Parsons Pre-College Student to Self-Made Fashion Brand
After attending the Pre-College program, Dilara Huryasar was inspired to keep pursuing fashion through the Parsons B.F.A. program. This semester she has returned to the Pre-College Summer Intensive Studies (SIS) program as a teaching assistant, all while developing her own fashion brand, Dilara Yar. Recently she reflected on how her own style and the SIS program have evolved.
“You have to keep creative to not go crazy,” said Huryasar, on how she stays focused during the modern online era. “The pandemic has maybe made people take life more slowly.”
Huryasar first became interested in fashion when she was awarded a scholarship from LaGuardia High School. She enjoyed the “abstract” Parsons approach to fashion instruction, taking pointers from professors such as Steven Broadway in Fashion Illustration and becoming an assistant in a sewing class.
“You grow with them,” Huryasar said of the instructors at Parsons. She still uses many of the techniques she learned – such as placing paper under fabric to get a texture.
Dilara Huryasar’s designs from the Summer Intensive program.
As a teaching assistant in the Pre-College Summer Intensive Studies fashion program, Huryasar said she critiques students’ projects and offers her perspective.
“It’s just so frustrating not being hands-on sometimes,” Huryasar said of the change to online instruction. But she remains impressed at the students’ adaptability.
“It’s crazy how quickly they figured it out on their own. They’re pretty independent. I was constantly asking the teacher [for help].”
Huryasar said she advises students to pursue other creative fields to become well-rounded designers.
“Even if they know they want to do fashion, they should branch out to other media,” Huryasar said. “It just makes for more dynamic pieces.”
Combining photography and film with her own fashion brand, Huryasar is able to market her pieces on her own.
“I like to shoot my own work,” she said. “I like to be the creative director.” Check out Huryasar’s work on her website. She often models her pieces, or asks friends to help.
Although one of her most memorable assignments at Parsons was a neoprene yellow dress, today she describes her style as “black and flowy and romantic.”
Some of Dilara Huryasar’s more recent sketches.
Huryasar has also been inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, using her punk-influenced shirts to raise money for the Black Visions Collective. She said she often uses leftover fabric or leather from thrift stores to eliminate waste.
“Sometimes it’s fun finding old fabric. Sometimes the fabric gives you the idea.”
She adds that she’s also passionate about sustainability, and a “quality over quantity” approach to fashion.
“The industry is so oversaturated... people are beginning to realize it’s overwhelming and wasteful,” Huryasar said. But, she added, “I think fashion is changing a lot."
Dilara Huryasar at last year's Open Studios.
“In the future, brands are just going to do [sustainability] as a default.”
To stay relevant in the fashion world, Huryasar’s advice to students would be to explore other creative areas, which she agrees that Parsons Pre-College offers.
“Having other skills – you’d be surprised how they’re useful,” she said. “It’s the whole picture – it’s not just clothes.”