May 17, 2012

A mark of prestige for Mainer's design

A former Falmouth High student wins top honors from a top design school for her children's wear.

By Avery Yale Kamila akamila@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

With a collection of colorful children's knits, a former Falmouth High School student landed a coveted fashion design award from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.

Parsons 2012 Fashion Benefit Honoring Donna Karan and Sheila C. Johnson
click image to enlarge

Giuliana Raggiani holds the pair of scissors she received as a trophy as the Children’s Wear Designer of the Year. “They actually work,” the former Falmouth High student said.

David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com

click image to enlarge

A model shows an outfit in Giuliana Raggiani's award-winning children's wear collection during the Parsons Fashion Benefit.

Dan Lecca photo

Go to www.newschool.edu/parsons/2012-fashion-benefitto watch the "2012 Fashion Benefit" video to see Raggiani receive her award. She is featured at the video's 2:00 hour mark.

When she graduates from Parsons today, with a class that numbers almost 200, Giuliana Raggiani will have the distinction of being the 2012 Children's Wear Designer of the Year. The award was presented on May 1 during the 64th annual Parsons Fashion Benefit, which raised $1.4 million for scholarships and programs at the school.

"I was in complete shock," Raggiani, 22, said of the moment the award was announced. "Honestly, when they called my name and showed my collection on the screen, I didn't know what to do. It was a blur."

The school's annual design awards are considered a mark of prestige in the fashion world.

"It's a huge deal," said Ashley Lauren Kerr, a Maine native and fashion designer whose SCALA by ASHLEYlauren line features formal wear for women. "Parsons is the most well-known fashion school in the country. A ton of people apply every year and it's really selective. If you're selected, upon graduating, it's much easier to get jobs in New York, being a Parsons graduate. For a young girl graduating from Parsons and getting an award like that, she's going to have no problem getting a job in the fashion world."

In 1906, Parsons launched the country's first fashion design program. Alumni of the school include Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan and Isaac Mizrahi.

Each year, a jury of fashion designers, fashion writers and talent scouts reviews the design collections from all of the graduating seniors. The jurors then select a handful of students to participate in the show. Raggiani was one of four students selected to show work in the children's wear category.

"She's a very talented individual and very resourceful and an over-achiever, for sure," said Francesca Sammaritano, a Parsons fashion design professor who worked with Raggiani throughout her senior year. "She did her own machine knits. She developed the prints and the colors. I think it was inevitable that she would be the winner, because she had so much to choose from. And in the end she edited (her collection) well, because you can have too much."

Raggiani's mix-and-match collection for both boys and girls features knitwear and lots of layers.

"When I studied in London, I took a lot of inspiration from the street artists there, who were so bold and whimsical," Raggiani said. "I also took inspiration from my own memories, growing up and getting hand-me-downs."

Pieces in her collection include a reversible quilted jacket and a backpack that transforms into both a skirt and an overall dress.

Raggiani is moving into a new apartment in Brooklyn, and devoting time to readying her portfolio. "Ideally I'd like to start my own line, and that has to do with people investing in me," she said.

Jin Kay won the Women's Wear Designer of the Year award. Christy Jeehyun Lee won the Menswear Designer of the Year award.

The actual award is a pair of oversized sewing scissors with the winner's name and the award engraved on the side. Raggiani was surprised to discover "they actually work." 

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:

akamila@pressherald.com

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila

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