New York Fashion Week time is almost upon us once again! The Spring/Summer 2019 season kicks off September 6th, 2018 and CAAFD (The Council of Aspiring American Fashion Designers) has announced that Helena Bajaj Larsen will be a featured designer! Exact dates and times will be unveiled at a later date by CAAFD.
Helena Bajaj Larsen is a young designer who has quickly garnered a name for herself. The 23-year-old Parson’s graduate is the recipient of numerous accolades; including being shortlisted for the Grazia Young Fashion Achievers Award, being one of the top 20 finalist for the WGSN X ARTS THREAD Future Creator Award, as well as being selected as one of the five young brands of the Lakmé Gen Next Mumbai Fashion Week competition. And that’s just to name a few.
Larsen was born and raised in Paris. Frankly, given the designer’s childhood, it is no surprise that she would seek out a career in the arts. Her mother is a well-known painter, so it is fair to say that Larsen got plenty of arts exposure early on; “At a young age, I was already going to exhibitions and this subconsciously created/let me to develop a passion for the arts. I then chose to study design due to the fact that it is the only medium combing art and function,” says Larsen.
After receiving a Baccalaureate in Economics and Social Sciences from the Ecole Alsacienne with the highest distinctions, Larsen moved to New York to attend Parsons School of Design. It was here that she would major in Fashion Design. From the very beginning of her design education, Larsen has been fascinated with textiles, specifically their design as well as surface design. She even completed a semester abroad at London’s Central Saint Martins, where she completed a program based around Print design.
Like all design students, Larsen was expected to complete a senior thesis. Her choice? Larsen, who is half Indian and half Norwegian herself, chose Khadi, an Indian homespun cotton cloth. It is famous for being “the fabric of social change” as it played a role in the Indian Independence Movement that was led by Mahatma Gandhi.
A rather fitting focus for someone who could appreciate the intrigue of textiles: “My grandfather was a close associate of Gandhi…For my graduate collection, I spent the first months conducting a lot of research. I looked into my family history and that’s how I chose the Khadi cloth, as it both tied to my love of textiles and my family origins.”
After graduating last year, Larsen was chosen to attend a Design Fellowship in Haiti; partnering with Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation to develop a range of designs with local artisans.