Parsons

Fashion Design (BFA)

  • This innovative program has trained five generations of designers who have shaped the global industry. Employing design thinking and creative problem-solving strategies, you explore form, silhouette, material, and process—including social and environmental imperatives—to create beautiful, sustainable, and responsible fashion for a complex and evolving field. You are encouraged to explore the broadest contexts and applications of the field.

    This program is part of Parsons' School of Fashion. Learn about the Fashion community and explore our blog to see what students, faculty, and alumni are doing in NYC and around the world.

    Read More About the ProgramRead Less

    Fashion Fundamentals

    Offered both in New York City and at Parsons Paris, the holistic design-led curriculum encompasses concept and research through 2D, 3D, and 4D processes. You learn to balance hand-making and digital skills with an integrated approach to design, which hones your technique as you refine your creative vision. Core courses emphasize self-discovery, and the curriculum includes instruction in visual communication strategies and  material research and employs a systems thinking approach to fashion. In art and design history and theory courses as well as related studio classes, you acquire essential research, writing, and critical reasoning skills while developing conceptual foundations for creative inquiry. Electives in subjects including business and media studies broaden your understanding of the industry and the cultural contexts of making.

    Refine Your Craft

    Your senior-year thesis is self-proposed and provides you with the opportunity to express your design philosophy in one of many formats, including a collection of garments or fashion products, material research, a written exploration of fashion-related social and cultural contexts, a documentary film, or a fashion presentation. Professional faculty, lecturers, and critics engage with you on creative, intellectual, and practical levels while external collaborative projects develop your design sensibility in an industry-focused context. Past partners include LVMH, Kering, Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, Gianfranco Ferré, Swarovski, Coach, and Luxottica.  

    Future Opportunities

    You graduate ready to serve a variety of roles within the professional field of fashion, including design, creative and research practice, styling, visual merchandising, textiles, marketing and public relations, and production.

  • Curriculum

    The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is awarded upon completion of 120 credits, as designated by the program. A maximum of 60 credits may be transferred from other institutions. Students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and fulfill all requirements in a timely manner.

    Note: This curriculum applies to students who enter Parsons as first-year students in fall 2013 and after. Current students who entered Parsons in a prior academic year and incoming and prospective transfer students with sophomore or junior standing should refer to the Parsons catalog appropriate to their catalog year. See Academic Policies for more details.

    First Year F S
    PUFY 1000 Integrative Studio 1 3 -
    PUFY 1010 Integrative Seminar 1 3 -
    PUFY 1100 Sustainable Systems* 3 -
    PUFY 1020 Space/Materiality** 3 -
    PUFY 1030 Drawing/Imaging** 3 -
    PUFY 1040 Time** - 3
    PUFY 1001 Integrative Studio 2 - 3
    PUFY 1011 Integrative Seminar 2 - 3
    PLHT 1000 Objects as History* - 3
    Program Elective
    - 3
    15 15
    Sophomore Year F S
    PUFD 2220 Design Studio 1 3 -
    PUFD 2230 Visual Communication Studio 1 3 -
    PUFD 2240 Creative Technical Studio 1 3 -
    PLFS 2040 History of Fashion: Lecture 0 -
    PLFS 2041 History of Fashion: Recitation 3 -
    PUFD 2221 Design Studio 2 - 3
    PUFD 2231 Visual Communication Studio 2 - 3
    PUFD 2241 Creative Technical Studio 2 - 3
    Program Electives
    3 3
    Liberal Arts Elective
    - 3
    15 15
    Junior Year F S
    PUFD 3320 Design Studio 3 3 -
    PUFD 3330 Specialized Studio 1 3 -
    PLFS 2050 Intro to Fashion Studies: Lecture 0 -
    PLFS 2051 Intro to Fashion Studies: Recitation 3 -
    PLFS 3500 Advanced Research Seminar: Fashion - 3
    PUFD 3321 Design Studio 4 - 3
    PUFD 3331 Specialized Studio 2 - 3
    Liberal Arts Electives
    3 3
    Program Electives
    3 3
    15 15
    Senior Year F S
    PUFD 4220 Thesis 1: Ideation 6 -
    PUFD 4221 Thesis 2: Resolution - 6
    Program Electives
    3 3
    Liberal Arts Electives
    3 3
    ULEC University Lecture Electives
    3 3
    15 15
    TOTAL CREDITS 120

    *Objects as History and Sustainable Systems can be taken in any sequence, one in the fall semester and one in the spring.

    **The three first-year studio courses—Drawing/Imaging, Space/Materiality, and Time—can be taken in any sequence, two in the fall semester and one in the spring.

    Faculty

    Program Contact

    Full Time Faculty

      See More Program Faculty

      Profiles

      Highlights

      Learn more about what Parsons students, faculty, and alumni are doing throughout the city and around the world.
      Explore the Fashion Community

      Alumni

      The following is a list of some notable program alumni:
      Claire McCardell
      Adrian
      Norman Norell
      Donna Karan
      Marc Jacobs
      Tracy Reese
      Anna Sui
      Isaac Mizrahi
      Narciso Rodriguez
      Mark Badgley and James Mischka
      Zang Toi
      Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez (Proenza Schouler)
      Behnaz Sarafpour
      Peter Som
      Doo Ri
      Derek Lam
      Chris Benz
      Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock (Vena Cava)
      Sonia Yoon and Benjamin Clyburn (Bensoni)
      Flora Gill and Alexa Adams (Ohne Titel)

      Admission Requirements

      Application and Financial Aid Deadlines

      1. Application Deadlines:
        • Fall Term Early Action Applicants: November 1
        • Fall Term Regular Priority Applicants: January 15
        • Fall Term Transfer Priority Applicants: March 15
        • Spring Term Priority Applicants: October 15
        • Spring Term Priority International Applicants: October 15
      2. Financial Aid Deadlines
        • All applicants admissible into our program are considered for a merit scholarship award that is determined by the strength of their application. Scholarship award notification is communicated at the same time as the admission decision. International students are eligible only for merit scholarships. If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, we encourage you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be found on the Web at www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA is available each year on January 1. (The New School’s federal school code is 002780.) You do not need to wait for an admission decision to apply for federal aid; we recommend submitting by our FAFSA priority deadlines:
        • Fall: March 1
        • Spring: November 1

      Application Instructions

      All applicants are required to apply online. Save your work frequently and print a copy for your records. You must complete all required fields and uploads prior to submission.

      Any additional supporting documents that need to be sent by mail must include an Application Materials Cover Sheet. All supporting materials must be received before your application can be reviewed.

      See below for additional information regarding submission of transcripts and recommendations.

      Some of your required materials will be submitted through SlideRoom:

      1. In addition to submitting the online application, you are required to submit the portfolio and Parsons Challenge through SlideRoom.
      2. Finalize your portfolio and Parsons Challenge at the time you submit your application. Doing this will help prevent any delays in reviewing your application, as we need to receive all required materials before we can place your application under review.
      3. Once you have submitted the required SlideRoom materials, a confirmation number will be emailed to you. Save this number for your records.

      Required Application Materials

      1. Application Form: Complete the online application. All applicants are required to apply online.
      2. Application Fee: A nonrefundable $50 application fee and a $10 SlideRoom fee, payable as part of the online application.
      3. Official Transcripts:
        All applicants must provide official high school and/or college transcripts. If you are currently in school, submit transcripts for all coursework taken to date. Applicants who have attended multiple high schools may submit only the graduating school’s official transcript as long as courses taken at previous schools are reflected on that transcript.

        Transfer Applicants: Transfer applicants who have completed fewer than 24 college credits (on a semester system) must submit high school transcript(s) in addition to college transcripts. Students who have completed any college coursework must apply as transfer students, regardless of whether they plan to apply those credits to their studies at Parsons. The following majors do not accept juniors: Design and Technology, Fashion, Integrated Design, and Product Design.

        By Mail: Official transcripts should have an original signature or a raised university seal, and must be in a sealed envelope that has been signed or stamped by the issuing university’s registrar or records office. Applicants can either send official transcripts with an Application Materials Cover Sheet or request that institutions send transcripts directly to The New School. See “Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials” for our mailing address in the Additional Instructions and Information section below.

        Electronic Transcripts (U.S./Domestic Institutions Only): The New School accepts electronic transcripts only from our approved vendors. The New School’s approved vendors, in order of preference, are
        • Naviance
        • Parchment Exchange
        • SCRIP-SAFE International
        • National Student Clearinghouse
        We do not accept electronic transcripts sent directly by a student or school offices. Note: All international academic credentials must be submitted as indicated in the International Academic Credentials sections below.

        High School Equivalency: For GED, TASC, and HiSET, send official test score results by postal mail.

        Homeschooling: Homeschool applicants must provide the equivalent of a high school transcript with course or subject titles, duration of study for each title, content of study for each title, and an assessment of performance or “grade.” Preferably, the courses completed at home are part of a curriculum developed and evaluated by a nationally recognized diploma-granting organization or agency. If not connected with such an organization, homeschool applicants must obtain and submit a GED as confirmation of completing a generally acceptable secondary school curriculum. If an official transcript from a state homeschool association or sponsoring public high school is not available, homeschool students must submit an equivalency or GED, TASC, or HiSET exam results. Individual homeschool transcripts with date of completion do not suffice as official proof of graduation.

        International Academic Credentials: All transcripts not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

        International Academic Credentials with Transfer Credits: Applicants who attended postsecondary institutions outside of the United States are required to have their transcript(s) evaluated by World Education Services (WES) or by another member of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES). A course-by-course evaluation must be prepared for each transcript. In the absence of an evaluation, the Admission Committee will do its best to render a decision. Please note: In some cases, a review cannot be made without an evaluation, and a committee decision will be delayed.

        If using WES, visit www.wes.org for instructions and to begin the application process. The “Required Documents” section will explain what to send. If you request your report online, search for “The New School” when selecting our institution. WES will send your completed evaluation directly to The New School.

        If using another NACES provider, follow instructions for that provider. Mailed evaluations and translations should be sent to the mailing address provided for supporting materials. Applicants forwarding these sealed documents should include an Application Materials Cover Sheet.
      4. Parsons Challenge: Choose any theme or concept and interpret it in three original pieces. Support each piece of art with an essay of approximately 250 words. The series you create should convey a conceptual and creative response to the subject matter. All forms of media are acceptable—drawing, video, photography, sculpture, 3D work, collage, digital images. You can choose to work in a single medium or vary the media. The Parsons Challenge helps the Admission Committee understand how a prospective student develops ideas, creates a theme, visually communicates that theme, and defends the work in writing.
      5. Portfolio: The portfolio must be completed in SlideRoom only. Freshman applicants should submit a portfolio of eight to 12 pieces. Portfolios can include drawings, paintings, photographs, digital media, design, three-dimensional work, Web design, animation, video, and other digital media. Transfer applicants should submit a portfolio of eight to 12 pieces in the area of interest.
      6. Artist Statement: What do you make, how do you make it, and why do you make? Ultimately, where do you visualize your creative abilities and academic study taking you after your education at Parsons? (Maximum 500 words.)
      7. Test Scores:
        SAT and ACT: The New School does not require submission of SAT or ACT scores for applications to be considered complete. Should you feel your SAT or ACT test scores are beneficial to your application, you may submit them for our consideration.  Note: Homeschool applicants must submit standardized test scores from either the SAT or the ACT. Homeschool applicants may submit two standardized subject test results in lieu of the SAT. The SAT institution code is 2638. The ACT code is 2854.

        TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE: All applicants whose first language is not English must submit valid TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores. The minimum score required for TOEFL (IB) is 92, for IELTS is 7.0, and for PTE is 63. Our TOEFL institution code is 2638.

        A TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score is not required for applicants
        • Whose primary language is English
        • Who have earned a secondary school diploma from a school where English is the primary language of instruction (undergraduate applicants only)
        • Who have earned a four-year degree from a U.S. college/university or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction
        Upon review of your application, the Office of Admission reserves the right to request a TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score.

        Arrange for the testing service to send your test scores directly to The New School using the institution codes listed above. We accept scores from the past two years. If your scores are older, you must retake the test. For more information, visit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE.

        Applicants also have the option of enrolling in The New School English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Students must pass Level 6 to waive the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE requirement. Visit the ESL website for more information.
      8. Letter of Recommendation: Applicants coming directly from high school must submit one recommendation from a teacher or college counselor. Students transferring from other colleges or universities must submit one recommendation from a professor with whom they have studied. Recommenders can submit recommendations online; instructions are included with the online application. If preferred, the recommendation form can instead be sent by mail in a signed, sealed envelope. To send by mail, download the PDF recommendation form found in the online application, complete the personal information, save the form, and forward it to the recommender for completion and submission. Applicants can also send signed and sealed recommendations to the Office of Admission using an Application Materials Cover Sheet.

      Additional Information and Instructions

      1. Applying to More Than One Program: In any given term, a student can apply to only one department or program within The New School. Applicants who file more than one application in a given semester will be required to withdraw one of the applications, and application fees will not be refunded.
      2. Application Materials: All materials submitted in association with The New School application become the property of The New School and cannot be returned to you or transmitted to a third party.
      3. Advanced-Level Credit: AP, IB, and A-Level Courses: Accepted applicants will receive further instructions later in the process regarding AP, IB, and A-Level scores.
      4. Test Score Codes:
        • TOEFL: The institution code is 2638.
        • SAT and AP: The institution code is 2638.
        • ACT: The institution code is 2854.
      5. Application Status: Applications become complete and ready for review once all required items have been received by the Office of Admission. You can check your application status online at the Admission Hub.

        Allow at least 14 days from the date you submitted your application for items to be matched and shown as received on the Hub. Applicants are responsible for following up with schools and recommenders to confirm that items have been sent.

        The Office of Admission will periodically notify applicants by email if their file is missing any documents and again when their file is complete for review. These notifications are sent to the email address provided in the online application.
      6. Interviews: Interviews are not required. Applicants with questions about Parsons or the admission process are encouraged to attend an information session. Please review the Admission Calendar for dates and times.
      7. Homeschool Applicants: The New School welcomes applications from homeschool students. The Admission Committee does not require advanced preparation in every academic area, but applicants should demonstrate substantial work in English, history, social studies, foreign language, mathematics, and science.
      8. Readmission: If you are applying for readmission, please complete the Application for Readmission and follow the submission instructions.
      9. Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials:
        Parsons School of Design
        Office of Admission (PS 100)
        79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
        New York, NY 10003
       
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