Blair Moore, 27, is one of the two winners of the fourth annual “Empowering Imagination” competition, sponsored by Parsons and Kering. The competition saw 12 finalists from Parsons compete before a panel of judges including Parsons’ former Dean of Fashion Simon Collins, Style.com’s Nicole Phelps, Kering’s Laurent Claquin, Alexander Wang, editor Giovanna Battaglia, actress Aimee Mullins, and Colleen Sherin of Saks Fifth Avenue. With the promise of a chance to visit Kering’s Materials Innovation Lab in Novara, Italy, which supplies sustainable fabric options to Kering brands, the competition was spirited. Evaluated for their use of creativity, conceptual vision and technical skill in their thesis collections, the 12 finalists impressed. Plan de Ville caught up with winner Blair Moore to hear about her childhood in the Australian outback, her transformative time at Parsons, and her perspective on the importance of mentorship. - Catherine Smith
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR TIME AS A STUDENT AT PARSONS.
“I only applied to Parsons,” said the designer. “I had a strong sense that Parsons was where I was supposed to be. Going to Parsons was the greatest choice I could have made; the school instilled the knowledge in me that hard work, dedication, and being over-prepared will lead me on the correct path. You can’t always anticipate who will respond positively or negatively to your design ethos. But working hard, dedicating your life to what you love, and being over-prepared are three lessons that Parsons and our amazing professors and school staff help you to internalize.”
HOW DID YOU BEGIN DESINGING THIS COLLECTION? WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE DESIGN PROCESS?
“The collection began as paying an homage to my cultural roots. I had a very nomadic upbringing, from growing up on a cattle property in the outback of Australia, to living in the suburbs of Connecticut. My parents always instilled in me the necessity to see the world.” Moore continued, explaining her inspiration for her conceptual collection of travel attire for the global citizen. “My collection became a way for me to express my own cultural “walkabout,” which basically means to explore. Through this collection, I was looking forward to the walkabout that I have yet to have, and the places that I still want to see.
I began researching how people protect themselves on their journey, and how they carry their necessities from point A to point B. Essentially my collection developed into a travel kit - each girl is their own travel kit based on things like climate and terrain. I wanted to look into the idea of how we can carry the things we need on oneself, rather than needing to carry a bag all the time.”
HAVE YOUR DESIGNS EVOLVLED SINCE YOU STARTED AT PARSONS?
“200% I have grown as a person, designer, and researcher.”
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR INTERNSHIPS. WHICH ONE WAS YOUR FAVORITE?
“I have had internships with Clavin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Maiyet. Each one has been my favorite in in its own way, as each experience helped me to hone my skills in different ways.”
WHO HAVE YOU LEARNED THE MOST FROM IN YOUR CAREER THUS FAR? DO YOU HAVE MENTORS?
“I had the incredible opportunity to work with the Footwear Design Team at Ralph Lauren. They have really sculpted me and mentored me into becoming the designer I am today. Nancy Boas (SVP), Danilo Giordano (SDD), and Lindsey Russell have always been there for me. They always edit my sketches, and help me to push further in my designs. Aside from Parsons, they have been the greatest part of my education over the past four years. The key thing is to find those mentors that truly believe in you, and to never let them go.”
WHAT DOES WINNING THE PARSONS X KERING “EMPOWERING IMAGINATION” COMPETITION MEAN FOR YOUR AND YOUR BUSINESS?
“I am elated to have won the Parsons x Kering Empowering Imagination competition. To be able to be submersed in the Kering brands and learn from their facilities will give an incredible edge to my knowledge and craftsmanship as a designer.”
WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGES THAT YOU FACE AS A YOUNG DESIGNER? HAVE THOSE CHALLENGED CHANGED OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS?
“The most challenging part of being at Parsons has been the long hours and no sleep. As a young designer, I felt that I needed to turn out as much work as I could, and take as many opportunities as possible. As young designers we are still trying to find our way – to work and learn as much as possible will only help us develop a strong identity in the future.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR BLAIR MOORE?
“To never stop learning and developing new things.”
This story is part of Plan de Ville's series, THE GRADUATES, which features the stories of young alumni of Parsons The New School for Design.