Silver Needle Runway 35
Every year, the week before our big show, we have a panel of judges made up of industry professionals who critique our senior designers’ collections called Senior Thesis Presentation. Not only does this prepare our students to enter the fashion industry, but one of our senior design students will be chosen and receive an award for Senior Designer of the Year. Check out our panel of judges for SNR 35 below!
Kym Canter began her career as a stylist and fashion editor for 18 years, dressing celebrities like Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez. She worked as Special Projects Editor at Elle, Fashion Editor at The Washington Post, and as a contributing editor on O: The Oprah Winfrey Magazine. Along with her publishing career, Canter published “Star Von Bunny” a tale about a rabbit’s rising fame in the fashion world. After her time as an editor, Canter became creative director at J. Mendel where she launched a collection of 26 fur coats. Following her years at J. Mendel, Canter became creative director of Shop Latitude for seven years before launching House of Fluff in 2017. House of Fluff is a cruelty-free and eco-friendly alternative fur collection. Since launching, House of Fluff has been featured on magazines like Vogue, InStyle, New York Times, and Forbes.
After graduating from Parsons in 1987, Mahshie began his career designing sportswear for Carmelo Pomodoro. Mahshie has also served as a designer for Giorgio di Sant Angelo, Elie Tahari, and ABS by Allen Schwartz. Mahshie then went onto becoming the creative director at Chaiken for eight years, where he introduced swimwear, maternity, outerwear, and evening to the collections. After Chaiken, Mahshie continued his career as a creative director at Halston for two years, while simultaneously working as costume designer for stage productions in NYC. Mahshie has won multiple awards for his costume designs, such as the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Costume Design. After being the creative director at Halston, Mahshie left to become creative consultant at Tommy Hilfiger for two years before returning to his previous position as creative director, but for Lord & Taylor. Presently, Mahshie is working as the senior VP creative director at Anne Klein, and has been for nine years. Along with his countless design accomplishments, Mahshie is an esteemed fashion industry professional and has been a member of the CFDA since 2003.
Gemma Kahng was borned and raised in South Korea before moving to the United States at 14. Kahng graduated with a degree in Fashion Design from the Art Institute of Chicago and went on to designing and launching her own collection in 1989. Her designs have made appearances in WWD, The New York Times, and Zink and been worn by celebrities like Madonna and Sharon Stone. Kahng’s designs incorporated innovative fabrics, such as satin, twill, and lace, combining a classic and modern aesthetic to pay tribute to her Asian history and culture. However, Kahng recently left the fashion business to follow her passion for art. Nevertheless, Kahng’s art is centered around “fashion in nature”, where most of her subjects are animals with a unique style. Her paintings commemorate her glamorous and ornate garments that she designed in the 90s.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Peter Som is a Chinese American fashion designer who released his first award-winning collection that established his label in 2000. Som graduated from Connecticut College with a degree in art history and then continued his studies at Parsons School of Design where he apprenticed both Micheal Kors and Calvin Kilen. Som is known for his use of colors and patterns in feminine silhouettes with his designs being sold at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Moda Operandi. He has also had successful collaborations with Kohls, Sferra, Lancome and Anthropologie. Michelle Obama, Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, and Beyoncé are just some of the celebrity clientele to wear his designs. He is a very accomplished designer being a finalist in the first CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, receiving two nominations for the CFDA Emerging Designer Award, and being presented with the Designer of the Year Award by Marymount University in 2009. Som continues to be featured in global fashion publications including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and InStyle and in 2002, became a member of the CFDA.
Ruthie Davis is the founder of her own luxury shoe label that creates designs focused on standing out while remaining timeless. Davis has an extensive education that has led her to hold executive positions at name brands Reebok, UGG Australia and Tommy Hilfiger before starting her label Ruthie Davis in 2006. Some of her famous collaborations include Ruthie Davis X Minions with Universal Illumination, Disney X Ruthie Davis where she won the American Image Award AAFA for “Collaboration of the Year”, and Ruthie Davis X John Bartlett creating a vegan shoe capsule collection. Davis has won numerous awards including the American Apparel & Footwear Association’s 2014 “Designer of the Year” award, Babson’s 2015 “Entrepreneur Hall of Fame” award, and was a nominee for WGSN’s Global Fashion Collaboration of 2015. Some of her famous clientele that she makes custom designs for includes Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Zendaya, Ariana Grande, Kendall Jenner, and Billy Porter. Along with being a designer and entrepreneur, Davis is a member of the CFDA and regularly comments on television as a fashion expert for networks like Bravo, E!, CNBC, and many more.
Being Senior Vice President Fashion Director at Barney’s New York for 18 years, Julie Gilhart is a fashion veteran that has developed a keen sense for spotting talent and potential in the industry. She founded her brand Julie Gilhart Consulting in 2011 that focuses on growing fashion brands with an agenda towards making a positive impact on the planet and society. She merged her brand with Tomorrow Consulting in 2019 where she is now President and Chief Development Officer. Some of her clientele include Global Fashion Agenda, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and The RealReal, but her biggest brand names include helping to establish Amazon Fashion as well as helping to launch the inaugural LVMH Prize for Emerging Talent. Gilhart is on the board of Mulberry, Kelly Slater’s Kering-backed label Outerknown, Parsons The New School for Design and Tomorrow Ltd. and also advised for the LVMH DARE Green event. Being an advisor to the CFDA, Gilhart helped establish the CFDA + Lexus Fashion Initiative for Sustainability. She also founded Fashion Girls for Humanity, is an ambassador for 1 Percent For The Planet, and helped develop Christie’s The Bid to Save the Earth auction which raised over $3 million for the environment.
Detroit born and Brooklynite raised, Aaron Potts first found his love of fashion as a kid when he would watch people who came to church dress up in beautiful attire and enjoyed accompanying his mom while she shopped for beautiful dresses with incredible colors like red. Potts kicked off his fashion career when he attended Parsons School of Design (The New School) in NYC and had the chance to intern for Marc Jacobs at Perry Ellis and Donna Karen at DKNY. After graduation, he continued his design career at Emanuel Ungaro, Anne Klein, Victoria’s Secret, Escada (Munich, Germany), Badgley Mischka, Ellen Tracy, Kaufmanfranco and Tamara Mellon. Currently, he has created his own brand, APOTTS which is a unisex collection of clean, modern, transeasonal clothes that people gravitate to for everyday wear. It’s created for all genders, all sizes and all ages.
Marrisa Wilson is a first generation Guyanese-American designer raised in New Jersey. She also is a Marist Fashion Design Alumni who has a great amount of experiences under her belt. She has worked for companies such as Maggy London, J. Mendel, Oscar de la Renta, Rag & Bone, Calvin Klein, & DKNY. Currently, Wilson is working as a Concept and Trend Director at CreateMe, while consecutively running her own brand, Marrisa Wilson NY. Founded in 2016, her brand is a womenswear apparel brand that incorporates cool, relaxed styling mixed with textiles and vibrant print artwork and all developed in house. Her designs are heavily influenced by the aesthetics of soulful sounds and eclectic interior spaces, catering to the natural beauty of multicultural women everywhere. Her brand is based on two main values-- Self Love and Women Supporting Women, so MWNY’s customers can freely express their individuality through wardrobing. She is creating a community of strong inspiring, and united women to celebrate and promote diversity in the fashion industry.
Cynthia Rowley started her career in fashion when she attended the Art Institute of Chicago, but ironically had the intention of becoming a painter, not a fashion designer. After graduation, she took all the savings she had and moved to NYC to start her brand, Cynthia Rowley. She is known for taking risks with her unparalleled sense of adventure that effortlessly connects with the spirit of her brand. She has made incredible successes such as receiving the CFDA Award and Designer of the Year at the American Image Awards. Not only has she been in the fashion industry, but she is also a best-selling author and has been on various television shows.
Kevin Bass started his undergraduate career at Mercy College where he studied Media Studies and Journalism. He then went on to get his Master of Arts in Fashion Studies at The New School of Parsons in NYC and Paris. He has worked at various companies such as Ebony Magazine, IMG, and he presently works for the CFDA as an Education + Engagement Programs Specialist.