Fashionista Alumna Makes Waves

Maya Phillips, Opinion Editor

Since the age of 10, Emma Rubinson ’17 has always been making things. “It’s kind of just been the thing forever. I never considered doing anything else,” said Rubinson. At a young age, Rubinson began manipulating T-shirts. This involved painting them, making slashes in them, and weaving them together. Her interest only grew from there. While attending sleep-away camp ​​a close friend of hers had a fashion sketchbook. This prompted Rubinson to start sketching.

While in high school Rubinson remained interested in fashion but pursued other creative outlets. She began developing her portfolio as a junior and started taking classes at the New England Fashion Design Association. “The owner of that Studio is a Parsons professor and has since become one of my mentors,” said Rubinson. 

While at Masters, Rubinson organized an interactive installation on the third floor of the Fonseca Center. “I was really interested in exploring lighting and sound design in addition to creating garments … It was various different interactive activities so that the inspiration for the fashion designs wasn’t just manifested in the fashion designs. I wanted people to contribute to the experience.”  

Rubinson spent a total of  six months working on the project. “I hosted it like a party. I think there were about 300 people.” Rubinson organized three different rooms where she displayed her handmade garments. Rubinson asked people to donate their colorful T-shirts to her in order to make the dress. “It was such a great experience to bring people together and create an experience where people could step into another world and be a part of the work,” said Rubinson.  

Rubinson’s interest in psychology has been a big inspiration. “A lot of my collections are visually inspired by installation art, and conceptually inspired by psychological concepts. My entire thesis collection at fashion school was inspired by lucid dreaming,” said Rubinson. Rubinson researched artists who tried to capture that ethereal otherworldly experience. “The end goal is creating something outrageous,”  said Rubinson. I want them to embrace that feeling of  discomfort, but still express their personality and their true color.” 

Rubinson graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2021, with a degree in fashion design. She studied abroad in 2019 at Central St. Martins in London, UK and Santa Reparata International School of Design in Florence, Italy. 

Once Rubinson graduated from University, ​​she moved to  New York City. “I was working at a textile studio, dyeing fabric and color matching, which is very cool and very intense.” 

Recently Rubinson has taken steps to create her own personal brand. She has become a content creator. Her TikTok account @EmmaRubinsonOfficial has 240,000+ followers. She uses her account to share content on pattern making and sewing. On average she receives 30,000 views per video. In total she has also received 3.5 million likes. 

“I started making content with little to no effort thinking it’ll go viral.  I very quickly realized that that was not the case. It was going to take learning and effort. It was the middle of a pandemic and what else did I have to do – nothing.”

Rubinson was going into her senior year of college knowing she would work on her thesis collection. With this in mind, she thought she might as well develop a following so that she had an audience when she launched her collection. 

Rubinson started posting in around May or April of 2020. She hit 10,000 followers by August and by January she reached 100,000. “I kind of just kept growing from there. I  posted one tutorial video and that got me around 80,000 followers” said Rubinson. 

 “My whole thing has always been wanting people to come for their own experience. You want to gather an audience of people that are going to support you. And who wants to support you more than people who understand what it’s like to put in the work that you’re putting in? If you’re giving them resources and knowledge to help them achieve a similar thing, they’re going to be more likely to invest in you,”said Rubinson 

Though Rubinson is only 22, she has has already gained tremendous success as both a designer and content creator. She’s an inspiration to the Masters community and to other people who are drawn to her projects.