The AAS in Fashion Design program is housed in the School of Fashion, alongside the AAS degree in Fashion Marketing, the BFA in Fashion Design, and the new MFA in Fashion Design and Society program. Students in the AAS Fashion Design program thrive on the intense yet flexible curricular paths that allow for customized courses of study, including some online classes. They may join their colleagues in the BFA Fashion Design program in some elective courses and contests, as they did recently in the Louis Vuitton Reconstruction competition and the Cesare Paciotti shoe design project. At periodic “tea times,” AAS fashion students meet informally with their school’s dean to discuss topics of interest. For all students, the School of Fashion provides a platform for exploring work in light of concerns about sustainability in the context of a global network of trends, markets, and manufacture and distribution channels.
A global fashion center, New York attracts industry leaders to the AAS faculty. Instructors develop coursework to challenge students both intellectually and practically, inviting guest lecturers and critics such as Carolina Herrera, alumnus Narciso Rodriguez, and Cathy Horyn to share work-world perspectives. Fashion Week affords students myriad opportunities to engage with the field, network, and see work.
Through courses, competitions, and collaborations with industry partners, students gain fashion experience with global firms to augment their own prior work experience. Recent projects include a class developed by Julia Poteat and James Mendolia to partner with Li Ning, a Beijing-based athletic sportswear firm for which AAS students will re-envision the brand and create looks, competing for a sponsored ten-day trip to China to meet representatives of the company. Italian accessories retailer Braccalini is partnering with AAS Fashion for a class to develop designs. AAS and BFA Fashion students are joining forces for Made in New York—Louis Vuitton’s high-profile initiative to promote local New York designers—the prestigious firm’s most recent collaboration with the School of Fashion. Love at First Sight is another collaborative venture in which alumni of AAS programs create pieces to be sold at Lord & Taylor stores.
Parsons’ Career Services [link] offers other key resources: The office organizes events such as its recent Careers in Fashion panel, which brought alums working in menswear, womenswear, footwear, and other segments of the industry to engage with AAS students. Career Services also helps program participants connect with a host of design resources. For example, those seeking internships or help bringing products to market can look to nonprofits like NY Designs, a business incubator for local design industries and entrepreneurs.
In the spirit of the rapid-fire, real-world Parsons learning experience, the Fashion Design program culminates in December graduates’ Midseason Preview Show and May graduates’ AAS Line Debut. Both are juried exhibitions. These events embody the program’s highest aspirations for unique design, couture construction, and global perspective.
The AAS Fashion Design program fast-tracks students to industry positions, but not without providing moments of scholarly reflection. The interdisciplinary program asks students to view fashion from social, cultural, historical, and economic perspectives, taking into consideration the industry’s global dimensions. Lecture series such as Rethinking Fashion bring experts to campus to speak on concerns like the role of sustainability in fashion. The Fabric of Cultures: Fashion, Identity, Globalization, a recent panel hosted at Parsons, explored the impact of fashion manufacturing on local and global economies, cultures, and identities, providing critical foundations to students’ studio work.