A recent graduate of Parsons School of Design, Shen Zhang presented for her senior thesis a Spring/Summer 2016 collection set of designs acutely inspired by recent events in her own life. After facing a breakup due to cultural and religious differences, Zhang plunged into working on this senior project collection taking vision from her previous partner’s Islamic background, which resulted in a a monochrome collection complete in turquoise, a color prominent in Islam and the Middle East that is commonly used to make jewelry. Designing to cope with this difficult breakup, Zhang dedicated her time to this collection with no measure of hard work left exempt, including taking full course loads, summer classes, internships and working overnight to put together one of Spring/Summer 2016’s most memorable student collections.
The color palette holds a symbolic meaning, but also fundamentally works to highlight the silhouettes of her designs. Amongst the pieces, oversized silhouettes intuitively indicate a sense of freedom and comfort in the clothing. Despite this, Zhang uses the technique to represent the restrictions society places on people using a menswear-style formal shirt with extremely long sleeves – a design that would make any simple task difficult and restrict the wearer’s independence and ability. A long dress, voluminous from the waist down, takes influence from the re-popularized Anarkali dresses of the Middle East and India, Zhang’s graduation collection perfectly blends her central ideas that she effectively translates into clothing designs, raising expectations for the career of this hard working designer.