MEET PARRON ALLEN

- - Sustainability

THE BROOKLYN-BASED SUSTAINABLE DESIGNER WHO IS

SAVING THE WORLD – ONE GARMENT AT A TIME

Parron Allen (Image courtesy: Parron Allen)

From Mississippi to Brooklyn…you’ve come a long way baby!!

Parron Allen Edwards-Stimola is a Brooklyn-based apparel designer and founder of the eponymous brand, Parron Allen. Parron’s design vision is inspired by his childhood in Lexington, Mississippi. His grandmother, Momma Ruth, expressed her spirit, love, and faith by sewing dresses for the women in her family. Parron witnessed these women shed some of Jim Crow’s burden in the simple yet thoughtful dresses that Momma Ruth made for them – smiling, twirling, and bantering about good things on days of rest. Momma Ruth made dresses as so many Black women did—with whatever materials were available—creating beauty from remnants long before upcycling began its march toward the mainstream.

Upcycled vest/shirt by Parron Allen (Image courtesy: Parron Allen)

Parron’s designs echo this joyous harmony of whimsy and practicality in a voice for the present moment, reclaiming the art of upcycling for his ancestors and creating inventive collections using fabric remnants, discarded textiles, and thrifted garments. Prior to founding his brand in 2021, Parron Allen studied design in the US and UK and honed his skills at Vera Wang, Ellen Tracy, and Rebecca Taylor.

Here’s a preview of the interview, but to watch the full 30-minute version, subscribe to University of Fashion (unless you are already a subscriber). Parron shares his journey: his design process; inspirational and rag resources; his connections and mentors; and the ups and downs of working for himself. You are going to absolutely fall in love with this guy!!!

If you are thinking of creating your own sustainable design brand, then you MUST watch this video interview. The interview is conducted by Noor Bchara of Upcycle Design School, a sustainable designer and former FIT student of UoF’s founder, Francesca Sterlacci. Noor has also contributed three lessons on sustainable design for University of Fashion.

Upcycled trench by Parron Allen (image courtesy Parron Allen)

Parron and one of his mentors – designer Rebecca Taylor (Image courtesy: Parron Allen)

In the interview, Parron answers the questions that all upstart sustainable designers want to know:

  • What inspired you to become a sustainable designer?
  • How did you get started?
  • Do you have a mentor?
  • Where do you get your materials?
  • Do you have funding?
  • What are your production resources?
  • How do you cost your designs?
  • How do you market your work?
  • Where do you sell your collection?
  • What are the challenges of being a sustainable designer?

Parron Allen in his design studio (Image courtesy: Parron Allen)

When asked about his production capabilities, Parron responded that he loves his ‘little sewing machine’, which he uses to do a lot of upcycling with garments that already exist. But when it comes to production, especially his newest pieces, he uses his friend Anita and her small-scale production facility. Parron’s knowledge of draping, pattern making and sewing, is one of his most important assets.

Parron Allen at his famous ‘little sewing machine’ (Image courtesy: Parron Allen)

Parron credits his sharp Instagram marketing skills, @parron.allen, and his sales acumen for the success he’s had in getting his collection into stores such as Art to Ware and Granru. He will also be announcing his own pop-up shop soon.

Art to Ware – one of Parron Allen’s retailers (Image courtesy: Parron Allen)

Granru – one of Parron Allen’s retailers (Image courtesy: Parron Allen)

Once you watch our interview with Parron Allen, you will see how not only is he a very talented designer but that his personality, passion and drive are the key to his success.

For more about Parron Allen:

Instagram: @parron.allen

Website: www.parronallen.com

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Francesca Sterlacci is the CEO of University of Fashion (UoF) which she founded in 2008 as the first online fashion video library bringing the art and craft of fashion design and business to schools, libraries, organizations and the general public. As owner of her eponymous label for ten years, her collection sold in fine stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Barneys and Nordstrom. As a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology for 11 years, she became Chair of the Fashion Design Department where she initiated the complete revision of their AAS and BFA degree programs, as well as wrote three certificate programs: Leather Fashion Design, Outerwear and Haute Couture. Francesca has also taught graduate level fashion design at the Academy of Art University San Francisco for six years, both on site and online. Her publishing accomplishments include: Leather Apparel Design, the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry (First and Second Editions), the A-Z of the Fashion Industry, Leather Fashion Design and a 3-volume beginner series on Draping, Pattern Making and Sewing designed to complement the UoF lessons. She has also made literary contributions to both the Encyclopedia of Clothing & Fashion and You Can Do It! The Merit Badge Handbook for Women. Francesca holds an AAS, BA and an MSEd (master’s degree in higher education).