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 BFA Fashion community to see what students, faculty, and alumni are doing in NYC and around the world at parsons.edu/bfafashion.
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.
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.
In this major, you will have the opportunity to explore four pathways: Collection, Materiality, Fashion Product, and Systems & Society. These pathways are designed to enable you to develop a specialized, differentiated approach to fashion design that resonates with your personal interests. While all of the pathways share many fundamental practices of garment and collection development, research, materiality, and systems thinking, each one focuses on a specific area of fashion design. The Collection pathway challenges you to consider approaches to body, gender, age, and size in order to develop new narratives, definitions, and terminologies within a clearly defined visual aesthetic beyond traditional contexts. The Materiality pathway enables you to focus on the application of material and textile innovation to fashion design. Courses aim to help you generate new possibilities for fashion through the integration of new technologies and sustainable approaches with foundational methods of dyeing, knit, print, and weaving. The Fashion Product pathway provides you with the opportunity to build
connections between fashion and lifestyle, embracing craft methodologies and technological advances inclusive of AI and AR to develop a range of new products considering function, environmental context, and user needs. The Systems & Society pathway challenges you to critically assess fashion relates to contemporary issues facing society. In this pathway, you will explore how to use human-centered, systems design approaches in order to develop and actually construct new types of fashion systems and models that can make a positive impact on our world.
After completing the Fashion Design program, 89 percent of graduates found employment in the first year and 11 percent went on to other endeavors. You graduate ready to play 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.
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.
*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.
How will you redefine fashion in this changing world? BFA Fashion Design students dare to answer this question.
4 years, 120 credits
Full-time undergraduate major
A holistic degree program that immerses students in challenging studio courses, art history and critical theory, as well as the wider world of liberal arts. The course of study culminates in a thesis and qualifies alumni for further graduate study. Best suited to first-time college students.
1-2 years, 65 credits
Can be completed full-time or part-time
A professionally oriented course of study that provides essential foundation training and technical skills, enabling students to build a competitive portfolio and launch a new career in their chosen industry. Best suited to students who have previous college experience in an unrelated field and want to change careers.
Explore the AAS degree option
2 years, 60 credits
Full-time graduate program
A highly selective program that combines intensive studio-based projects with research and artistic exploration. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in fashion design and a substantial portfolio.
Explore the MFA degree option
All applicants are required to apply online using the
Common Application. 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
Fiona Dieffenbacher, Program Director, Fashion Product and Collection
Brendan McCarthy, Program Director, Fashion Systems and Materiality
School of Fashion
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