Harcum College welcomed Philadelphia-based fashion designer and Haitian native Prajjé Oscar Jean-Baptiste, a Project Runway season 19 contestant, to the adjunct faculty ranks this year.
He taught his first class on the first day of the new academic year on August 29 on the garden floor terrace of the campus Art & Design Center.
Jean-Baptiste is perhaps best known for his glamorous evening dresses and luxurious fabrics with a design philosophy rooted in a commitment to tradition and savoir faire through simplicity and understated elegance. Last season, he was a fan favorite on Project Runway, one of Bravo’s most popular and enduring shows.
Prior to his faculty appointment, Jean-Baptiste had been deeply connected to Harcum fashion students for several years, conducting muslin critiques and doing final reviews of students’ clothing lines before capstone events such as student fashion shows and exhibitions.
Teaching at Harcum marks his first classroom experience, yet he was relaxed and wholly engaged with returning students gathered for FSH202, a required second-year class in which the budding creators of couture develop their professional portfolios.
During the class, Jean-Baptiste told students that a good portfolio is critical to their success. Because Harcum is an associate’s degree-granting school, he emphasized that graduates can be very proud of themselves because they “…will have accomplished in two years what took other students four years to do.”
He said he wanted to be involved in teaching the next generation of fashion designers because it stems from his dedication to the fashion industry. “These are the things you make time for,” Jean-Baptiste explained.
As an industry expert who has mentored Harcum students and critiqued their work, Jean-Baptiste appreciates the influence he can provide as an instructor, to provide what their work might be missing.
“I take mentorship seriously,” he said. “I have had and still have incredible mentors.”
He also understands the importance of digital media to promoting designers and selling the fashion industry, and has a fierce presence on numerous social media platforms. Prajjé Oscar Jean-Baptiste regularly features his designs on Instagram @prajjeoscar and has a lively presence on Facebook.