The New School Archives Digital Collections

Related people/organizations

Kay Unger (interviewee)
Joel E. Towers (interviewer)
Wendy Scheir (interviewer)
New School (New York, N.Y.). New School Archives and Special Collections (publisher)
Parsons School of Design (subject)
Office of the Dean Parsons School of Design (producer)

Date

16 Oct 2013

Subject Heading

Universities and colleges--Alumni and alumnae [info:lc/authorities/subjects/sh85141093]

Location:

Parsons Institutional Collections

Identifier:

PC070103_Unger_20131016

MLA Citation:

Audio interview with Kay Unger. 16 Oct 2013. Parsons School of Design Dean's Office Oral History Project. New School Archives and Special Collections Digital Archive. Web. 20 Sep 2017

Description TRANSCRIPT


In this audio recording, fashion designer Kay Unger discusses her childhood, professional career, and life as a Parsons School of Design student with Joel Towers, Executive Dean of Parsons The New School for Design, and Wendy Scheir, director of the New School Archives and Special Collections. The interview begins with Unger describing her family and creative influences, such as an early interest in fine arts. She then describes life as a Parsons student in the mid- to late-1960s, including both regrets and positive experiences, as well what it was like living alone in Manhattan as a young woman. Unger speaks about studying under Ann Keagy and Frank Rizzo, and the close bonds that were forged between her and her fellow students, including Willi Smith and her lifelong friend Michaele Vollbracht. The interview continues with a discussion of the challenges that she faced while working for established designers such as Geoffrey Beene after graduation, as well as the successes and failures that came along with running her own businesses, starting in the early 1970s with her namesake label and the Gillian Group. After speaking about what it was like to lose ownership of her name due to financial issues, Unger and Towers discuss her current projects and how she has transitioned into leadership roles, including her current position as chair of the Parsons Board of Governors. The interview took place in the Dean’s office at Parsons The New School for Design, 66 Fifth Avenue, New York City.