VMAN Presents Menswear's "Next In Class"

VMAN Presents Menswear's "Next In Class"

Introducing Parsons' next generation of top designers—and the future leaders of menswear

Introducing Parsons' next generation of top designers—and the future leaders of menswear

Photography: Mat+Kat

Styling: June Pierce

In a new partnership, bi-annual trade show PROJECT, which opened yesterday in Las Vegas, has teamed up with Parsons School of Design to announce “Next in Class”— a selected group of Parsons graduates, crafting clothes for a new generation of trendsetters.

All finalists for the coveted Designer of the Year title at Parsons within the last three years, this new crop of menswear designers were prominently showcased in July at PROJECT New York. The experience, which served for many as a test to their commercial viability, gave each designer valuable exposure at an industry event attended by both buyers and press.

“We hope that by placing new designers in this context it will afford them the opportunity to be recognized for their directional vision in menswear,” says Fiona Dieffenbacher, Program Director of the Fashion Design BFA at Parsons. “It created a venue for a conversation between a new generation of talent and established designers about a redefinition of the menswear category as a whole.”

And before these names become fixtures on the NYFW: Men’s circuit, VMAN is giving you the exclusive on what we can expect to see from this exciting group of talented young designers in the years to come. Check out our editorial with the next generation below.


Designed by Haoran Li and Siying Qu

How would you describe the personal style of the Private Policy customer?

Someone with a rebellious downtown spirit who isn’t afraid to experiment with fashion.

How do you use fashion as a platform to address social issues?

Fashion is powerful. We can express emotions, observations, and philosophies through fashion. And people love fashion. We can be touched quite emotionally by fashion. Fashion is a daily art form. So we decided to address one social issue through each collection, instead of just pick a personal or artificial inspiration. Our statements are embedded in our inspiration, projected on to the garment, and expressed in our fashion show production and campaigns. We believe fashion has the power to touch people's hearts and wake people's minds to be aware of what is going on in the world.

You showed your collection for the first time at NYFW: Men’s. What can we expect to see next from Private Policy?

We will continue to push the traditional boundaries of fashion. We’re working on collaborations with other creatives. We will continue to spread the awareness of the unjust state of the Southeast Asian fishing industry, the inspiration behind our latest collection. We are also excited about the progress of Fall 2017 collection, which will address a global issue that all humans are affected by.

What’s the simplest way to describe your brand?

Clothes created for those who love fashion and are mindful of the world.


You grew up two blocks from the VMAN offices on Mercer Street. What was Soho like in the '90s?

The neighborhood was much quieter, less developed and funkier. No one would ever walk down Mercer unless they lived there or knew someone who did. It was dark and industrial. The building I grew up in had a cigar factory on the first floor while we lived there.

What was the fashion like?

Downtown fashion in the '90s was a real mesh of culture. The hip-hop baggy-is-better look was one style, grungy skater punk was another, it was raw and felt more authentic. I think the fashion grew naturally out of different lifestyles; it was less intentional as it is today.

Where does your affinity for color come from?

I’m actually red-green colorblind. I think that's why I like saturated colors that I can really see. I also think people should wear more color not just black, grey and navy. It's exciting when you see someone mixing colors in a new creative way.

What’s next?

I’m currently working in design at Ralph Lauren, as I continue to develop my own line. I’m going to really focus on my hand-made sweaters and knits. Stay tuned!


Where are you from and how long have you been in New York?

Chengdu, China. 4 years in New York.

What do you want to express through your collection?

That people living in a big city, myself included, commonly suffer from anxiety. But maybe we shouldn't take it too seriously? I like to use animation as my reference for creating a visual representation of various emotions, like the wavy lines on my clothes. People shouldn’t be afraid to wear their feelings on their sleeve.

What did you gain from your experience with PROJECT?

I learned more about the business side of the fashion industry and what buyers are looking for in the market. It allowed me to really consider every aspect of my business before launching my brand, beyond my own design process.

You were recently named the Designer of the Year at Parsons for 2016. Congratulations! What’s next for Ming Peng?

I’m applying for an MA Program in fashion. I hope to gain more experience as a designer and continue to prepare myself for my own brand launch.


What made you want to pursue a career in fashion design?

My childhood was all about design, growing up with a father who is an architect and a mother who is a city planner. The urban environment was always something I explored from a young age. "Design, form and function" was a mantra that was instilled in me from a young age. 

Where do you see yourself in men’s streetwear?

I love the idea of blending the careless, effortless swagger of street style updated with incredible attention to detail, cut and style. I want to make garments that exude that street confidence but allow the wearer to feel comfortable in the office/at work or out for a killer night on the town.

Is there a designer you look up to?

John Varvatos has always been an inspiration to me because he just sticks to his guns. He makes cool clothes and doesn't over-think it.

What’s the simplest way to describe your brand?

Alpha-chic: masculine and refined. New American street wear.


How would you describe your customer? 

My customers are people who are humorous on the outside, intellectual on the inside. They can be easily approached by a hint of humor on my clothes, and a deeper conversation can be led by the meaning behind my humor.

I see a lot of Microsoft references in your clothes. How do they relate to your collection?

A worldly known philanthropist, Bill Gates’ purchase of the Ebola vaccine patent for his profit shows the ambivalence of human nature (that people should never judge a book by its cover). So, my collection not only talks about the pharmaceutical part of the virus, but also the sociopolitical aspect of it.

What is something you learned from your experience with PROJECT?

While Parsons has taught me how to be an individual as a designer, PROJECT has taught me how to work with others as a businessperson.

What’s the simplest way to describe your creative direction?

If Jeremy Scott and Thom Browne had a baby.

Credits: Production Hannah Huffman Grooming Robert Mefford (Jed Root) Production Assistant Andrew Nguyen Stylist Assistant Guadalupe Giordano Models Sam Clay (Major Models) Jan Carlos Diaz (Request Model Management)


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