the 70th annual parsons benefit raises $2.26 Million for scholarships at the new school

Parsons Honored Solange as a Pioneering Figure in Fashion, Creativity, and Innovation

Gucci and Farfetch Announced Student Scholarships During the Annual Event

L-R: Honorees Marco Bizzarri, Solange Knowles, José Neves

NEW YORK, May 22, 2018— The New School honored Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter and visual artist, Solange Knowles, Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci, and José Neves, CEO and Founder of Farfetch at the 70th Annual Parsons Benefit for embodying the university’s dedication to creativity and innovation as well as their exceptional commitment to educational and charitable initiatives. The event, which is hosted in collaboration with the College of Performing Arts at The New School, was held at Pier Sixty in New York.

The program featured special video presentations by Pharrell, Missy Elliott, and Erykah Badu along with remarks by Vince Staples in honor of Solange’s impact as a pioneering figure in fashion and art. Dev Hynes and Kelela were also in attendance to help her celebrate. 

“Parsons and The New School, I can’t put into words how overwhelmingly awesome this is and how humbled and honored I am,” said Solange while accepting the award. “What a beautiful night. I’m eternally grateful!” Solange wore Parsons alum and current faculty Shanel Campbell, MFA Fashion Design and Society '17.

Celebrating its 70th year, the perennial event is a New York fashion calendar highlight and introduces the next generation of fashion design leaders, honors icons in the field, and raises instrumental funds for student scholarships. The 2018 Benefit raised $2.26 million in scholarships. During the evening, Gucci and Farfetch both announced scholarship funds for students.

"It was an honor to celebrate Solange, Marco, and José, who are all leaders in their fields, and have empowered young designers and artists through their incredible work,” said Joel Towers, Executive Dean of Parsons School of Design. 

Following a performance featuring fashion collections by graduating students, Burak Cakmak, Dean of the School of Fashion, announced the 2018 Designer of the Year awards in the below categories. This year’s recipients are:

  • Social Innovation: Claudia Poh and Amy Yu Chen
  • Fashion + Technology: Gal Yakobovitch
  • Future Textiles: Sydney Loew
  • Creative Systems: William Stautberg

The evening’s program was hosted by model Hilary Rhoda, and featured the Arta Jekabsone Quintet, a group of five students from The School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at The New School.

The Benefit also marked the launch of WeWork x Parsons Design Lab – a first-of-its-kind partnership to drive innovation and collaboration in the industry. As partners, WeWork and Parsons will build a dedicated space for designers, stylists, and other artists inside of WeWork Labs, the company's home for early-stage startups. To launch the partnership, the Designer of the Year recipients will be given WeWork Labs memberships for one year, providing them with the space, global community and educational resources to help jump-start their careers.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Parsons to create our first-ever design lab," said Roee Adler, Global Head of WeWorkLabs. "As the preeminent school of fashion, Parsons has trained five generations of designers who have shaped the global industry. At WeWork, we have always believed deeply in the power of design to inspire and engage people, so we are naturally excited to be supporting the next generation of creative innovators."

Past honorees include Rihanna, Eileen Fisher, Donna Karan, Arianna Huffington, Sarah Jessica Parker, Marc Jacobs and LVMH, and Jason Wu and Hugo Boss.


About Solange | This recognition is the latest in Solange’s heavily esteemed career. In the past year Solange has been recognized with a Grammy, Glamour’s Woman of the Year Award, Billboard’s Impact Award, and Harvard University’s Artist of the Year Award.

From her critically acclaimed album, A Seat at the Table, to performing for President Obama at the White House as well as her performance art shows at the Guggenheim Museum, the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, and art installation at London’s Tate Modern Museum, Solange has established herself as a visionary within the music, fashion and visual art spaces. 

Solange’s latest showing took place in April at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, where she premiered Metatronia (Metatron's Cube), 2018; an interdisciplinary video and dance performance piece.

The video features a new sculpture, Metatron’s Cube, 2018; conceptualized and created by Solange. The sculpture will be showcased at select locations across the United States this summer.

About The New School

Imagine a university where scholars, artists, and designers find the support they need to challenge convention and fearlessly create positive change in the world. Imagine a community where walls between disciplines are dissolved, so journalists collaborate with designers, architects with social researchers, media specialists with activists, poets with musicians. Imagine an intellectual and creative haven that never has and never will settle for status quo. In 1919, a few great minds imagined a school that would rethink the purpose of higher learning. The New School was the result. Today, it is the only comprehensive university housing a world-famous design school, a premier liberal arts college, a renowned performing arts college, a legendary social research school, and many more schools and programs designed for students of every age and stage of life. No other university offers a more creatively inspired, rigorously relevant education. Their academic centers in New York City, Paris, Shanghai, and Mumbai offer more than 10,000 students more than 135 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

The New School's Parsons School of Design is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines, as well as online courses, degree and certificate programs. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century.

The New School’s College of Performing Arts (CoPA), formed in the fall of 2015, brings together Mannes School of Music, the iconic 100-year-old conservatory; the legendary New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, and the innovative and ground-breaking School of Drama. With each school contributing its unique culture of excellence, the College of Performing Arts creates opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration, innovative education, and world-class performances. As part of the formation of The College, Mannes has moved into the newly renovated Arnhold Hall in Greenwich Village, a state-of-the-art facility designed especially for the performing arts. Also housed in Arnhold Hall are The School of Jazz and the School of Drama’s BFA program. As a part of The New School, students and faculty across the College of Performing Arts experience a supportive and rigorous environment with enhanced opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in a wide array of disciplines, from the visual arts and fashion design, to the social sciences, to public policy and advocacy, and more. CoPA has over 900 degree and diploma seeking students, including a variety of programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as an additional 400 pre-college students at Mannes Prep.

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Media Contacts:

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