Samantha Sutton

Safilo Group and The New School’s Parsons School of Design celebrated their Safilo x Parsons Design Thesis Competition partnership earlier this year during the school’s 69th Annual Benefit and Gala on May 22nd. Student finalist Olivia Le Blanc was presented with the Safilo Award and a $5,000 prize and four of the six Safilo prototypes were featured in the school’s runway fashion show which was attended by Rihanna and many other key players in the fashion industry.

Safilo and Parsons had provided six thesis-level BFA students with the opportunity to design eyewear as a pivotal component of their final thesis work and see their prototyped designs come to fruition through the oversight of Safilo designers and Parson’s School of Fashion faculty.  The results of the students’ work were proudly on display at Vision Expo East.

A celebration of the up-and-coming designers of the next generation, the Safilo x Parsons Design Thesis competition underscores design and product excellence which echoes Safilo Group’s purpose as a design inspired and brand led eyewear manufacturer with product at the heart of its transformative 2020 corporate strategic plan.

The Safilo x Parsons Design Thesis Competition builds not only on the value that Safilo places on eyewear and the company’s ongoing commitment to preserve eyewear craftsmanship, but also on Safilo’s commitment to educate younger generations by passing down the art of eyewear as the company has done with its Safilo Product School which was inaugurated in 2015 as an apprenticeship program.

The six students were chosen from a number of senior candidates who submitted their designs through Parsons and went through a screening process coordinated by Alessandro Marcer, VP, Creative Director of Safilo USA who heads the company’s New York design studio and Vladimiro Baldin, Chief Design Product Officer of Safilo Group.  The six students are: Samantha Sutton, Ji Hyun Myung, Olivia LeBlanc (winner), Eun Byul Kim, Myung Eun Cha and Seh Yoon Lee.

Eun Byul Kim
Ji Hyun Myrung
Myung Eun Cha
Image: Safilo: NEW YORK, NY – MAY 22: A model walks the runway during the 69th Annual Parsons Benefit at Pier 60 on May 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images for The New School)
Olivia LeBlanc
Image:Safilo NEW YORK, NY – MAY 22: A model walks the runway during the 69th Annual Parsons Benefit at Pier 60 on May 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images for The New School)
Samantha Sutton
Seh Yoon Lee

Marcer coached the six students throughout the entire process working closely with Safilo CAD engineering to perfect all aesthetic functional and technical elements of their designs to then see their creations brought to life by Safilo atelier.

About Parsons

The New School’s Parsons School of Design is a global leader in design education, with programs that span the disciplines of design and the fine arts. With the launch of its fashion design program in 1906, Parsons is credited with the rise of Seventh Avenue, the epicenter of American fashion. Parsons offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design, Associate degrees in Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing, and a Master of Fine Arts Program in Fashion Design and Society initiated through the support of Parsons alumna Donna Karan. Parsons has educated generations of leading American fashion designers, including Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Isaac Mizrahi, Tracy Reese, Narciso Rodriguez, Anna Sui, Prabal Gurung, Derek Lam, Proenza Schouler, Vena Cava, Alexander Wang and Jason Wu. For more information, visit

About Safilo Group

Safilo Group is the fully integrated Italian eyewear creator and worldwide distributor of quality and trust, leader in the premium sector for sunglasses, optical frames and sports eyewear. Design inspired and brand driven, Safilo translates extraordinary design into excellent products created thanks to superior craftsmanship expertise dating back to 1878. With an extensive wholly owned global distribution network in 38 countries – in North and Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific and China – Safilo is committed to quality distribution of its products all around the world. Safilo’s portfolio encompasses Carrera, Polaroid, Smith, Safilo, Oxydo, Dior, Dior Homme, Fendi, Banana Republic, Bobbi Brown, BOSS, BOSS Orange, Céline, Elie Saab, Fossil, Givenchy, havaianas, Jack Spade, Jimmy Choo, Juicy Couture, kate spade new york, Liz Claiborne, Marc Jacobs, Max Mara, Max&Co., Pierre Cardin, Saks Fifth Avenue, Swatch, and Tommy Hilfiger.