Helena Bajaj Larsen

Grey Sheep

Website

helenabajajlarsen.com

Location

paris / france

University

parsons school of design

Graduation year

2017

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22-year old designer Helena Bajaj Larsen was born and raised in Paris by an Indian
painter (Sujata Bajaj) and a Norwegian academic. After receiving a Baccalaureate in
Economics and Social Sciences from the Ecole Alsacienne with highest distinctions,
she left Paris to move to New York and attend Parsons School of Design.

Her focus from the start has been on textile design and the exploration of surface
through print, knit and various other techniques. Although enrolled in the Fashion
Design BFA, she attended Central St Martins in London for a semester abroad in a
program centered solely on Print Design. Outside school, she tried to develop textile
related skills as much as she could through internships (Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna,
Mary Katrantzou for Embroidery, Thakoon) and workshops in India.

When her final year at Parsons came around, students were asked to create a senior
thesis which told a story but also showcased the range of skills they had acquired
over four years in school. Helena chose the topic of khadi. Khadi constitutes an Indian
homespun cotton cloth often referred to as “the fabric of social change” due to its
crucial role in the Indian Independence movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. Her thesis
by this very name is a contemporary take on an old story which is both close to her
heart as it reflects her family history but also embodies her passionate relationship to
textiles.

The fabrics for the collection were sourced from Khadi shops around India and hand-
painted using acid and pigment dyes on a variety of silks and other materials. In parallel,
Helena began exploring metal work as part of an elective at school and decided to
present a jewelry collection focused on surface alterations as a part of her thesis.

During the last few weeks of her final year at Parsons she was a finalist for the Eyes on Talent Award, the Parsons Future Textiles Award, the YOOXIGEN by Net-a-Porter Award, the and the HUGO BOSS Innovating Impact competition. Additionally, she was selected for the CFDA Fashion Future Graduate Showcase which resulted in an exhibition of the work by 69 chosen (by the Fashion Design Council of America) design graduates across the US across fashion, textiles and jewelry.

Following graduation this past May, she was given the opportunity to apply for a
Design fellowship in Haiti led by Donna Karan and in partnership with Rihanna's Clara
Lionel Foundation. Fortunately, she was one of the three students chosen to go
down to Haiti for the summer and develop a range of products with the local artisans
at a design training center in Port-au-Prince. It was an eye-opening experience
as she was given the chance to work with materials she had never used before such
as horn, leather, ceramics, wood, etc. She was also able to explore products that were
outside the range of fashion apparel, mostly corresponding to home interiors and
accessories leading her to consider fields such as industrial design and interior design
as possible areas to further pursue as well, along with fashion, textiles and jewelry.

This September, she received the opportunity to film a television episode onboard the Queen Mary 2 Ship for the show Vacation Creation, airing on ABC. The ship was doing a special "Transatlantic Fashion Week" trip during the first week of September and the show was looking to pair the voyage with a young Parsons graduate for their episode. Additionally, she was one of the six Parsons graduates invited to participate in a fashion show onboard which over 400 people attended.

Recently, Helena was shortlisted as one of the top 20 finalists for the WGSN X ARTS
THREAD Future Creator Award as well as one of the 5 selected young brands of the Lakmé Gen Next Mumbai Fashion Week competition. Each
season they select 5 young designers to showcase their work among established Indian
designers at the country’s largest fashion event. At the end of this month she will be
launching a line of home products with the concept store Comptoir 102 in Dubai – the
launch will be done in collaboration with Art Dubai, the biggest art fair in the region.
She was also selected for the iD International Emerging Designer Awards 2018 and as a
finalist, will be presenting her collection in New Zealand in May. Additionally, in
September she will be showcasing at New York Fashion Week thanks to sponsorship
by the CAAFD (Council of Aspiring American Fashion Designers).

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