For menswear designer Michael Yip, whose budding label is called K’Yan Yip, safety and preservation are central themes. In his last collection, the soon-to-be Parsons graduate looked to beetles and samurai armor. His six-look, 16-piece thesis collection is inspired by baroque religious imagery—from gargoyles (the charcoal grey, black palette, and felt material) to the carvings on church columns (a recurring embossed motif is prominently featured on a long-sleeved top, the back of an open jacket, and the side of a pair of layered trousers) to ecclesiastical garments (reflected in the drape and shape of the clothing). “I’m really insecure in a lot of things I do, so I really want to be protected,” Yip explains. “I feel quite protected when I’m in the presence of gargoyles.”

By Emma Brown, photography Michael Schwartz.

“I like to call myself a pre-modernist designer,” Yip continues. “The post-modernist designer is like Raf Simons or Craig Green—they take an idea and run with it, rather than a concept.” Pre-modernists, he explains, focus on concept: “Like Alexander McQueen and Nicolas Ghesquiere back in the heyday of 2007, 8, 9.”

This month, Yip, who will turn 22 in a few weeks and is extremely affable in person, will graduate from Parsons’ menswear program and he’s in a pretty enviable position. During his time at school, he’s received prizes and grants from Hugo Boss, Swarovski, and Linea Pella, and is nominated for his university’s “Menswear Designer of the Year” award.