Fashion is a system that brings together material resources, human capital, and artistic vision in a single garment. And that garment's cultural reception, dissemination through the marketplace, and ultimate disposal involves an equally complex chain of activity.
The MFA Fashion Design and Society at Parsons The New School for Design is the first graduate program of its kind in the United States. Both interdisciplinary and international in scope, this academy for advanced studies in fashion design will train a small cadre of world-class designers to have a global understanding of fashion. Innovative and progressive, Fashion Design and Society will offer students the opportunity to make substantive contributions—both professional and conceptual—to the field of fashion design.
The program was initiated with the support of Parsons alumna Donna Karan, whose own career reflects a broad view of fashion that has transformed the field.
Aiming to bridge the gap between industry and education, the MFA Fashion Design and Society program reframes fashion design education within the context of the global political economy. Students learn to consider design, production, and distribution cycles as well as social, critical, and ecological dimensions of fashion in self-directed projects supported by the fashion industry.
The program combines intensive studio-based projects with design research. Areas of research include sustainability, globalism, media studies, social sciences, and management. Its interdisciplinary approach broadens students' understanding of fashion in context. Its emphasis on new technologies in fabrics and construction enables students to develop into outstanding designers and leaders in the field.
Supplementary classes in filmmaking, presentation, and photography expand students' visual design language and communication skills. This coursework also prepares them for the collaborative environments typical of professional workplaces.
Students also have access to the catalog of studies at The New School, a leading university in New York City.