“Designers spend too much time looking at each other's work,” says Shelley Fox, who is directing the new master of fine arts program in Fashion Design and Society. “Designers need to look at the wider world, research in depth, reconsider what fashion means in day-to-day life, and find their own identities and voices in the process. One of the advantages of Parsons is that we draw on the tremendous resources and expertise of the social science institutions at The New School.”
For her experimental and innovative womenswear, Fox has blurred boundaries between fashion, science, and technology. She has worked with scorched felted wool and burnt cotton bandaging as well as negative imagery printed onto fabric. Braille, Morse code, and MRI studies are among the elements informing her work. “There should always be a personal reason for design; it should come from looking at the world around you and really seeing it.”“Research and experimentation don’t necessarily make it into a design in a literal way,” says Fox, “but they are part of the process of investigating, understanding context, and questioning what you are doing and why you are doing it."
“We want to encourage students to develop their creativity, but also provide them with a reality check,” says Fox. “Ultimately, a design has to hold up on its own and prove viable in the world.”