“Parsons, in my Own Words” - Poppy
From Pre-College student to B.F.A. graduate, Poppy Xuefei Wang recently finished her senior year in Parsons' Fashion Design program. She began her Parsons journey in 2014 during the Summer Intensive Studies program at Open Campus, where she took her first course in Fashion: Sewing & Construction. Her first professor, Jennifer Belton, would also be her Thesis instructor in her last course before graduation. Learn more about how Poppy’s education came full circle, and what she has to say about her overall experience at Parsons.
My name is Poppy Xuefei Wang. I am an international student from China and in 2014, I enrolled in the Parsons summer intensive studies program at Open Campus.
Parsons had always been my dream school since I was in the eighth grade. I had done some research into best fashion design schools in the U.S when I first discovered Parsons. I also knew I wanted to go school in New York, since everyone knows that New York is the city for fashion!
The atmosphere of the fashion design summer program was very motivational. In classic New York fashion, everything was a fast-paced process, but we got to learn a bit of everything from fashion illustration, to the design process, to 3D-construction and the use of digital software like Photoshop.
The professors at Parsons were also great, and taught us in such an open-minded way. Back in 2014, I had four teachers in total for my summer program: Jennifer Belton as my Design Studio instructor, Kien Chu as my Fashion: Sewing & Construction instructor, Glenn Tunstull as my Design Sketching instructor, and Jay as my Digital: Portfolio instructor. Having four different instructors really gave me a whole new perspective on what skills a Parsons student needs to have. Also, each professor worked differently, and they all had their own pace. Students have to know how to adjust to catch up with these different paces, which is another valuable skill to come away with.
Poppy’s work from the Parsons BFA program
My experience with the 2014 summer program was so positive because I gained tons of skills and knowledge that I didn’t know before, and there were a lot of firsts.
It was my first time using an industrial sewing machine. Kien gave us a very detailed instruction on how to use it, with several orientations during class on how to thread and properly use the machine. He also taught us patternmaking. It was my first time using Photoshop during the summer program as well. I went from having zero experience to creating an entirely digital portfolio in the end. Glenn taught us how to draw a body figure from fundamental knowledge. He taught us to simply divide the body to 9-10 heads, and how to make sure proportions are right. Jennifer taught us how to create mood boards and how to do research for a collection.
Poppy’s sketches from the Summer Intensive program.
Field trips during the summer program were also a bonus. I remember how excited I was to go to the Mood Fabrics store, which was eye-opening for a high school student because I had never seen such a large fabric store before. It was also my first time visiting the MET Museum, which was very fun and inspiring.
The summer program could be intense, but I learned so much. There are also so many good memories I have gained from the experience. I got to know the whole process of designing a fashion collection. It also gave me a chance to get a glimpse of college life, and I got to live in New York City for an entire month. Just imagine how exciting that sounds for a high school student!
Poppy’s designs from the Summer Intensive program.
I was also fortunate to have made some good friends in the dorms and in my classes. Everyone I had met in class was passionate and dedicated to their projects and designs. When we had a project due, we would all stay up late to work on them, talking, laughing, and hanging out together in the classroom while we finished up. My classmates were all so creative, hardworking and inspirational; the positive energy pushed me to keep moving forward and work harder.
The overall experience of the Parsons summer program was very positive, and it was the highlight of my summer that year. I left thinking only about the summer program, and it was then that I knew I couldn’t wait to go back to Parsons. The pre-college classes gave me a sense of what my life would be like if I went to Parsons for University, and the experience helped me to confirm that I wanted to continue my Fashion Design education here.
In 2015, I decided to enroll in the BFA program. I was fortunate to get a recommendation letter from my summer program professor when I applied, which was definitely very helpful for my application. When I began as a freshman, I had the chance to reconnect with five other students that I had met during my time in the summer program, taking different courses together throughout our four years of education.
Looks from Poppy’s Thesis: The Self Love Collection.
If you are passionate about art and design, everything is possible at Parsons and there are no limitations for creativity. My advice for you? If you are interested in studying art and design and/or attending Parsons in the future, you should try out the summer program. You will get a taste of what it is like to be a student at Parsons, and you will have a chance to explore New York City. The experience will help give you answers and confirmations to all of your questions and concerns.
You can learn more about Poppy and her work by visiting her website.
Written by Casey O'Connell for Open Campus.