Titled, “We Dem Kids”, Drouillard intended to honor the cultural influences of his heritage as a Haitian-American bred in Flatbush, and the 15 pupils he mentored as professor at his alma mater. This manifestation began with a quote from American literary and cultural agent, James Baldwin: “To any citizen of this country who figures himself as responsible – and particularly those of you who deal with the minds and hearts of young people – must be prepared to “go for broke.” These words shaped the self-mythology Drouillard encouraged his students to pursue. “I teach my students to put their ideas out there–with care, respect and intention. It is my duty to make sure that those who enter my class leave a little bit more true to their artistry and committed to their vision. This activation serves as a tribute to the bonds that span generations and serves as a reminder that our past experiences sculpt our present and guide our future.”
In a symphony of live performances by saxophonist, Marvin Carter, Courtney “Mac” McFadden, and poet, Sean Slaughter, the cadence of the show was reminiscent of The City’s spirit amidst a weeklong excursion into local fashions. Divided into 3 chapters, “Gen 12” (as the designers abbreviate) honored heritage, futurism, and nostalgia rich with social commentary on isolation and joy. Ushering in the next fashion epoch, the graduates make a crucial declaration on human connection, and our societies inevitable demise without it. The parable of Gen 12 brings a metaphysical disruption to the current state of fashion. Nevertheless successful in capturing the essence of a post-pandemic and youth culture, the collections left us wondering: maybe the kids are alright? We spoke to Gen 12 to prove us right.