Fashion colleges across the country this year have canceled their senior thesis collection shows — a tradition that many graduating students weigh heavier than commencement. These longstanding shows, typically held en masse in mid-May, act as a young designer’s coming-out party to the industry — with some standout collections even leading to immediate store orders or jobs with prestigious labels.
The class of 2020 has seen this tradition upended by the coronavirus crisis. In mid-March, many students moved back to their childhood homes to complete their thesis collections and finish coursework remotely. They were left with limited materials and equipment — forcing some to alter their collections and adapt to their surroundings. For students now living at home, it remains unclear when they can resume an independent life and look for job opportunities.
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Lisa Morgan, department head for apparel design at the Rhode Island School of Design, told WWD last month that both educators and students find the current situation, “profoundly and deeply distressing. Every year you work with these students and they leave. Even though it’s a little upsetting you have completed a cycle and this year the cycle was