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  • Faculty

  • Brendan McCarthy

    Program Director, BFA Fashion Design: Systems and Materiality, Asst. Professor of Fashion


    Office Location
    N - Sheila C. Johnson Design Center - 66 Fifth Avenue

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    Brendan McCarthy


    Brendan C. McCarthy, born 1979, Nairobi, Kenya, is the Director of the undergraduate Fashion Design Program for Systems and Materiality at Parsons School of Design in New York. He is Assistant Professor of Fashion and teaches courses in Parsons’ Systems and Society Pathway, which reimagine new, more diverse types of outcomes and working models for fashion design through critical social engagement. His curricular innovation work explores how the integration of human-centered, interdisciplinary, collaborative and systems-based methodologies into the fashion design process can enable fashion and education to be more accessible, inclusive and serve a wider range of communities. 

    McCarthy received his BA in mathematics from Columbia University and MFA in Fine Art from Parsons School of Design. His academic training also includes studying architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Prior to his transition to art, design and education, McCarthy worked in finance for Morgan Stanley as a research analyst.

    McCarthy’s fashion systems design research and field work engages ideas around access, inclusion and innovation in education; capacity building and economic development in Africa; menstrual health management innovation through co-design in humanitarian and refugee contexts; critical issues on aging and sustainability. As an avid surfer, lifelong tennis player and lover of all sport, McCarthy is also passionate about the transformative possibilities of bringing sport and design education together to affect positive social change. 

    At Parsons, McCarthy has led and developed partnership initiatives that bring together important global organizations from diverse fields. Some of these initiatives include: Parsons x Special Olympics Inclusive Design; Parsons x United Nations Population Fund x Hela Clothing Women’s Lifecycle Undergarment & Safe Birth Project; Parsons x AARP Disrupt Aging in Fashion; Parsons x African Development Bank Fashionomics; Parsons x Oceanic Ibiza Project; Parsons x KERING EP&L (environmental profit and loss) Program; Parsons x Care+Wear Patient Hospital Gown Redesign Project.


    Current Courses

    Design Studio 3

    Design Studio 3 (Fall 2020)

    Thesis 1

    Thesis 1 (Fall 2020)

    Thesis 2

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