From international textile industry fairs to village stalls in Kenya, Luciana Scrutchen has crisscrossed the world in search of technically innovative, unique fabrics for her collection.
"Woven cloth is fascinating and plays an integral role in every culture, both in daily life and in ceremonial activities," says Scrutchen, director of the AAS Fashion Design program at Parsons The New School for Design. "From an early age, I've been intrigued by fabrics—ones with intricate prints, mesmerizing colors, and interesting textures."
Scrutchen also creates her own textiles, using techniques such as screen printing, felting, immersion dyeing, hand painting, and digital fabric technologies.
"I am passionate about researching and exploring processes that involve natural materials like plant, insect, and soil dyes," she explains. "I try to use traditional textile materials and be conscious of the impact they have on the environment."
A graduate and member of the Parsons community for more than a decade, Scrutchen has worked for major brands such as Victoria's Secret, Gap Inc., Juicy Couture, and Calvin Klein. She also oversees textile projects and serves as a consultant on digital fashion design.
Scrutchen believes that her perspective as an industry insider is as helpful to students as her creative experience and knowledge of global textile design.
"Whether they want to pursue careers in large fashion houses or launch one-person operations, emerging designers must understand the business in order to take advantage of the opportunities available to them," explains Scrutchen. "They must understand the decision-making process and be equipped to make informed, substantive contributions to those conversations."
In Scrutchen's course, students explore a range of methods used in fabric design and learn about their social and environmental impact. Students also have opportunities to discuss the aesthetic and ethical aspects of their work with industry professionals.
"I want students to explore who they want to be as designers, develop strong convictions about their practices, and then be able to design according to their beliefs and vision," says Scrutchen.