/ by andrea li

“I am what I am.” This is the phrase scrawled across the cuffed hem of design student Jiapei Li’s white pants (above), which are currently on view at Parsons The New School For Design’s MFA Fashion Design and Society exhibition in the Gucci building on Fifth Avenue. In fact, the existential sentence is the title of her sculpted graduate collection, set to march down the runway at the Parsons MFA show during New York fashion week in September. Li, a 23-year-old talent hailing from China, impressed with her oversize neoprene and mesh wares, each of which fused impeccable construction with forward-thinking, flirty flare and sporty wearability. “I started by making things that I don’t like,” she told us at the exhibit’s opening last week, gesturing to a gridded pastel purple pencil skirt. “And I turned them into things I like. It was all about finding myself and my own design identity.”