33-YEAR OLD SPECIAL OLYMPICS ATHLETE DANIEL FLETCHER IN DESIGN BY PARSONS SCHOOL OF DESIGN STUDENT WEIJING XIAO
“As designers in this over-consumption, over-production world, we are constantly thinking if what we’re doing is meaningful. What is my clothing contributing to the rest of the world? In this circumstance, I realized you can actually do something that moves people and makes people feel confident.”
— Weijing Xiao
PHOTOGRAPHS BY NIGEL BARKER
In January of 2020, a new course was introduced into the Parsons School of Design curriculum in partnership with Special Olympics. It was initiated through a connection with Special Olympics board member and fashion model Natalia Vodianova, and offered students the opportunity to create designs for Special Olympics athletes. Taking a collaborative approach, students and athletes worked to conceptualize, design, and create figure skating uniforms. The mission was to amplify the voice of Special Olympics across the world of sport, fashion, and education, and generate new possibilities for inclusion and social justice.
Proving so successful in its first year, the course was offered again in January of 2021. For this semester, students were given the assignment to design both tennis and track & field uniforms for the athletes. Celebrated fashion photographer and Special Olympics Champion Ambassador, Nigel Barker, served as a mentor throughout the design process. Read More