Q&A with Brigitte Conti
Born in France, Brigitte Conti also lived in both Los Angeles and England before settling in New York City. The self-taught designer graduated from Parsons with an AAS degree in 1995 at 40 years old. Now, her time is split between teaching at Parsons and Design Consulting.
Having lived abroad for many years, what made you want to study fashion at Parsons?
Coming to New York in 1994 was my second life. Living abroad, I spent time decorating and making clothing, especially in England. I learned by myself. My move to New York was a new page in my life. One day my husband came home with catalogues from Parsons, and that’s how I got started.
After you graduated you started two labels: Brigitte Conti and Manouche. What made you want to return to Parsons to teach?
Teaching is the best way to improve and go further in your knowledge. Parsons is an incredible school where you can interact with students from all over the world. In some ways, they have been my tutors. They come with their own culture; their own sense of how they see things.
You teach Construction 1, Construction 3 and Fashion Techniques: Couture. What can we look forward to in your classes?
Construction 1 starts from the ground up. I give my students some shortcuts to avoid the maximum amount of frustration, because with my experience I know now why things will work –or not work. Also, I like to see the sewing as a source of inspiration for new design. In Construction 3, I like to see the students play with construction techniques and use them as a design tool. I like to stimulate them to see things outside of the box. Finally, in Fashion Techniques, we follow all of the steps a designer goes through when they’re designing. I work to give tips to get to “the idea”, playing with concepts, textures, and construction details.
What advice can you give to aspiring designers?
Don’t just do what you know. Extrapolate your knowledge and go further. Speak with your heart, because you must love what you are doing. Be true to yourself and then you will never be boring! -Carina Sweibel, AAS Fashion Marketing
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