DESIGNER: The Fashion Activist

Aparna Dasgupta is a self-styled fashion activist; she believes that clothing must accurately represent the soul. She finds inspiration in music, psychology, gender dynamics, period costume, novels, sci-fi, and action flicks.

Having received a Barbie coloring book at a young age, which told the story of how Barbie became a fashion designer in Paris, Aparna filled the pages with Crayola color, and the pages filled her head with dreams. Those dreams became something of an obsession, a goal for the aspiring designer who had yet to conquer middle school. Doodling her way through gradeschool, often in the margins of class notes, Aparna's focus earned her admission to the Fashion Institute of Technology's Fashion Design program. She left the quiet suburbs of Boston at the age of 17 to move to New York City on her own.

In her first year at FIT Aparna was chosen as a semifinalist for FUSION, pitting her and 14 other FIT students against 15 Parsons students (among them Alexander Wang). She presented a controversial set of styles in the 2003 show, showing the world that she intended to march to the beat of her own drummer. In the years that followed, she was awarded scholarships and accolades for her unique style and the impeccable, meticulous quality of her work. She was featured in Womens Wear Daily, placed 2nd at the Femmy Gala 2005 Student Design Contest, and earned internships with top intimate apparel designers and firms such as Flora Nikrooz, Wacoal, and Komar. Graduating with flair, her thesis runway piece - a sheer mesh ensemble of bodysuit and pants with a silk chiffon robe - was deemed too risque and was nearly pulled from the show. At the 11th hour, it was decided that it would remain in the lineup - and would be used for the class finale. Once again, Aparna proved that she was not one to follow the trend or the rules - she would lead by holding true to her vision.

It is this attitude and attention to uniqueness and transcending conventions - with the discretion as to where, when, and how one should step outside the box - that Aparna brings to the drawing table.

     /// DASGUPTA