SCAD's Fashion Class of 2024 on the Future

SCAD's Fashion Class of 2024 on the Future

BYJustin MoranJun 05, 2024

Student fashion shows (like Pratt’s or FIT’s) often feel like the most honest snapshots of our time, reflecting the complicated hopes and fears of the next generation.

Far from the fashion hub that is New York, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is launching careers of next gen designers with much different perspectives than students living in major metropolitan cities.

The Fashion Class of 2024 showed their thesis collections on May 19, with runway mentorship from seasoned model Coco Rocha and a Friday night atmosphere that felt just as energetic and celebratory as the clothes shown. There’s no question that SCAD is fostering talent worth watching.

Below, PAPER spotlights a selection of SCAD’s students and learns more about what they’d like to see from the fashion industry.

Eileen Barry

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

It would be amazing to see collaboration between fashion designers and scientists, which is starting to happen but on quite a small scale. There is potential for so many amazing material innovations and new technologies that could elevate and enhance the future of fashion design.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

Protective apparel and fashion live in different worlds and, with climate change, it’s impossible for these fields to remain separate. With my approach to fashion design, I don’t want to make something that only brings attention to a problem. I want to make something real and functional that helps solve the problem. My SCAD senior collection was about redesigning menswear to survive urban flooding. From the personal flotation devices to the modular waders for deep flood waters, everything was designed to help save and protect someone from being stranded without rescue and exposed to flood water contaminants.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I see creativity everywhere I look, from my peers and around the world. I believe fashion is full of incredible design thinkers and exceptionally devoted people. There is no doubt in my mind fashion can and will evolve into what the very soon future needs. People want to make this world better and want to be sustainable and are so incredibly conscious of their own footprint. There is a real and serious drive to figure out how to redesign the industry to stop harming the earth.

Sammy Baker

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

My hope is for fashion companies to build practices that prioritize circular and ethical values. There is certainly lots of progress in the industry, as fashion companies have started to really assess and make changes regarding environmental impact, and it’s something I am truly passionate about as a designer and consumer.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

When designing I try to remind people that we are naturally complex beings, and when there's an understanding of what that means to you personally, you're capable of manifesting exactly how you see yourself in your head through what you wear.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I am most hopeful that fashion will step away from industry trends, and be more commonly seen and practiced as an artful expression of self that becomes limitless when you make or modify your own clothes.

Chuck Ryan

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

As a young designer, I am constantly thinking about longevity and environmental impact. I hope to see more sustainable practices, like repurposing materials and focusing on quality over quantity, become mainstream.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

My perspective as a designer is deeply rooted in the idea of defying norms and forging your own path. Coming from a sports background and overcoming the challenges of severe dyslexia, I’ve learned to view the world through a unique lens. This translates into my design process, where I mix unexpected textiles and break traditional rules. My journey shows that you don’t need to fit into the typical fashion mold to create meaningful and impactful designs. I aim to inspire others to embrace their individuality and chase their dreams, no matter how unconventional their path may be.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I’m most hopeful about the increasing recognition and acceptance of diverse voices in the fashion industry. With platforms like social media, it’s easier for non-traditional designers to showcase their work and gain a following. I’m also optimistic about the growing emphasis on sustainability and ethical practices. There’s a shift happening towards valuing craftsmanship, repurposing materials, and creating pieces that tell a story and stand the test of time. I believe this movement will lead to a more inclusive and environmentally conscious fashion industry, where innovation and creativity are celebrated.

Peter Shonda

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

We live in an age where social media is oversaturated with designs and fast fashion is faster than ever. Now, more than ever, we need to embrace true individuality. As we are moving away from idolizing celebrities, people are less afraid to explore who they could be. There’s a slow but noticeable transition from the culture of constantly swapping clothes out to embracing the beauty in slow, repetitive authenticity, which makes me excited for the industry.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

My point of view as a designer and artist was strongly shaped by my upbringing in Egypt. When approaching my creative process, culture and identity are always the underlying motives in my work. I’m always intrigued by how I can communicate emotion in my work. Making you feel an emotion without exposing all of yourself are things I explored in my SCAD senior collection. All of this is completed through the creation of a fantasy, and an essential part of that for me is custom-made accessories. All the footwear, bags and jewelry were custom designed for my SCAD senior collection, "The Dark Delusion of The Light."

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I’m excited to see people put aside their stereotypical beliefs of gender and freely express themselves through the way they dress. I’m thrilled to see a world where gender becomes a secondary objective when shopping as a consumer. I strive to see representation of my Middle Eastern culture on the runway in ways that are refreshing and innovative. The Middle East has so much untapped potential that I’d like to bring forward to the West through my vision, my designs and my personal identity.

Earl Godfrey

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

I would like to see the industry slow down. As artists, we produce our best work when we are healthy, happy, and well-rested and granted the time to explore, to ideate. By focusing on quality rather than quantity, the industry and environment can begin to heal together.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

The role of fashion is to reflect our culture at any given time in a succinct and visually impactful way. We are living in deeply surreal times and that was a big influence on the visual language of my SCAD senior collection. I wanted to focus on exploring and capturing that surrealism through clothing, and letting the strange and uncanny influence everything from prints to construction details. I have also become deeply interested in the emerging frontier of digital fashion. I think there is a massive wealth of unexplored ideas, and new visual codes that can come about from purely virtual garments, as well as combining the digital and physical into a singular vision. I’ve really enjoyed working with CLO3D, and it has changed my whole methodology when it comes to producing clothes. I’m continuing to learn and develop as a designer by exploring new programs like Adobe Substance and Firefly AI.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

When I see the work of my peers, I think the future looks very bright. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this generation. I know we will bring a fresh perspective to this industry and I hope we will continue to build upon all the progress that was achieved by those who have come before us. I truly believe our points of view on sustainability, gender, and technology are going to impact the visual language of fashion in new and very exciting ways.

Yutong (Trista) Zhao

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

The manipulation of textiles with 3D printing, crystallization, silica gel, wire, and ceramic are so interesting. I love the idea of fashion blending with unexpected industries and material to make not only fashion, but art.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

My technical skills, specifically bamboo weaving. When I started to create my SCAD senior collection, I crafted my own fabric by bamboo weaving. Although it was a challenge, my professors pushed me to explore this technique and I loved the experience of the fabric becoming an extension of myself for this collection.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I’m excited for the development of technological artistry in fashion. Garments can be installations, AI, furniture, paintings, which is certainly how I want to express my point-of-view and talents to the world.

Ashley Alcantara

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

I would like to see the industry continue to shift towards slower fashion and longevity in clothing. As a designer, I aim to make clothes that people will wear for years and years.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

My perspective on fashion is centered on bringing humor and playfulness into my collections. I believe that fashion can be a powerful tool for self-expression and that it should reflect facets of our personalities, including our sense of humor. For instance, my SCAD senior collection features a look with pants that represent the idea of having an unzipped fly, which playfully represents those embarrassing, but funny clothing mishaps. My pieces are designed to be conversation starters that people can relate to and encourage them to not take themselves too seriously.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I believe we're in a new era where designers increasingly embrace playful creativity and sustainability. I loved seeing this year’s fashion show and how my peers had such cool ideas to create visually stunning pieces. The combination of playful expression and sustainability promises a future where fashion is both exciting and responsible.

Ellie Byrd

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

More fun, more performance.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

I bring a unique playfulness to my approach with design. I want to not only offer beautifully realized and conceptual garments, but to combine different mediums that are considered unexpected, which is what makes fashion fun for me.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I can’t wait to see how my peers and generation of designers will make their mark on the industry.

Gonie Weinstock

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

Fashion has a way of telling a story, which is one of my favorite things about being a fashion designer. What you make should be purposeful and have a meaningful point-of-view. In terms of sustainability, constantly evolving technology is changing the process of creating garments to minimize our waste and I would love to see those tools develop and be put into practice even more.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

You don't need to fit in one box. You can use bold prints and fun designs, and still be elegant and mature. There is no wrong answer when it comes to fashion and the way you mix your styles. I remember when I started designing my SCAD senior collection, I was unsure of what would be my "signature." My professors encouraged me to lean into my personality and individual point-of-view. When I started sketching, I realized I could use my love for patterns and unexpected shapes and silhouettes to design garments, bringing all the facets together to tell my story.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I’m hopeful and encouraged by my fellow SCAD classmates, who are so talented. I can't wait to see what we do next and the stories we will tell through our work. Collectively with my peers, we also understand the vital importance of approaching design with a sustainable mindset, and discovering new materials, innovations, and technology that will continue to gain momentum and implementation within the industry.

Belle St. Clair

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

The future of fashion holds opportunities for creating more ethical products, not just in material, but in every aspect of manufacturing. Developing more sustainable fabrics and minimizing pollution is crucial to creating a clean industry and planet, but equally important is ensuring workers within the supply chain are paid fair wages, working in safe conditions at normal hours and receiving other benefits.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

As someone primarily left-brained, I have an interesting perspective when it comes to design and creation. I am technical and geometric in the way I design, but with my silhouette work, my goal is always to capture a feeling. I design for the bold and eclectic customer, but I want a sense of empowerment to be felt when wearing my garments. I do this through my silhouette work, creating pieces that fill the space around the body. I want my garments to stand their ground in a room and the same can be said for the people wearing them.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I am hopeful for the trajectory in fashion to continue to evolve and look beyond concepts of gender and body consciousness, and instead embrace body neutrality and empowerment. I believe fashion is all about self-expression and the way you feel in your clothes can be more influential and empowering than just how you look.

Kayleigh Overton

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

Even though the average woman is a size 16/18 in the US, few brands cater to this majority audience. I hope to continue to see the change and inclusion of plus-size bodies as part of the fashion conversation in a bigger way, and I also hope to be part of that change.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

Much like I explored through [my SCAD collection] "What She Didn’t Feel," a lot of my design work comes from the perspective of seeing the body as a sculpture unique to every individual. It’s beautiful how our bodies hold memories of who we are and where we’ve been. I want to make the viewer question their understanding of what “flattering” is in terms of clothing and why we strive for such standards, approaching fashion as an art form open for experimentation.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

This generation of incoming fashion designers thinks critically about the status quo of fashion and is passionate about changing it. Throughout my time at SCAD, we’ve been given the tools and mentorship to succeed, follow our dreams and execute our ideas. This generation has dreams of a better and bright future, and we’re determined to see them through.

Rakee Chen

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

I look forward to seeing the industry embracing different perspectives and encouraging innovation, and to see more designers utilizing technology and interdisciplinary approaches to expressing themselves through fashion.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

I am deeply interested in the fusion of fashion and technology. In my SCAD thesis project, I use music interaction and AI-generated art to create a series of prints. I believe that great creators should not fear the advancement of machines, but rather use them to further their own progress. My brand, SCHNABBIT, tells a story of bold pursuit and courage, reflecting my attitude towards fashion.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I am enthusiastic about the future of 3D technology and virtual fashion. With advances in VR and AR, immersive fashion experiences and digital clothes may drastically eliminate the requirement for physical production, lowering waste and environmental effect.

Josef Ray Yelenoc

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

I believe it's crucial for designers to continue to embrace pushing the limits of fashion norms and clothing conventions. I imagine a world where individuals are truly unique and express their differences through what they wear. Diversity is the norm, our clothing should reflect this richness of cultures and perspectives.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

My SCAD collection seeks to spark dialogue on the intrinsic value of creativity, urging viewers to find beauty amidst decay within the folds of post-apocalyptic design. Through my work, I aim to honor fashion by highlighting its status as an art form, beyond attire. Worn fabric, found objects and nonconventional materials blur the line between creation and chaos, reflecting polluted waters and emotional turbulence.

What are you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

I'm optimistic about our generation's commitment to prioritizing quality over quantity. There is a rising appreciation for garments that tell a story, are crafted with care and celebrate individuality. This focus not only adds value to our clothing, but also fosters a deeper connection between the wearer and their wardrobe.

Maggie Foster

What change would you like to see in the fashion industry?

I want to see the industry as a whole move towards slow fashion and made-to-last clothing that is kinder to the environment and withstands standard wear and tear. I implement these ideas into my designs with my meticulous knits and hand-crafted tailoring with only wool and cotton fabrics. I hope society’s mindset continues to shift towards slow fashion practices.

What perspective do you think you’re bringing to fashion?

I gravitate towards menswear and feel that is where my ideas are the strongest. When developing my SCAD senior collection, I looked at the standard and sleek menswear silhouettes of the past 50-70 years, studying what men wore based on the social and political events of the time and connecting that ethos into my current work. To make these ideas very modern, my professors encouraged me to explore incorporating unusual fabrics and interesting textures, which really excited me, and I was thrilled with the final product. Further delving into this exploration of fabric manipulation will only enhance my abilities as a designer and artist.

What're you most hopeful about with the future of fashion?

With the newfound boom in gender bending clothes, in my generation specifically, it makes me hopeful for a future of genderless clothing. For clothes to be just that, clothes, and for people to be able to wear what they want, how they want, regardless of sexual orientation, size or age.

Photos courtesy of SCAD

Related Articles Around the Web