building your community is how you change the world,” said LeBron James. “Leave behind the old ways of thinking that divide us,” said former President Obama.

Some of the biggest names on the planet converged for a virtual graduation special over the weekend to celebrate the class of 2020. The message? The coronavirus has been hard on all graduating students — high school and college — who must face a historic level of uncertainty when they were just raring to go into the world.

The quarantined months have been particularly hard on students of such hands-on disciplines as fashion, textile and product design, whose final collections had to be completed on bedroom floors instead of classrooms, and often without supplies, drawing tables, pattern-making equipment or sometimes even sewing machines.

In the final part of the series, WWD takes a look at what’s being done differently for graduation, as well as some words of wisdom from students, faculty and administrators, at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the New School’s Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.


New graduation plan:

The Parsons graduation ceremony went virtual on May 13 via Zoom for students and their loved ones across the globe. The hourlong program included remarks from Parsons leadership, program directors, faculty and students. “While circumstances are undoubtedly different this year, a few things remain constant. This includes our students’ unwavering dedication to and passion for their work as well as our commitment to celebrating and showcasing their achievements as widely as possible,” said interim dean Jason Kass. “As is always the case, our graduating students have done amazing work this year that explores new possibilities, terrains and futures for fashion. We are so excited to share this work with the public in the coming weeks and through a digital format that will be as uniquely Parsons as our typical on-site activations.”

Faculty wisdom:

“Creative visualization is a powerful thing. See it, believe it, design it and your idea will manifest as a reality. Your expression must count for something true and the energy that you put into your creative process will be received by those who understand it. You will feel completely fulfilled and empowered by that process and nothing will stop you from achieving your goals.”

— Keanan Duffty, program director, MPS Fashion Management

“This is going to be a difficult time to enter the job market as a graduating fashion student. There is no point in sugar-coating the truth. However, this crisis will end, and brands will need innovative thinkers that can think beyond old business models and engage consumers in new, more meaningful ways, no matter the format. This is a moment when companies are more likely to take risks, to use this as an opportunity to reset and build new foundations that can ensure a brand’s future success. This means they will be looking for new employees that are ready and willing to work hard and rethink what fashion can be, with more careful consideration of people and planet.”

— Joshua Williams, associate professor, MPS Fashion Management


To read the full article by Booth Moore originally published on WWD on May 19th, 2020, please click here.