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.

    Explore the BFA Fashion Design community to see what students, faculty, and alumni are doing in NYC and around the world at parsons.edu/bfafashion. This program is part of Parsons' School of Fashion.

    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.

    Pathways

    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.

    Future Opportunities

    Students 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.

  • Student Work

    See More Student Work From the Program

    Curriculum

    The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is awarded for completion of 120 credits as designated by the program. A maximum of 60 credits may be transferred from another institution. Students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA and fulfill all requirements in a timely manner.

    To view degree requirements from prior years, visit the Academic Catalogs archive.

    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 -
    PLFS 2050 Intro to Fashion Studies: Lecture - 0
    PLFS 2051 Intro to Fashion Studies: 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
    15 15
    Junior Year F S
    PUFD 3320 Design Studio 3 3 -
    PUFD 3330 Specialized Studio 1 3 -
    PLFS 3500 Advanced Research Seminar: Fashion - 3
    PUFD 3321 Design Studio 4 - 3
    PUFD 3331 Specialized Studio 2 - 3
    ULEC University Lecture Electives
    3 3
    Liberal Arts Electives
    3 3
    Program Electives
    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
    6 6
    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.

    BA/BFA students completing a BFA in Fashion Design: Please see the complete BA/BFA curriculum chart here.

    Faculty

    Program Contact

    • Neil Gilks, Program Director, Fashion Product and Collection
    • Brendan McCarthy, Program Director, Fashion Systems and Materiality

    Full-Time Faculty

      See More Program Faculty

      Featured Video

      How will you redefine fashion in this changing world? BFA Fashion Design students dare to answer this question.

      Profiles

      Career Pathways

      Program alumni work in a range of capacities, from design to management to communications, for leading fashion firms including the ones shown below.

      Alexander Wang
      Byronesque
      Calvin Klein
      Coach
      EILEEN FISHER, INC.
      Free People
      Hearst Magazines
      Hood By Air
      Le Book
      Madewell
      Nike
      Rigby and Peller
      Samsung
      The Row
      Theory
      Thom Browne, Inc.
      TSE
      V Files

      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)

      Degree Program Options

      Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Fashion Design

      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.

      Associate’s Degree (AAS) in Fashion Design

      3-4 semesters, 60 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

      Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Fashion Design and Society

      2 years, 60 credits

      Full-time graduate program

      A highly selective program that combines intensive studio-based projects with research and artistic exploration. Successful candidates typically have a bachelor’s degree in fashion design and a substantial portfolio.

      Explore the MFA degree option

      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: April 1
        • Spring Term Priority Applicants: October 15
      2. Financial Aid Deadlines
        • Merit Scholarships:
          All admitted students are considered for merit scholarship awards determined by the strength of their applications. International students are eligible only for merit scholarships.
        • Federal Student Aid:
          If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, we encourage you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be found at www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA is available each year on October 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. Submit your FAFSA by our FAFSA Priority Deadlines below.

          Fall: February 1
          Spring: November 1

      Application Instructions

      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 SlideRoom:

      1. In addition to submitting the Common 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 Common Application. All applicants are required to apply online.
      2. Application Fee: Application Fee Application fees are $50 for U.S. domestic applicants, and $75 for international applicants. Application fees are paid through the Common App and are non-refundable. There is also a $10 SlideRoom fee.
      3. Official Transcripts:
        First Year Applicants:First year applicants must provide an 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 can submit only the graduating school’s official transcript as long as all prior coursework is listed on that transcript.

        Transfer Applicants: Transfer applicants must submit an official high school/secondary school transcript with graduation date or General Education Diploma (GED). Official transcripts are also required for each college or university you have previously attended.

        Homeschool Applicants: 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” at the time of application. Preferably, the courses completed at home are part of a curriculum developed and evaluated by a nationally recognized diploma-granting organization or agency. Review the Additional Information for Homeschool Applicants section below for more information.

        Applicants With High School Equivalency Tests: Send official GED, TASC, and HiSET test score results via the testing agency. Upon review, applicants may be required to submit additional application materials.

        Submitting Transcripts By Mail: Applicants should make arrangements to have their school/college send transcripts directly to The New School at the mailing address for Supplemental Materials. All transcripts must be received in a sealed envelope with a school official’s signature, stamp or seal. All documents not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

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

        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), Education Credential Evaluators (ECE), or by another member of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES). A course-by-course evaluation must be prepared for each transcript.

        Follow all document requirements as outlined on the evaluation service providers’ websites. Evaluations completed by WES or ECE will be sent directly to us electronically by the vendor.

        All other NACES provider evaluation should be mailed directly by the vendor to the address for Supplemental Materials. A copy of the transcript which was evaluated should accompany the evaluation in the same sealed envelope or the official transcript should be sent directly to The New School by the issuing college/university.
      4. Parsons Challenge: Create a new visual work inspired by the theme within a piece submitted in your portfolio.  Support your process by writing one 500 word essay describing how your ideas developed. You may also submit up to two additional visual  pieces that document your process.  All forms of media are acceptable—drawing, video, photography, sculpture, 3D work, collage, and digital images. The Parsons Challenge helps the Admission Committee understand how a prospective student develops ideas, visually communicates those ideas, and defends the work in writing. The Parsons Challenge is completed in SlideRoom along with the portfolio.
      5. Portfolio: The portfolio must be completed in SlideRoom only. Freshman and transfer applicants must submit a portfolio of eight to 12 images. Portfolios can include a range of media such as drawing, painting, sculpture, fashion design, animation, performance, graphic design, or sketchbook pages. We encourage you to show experimentation and breadth, and the portfolio does not need to specifically address the major to which you are applying.
      6. Essay: The New School brings together a dynamic group of students interested in art, design, performing arts, entrepreneurship, and critical thought. We would like to know more about your interest in joining our community and why you would be a good fit for The New School. We are particularly interested in knowing what will make you a valuable member of your specific school, college, program, area of study, or campus. (500-600 words)
      7. Test Scores:

        SAT and ACT: The New School does not require submission of SAT, SAT Subject Tests or ACT scores for applications to be considered complete. Should you feel your SAT, SAT Subject Test or ACT test scores are beneficial to your application, you may submit them for our consideration. 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.

        The New School does not require TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores for applicants who have:

        • Attended a secondary school for a minimum of three years where English is the primary language of instruction. However, students who have taken any English as a Second Language (ESL) courses while in high school, regardless of how long they have been in high school, must submit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE results.
        • Successfully completed two full semesters of non-ESL college-level expository writing
        • Earned a four-year degree from a U.S. college/university or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction (minimum of three years attendance)
        We accept test scores taken within the past two years. If your scores are older, you must retake the test.

        All admitted students whose Native Language is not English will be required to take the internal English Placement Exam prior to attending classes. This step has been implemented to ensure submitted tests scores reflect students' current English fluency and to ensure that all students are prepared to take on the rigorous Parsons Curriculum.
      8. Letters of Recommendation:
        • First year applicants: Applicants applying directly from high school must submit one counselor recommendation and one recommendation from a teacher. The Common Application School Report is also required.
        • Transfer applicants: Students transferring from other colleges or universities must submit one recommendation from a professor with whom they have studied.
        Recommenders may submit recommendations online through the Common Application. If preferred, the recommendation form may be downloaded and sent by mail in a signed, sealed envelope.

      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 and documents 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. 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.
      5. 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.
      6. International University Preparatory Curriculum: The New School welcomes applications from students from all over the world. In order to be competitive for admission, applicants must pursue their country’s university preparatory curriculum. For example:
        • If applying from an educational system that follows the UK model, we require either completed or predicted A levels from three subjects at the time of application
        • If applying from an education system that follows the Indian curriculum, we require completed or predicted Standard XII (HSC) results at the time of application
        Students with questions about their curriculum as it relates to admission may email admission@newschool.edu.
      7. Homeschool Applicants: We welcome applications from homeschool students. We don't require advanced preparation in every academic area, but applicants should demonstrate substantial work in English, history, social studies, foreign language, mathematics, and science. Review the Official Transcripts information above for transcript requirements. Upon completion of the homeschool curriculum students must provide proof of high school graduation or an equivalent. We will accept an official transcript from a state homeschool association or sponsoring public high school; GED, TASC, or HiSET exam results; individual homeschool transcripts with date of completion; and certificates of completion recognized by local homeschool associations. Upon review, applicants may be required to submit additional application materials.
      8. Readmission: The Application for Readmission should be completed by students who wish to return after an absence of four semesters (fall and spring). If you would like to apply for readmission, review the readmission deadlines and requirements in the Readmission section of our How to Apply information. If you have enrolled at another institution since you were enrolled at The New School, you should apply for admission as a transfer student according to the instructions outlined above.
      9. Internal Transfers: The Internal Transfer Application is required for all current New School students who wish to transfer from one New School college to another. If you would like to apply as an internal applicant, review the deadlines and requirements in the Undergraduate Internal Transfer Policy section of our How to Apply information. Students who wish to change departments or majors within the same college should speak with their academic advisor.
      10. 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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