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  • Faculty

  • Otto von Busch

    Associate Professor of Integrated Design


    Office Location
    L - Sheila C. Johnson Design Center - 2 West 13th Street

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    Otto von Busch


    Dr. Otto von Busch is associate professor of Integrated Design, School of Design Strategies. In his research he explores the emergence of a new hacktivist designer role in fashion, cultivating "fashion-abilities" amongst users. In his research he explores how the fashion designer engages participants to reform fashion from a phenomenon of dictations, anxiety and fear, into a collective experience of empowerment and liberation. In such practice, fashion is reverse engineered, hacked and shared among many participants as a form of civic engagement, or "fashion-ability," a skill rather than product.

    If fashion is to be more sustainable we need to ask more profound questions and radically reformulate the formats and protocols of fashion consumerism. The challenge is to make fashion part of a deeper and more meaningful sense of freedom, aliveness and togetherness.   Von Busch's perspective on fashion is based in its emotional grounding in the body, that fashion is something we feel more than follow. This gives a radically different approach to sustainability, as it shifts the locus and agency of fashion to the user, rather than the dictates of influencers or the fashion industry. By putting the emotional grounding of fashion in focus, designers can focus on the experience of fashion amongst users, rather than the promotion of trends and number of units sold, thus better preparing us to shift fashion from craft and mass-production towards experiences of biosocial growth and a sense of aesthetic agency. 

    To articulate this perspective on fashion, von Busch has over the last decade examined alternative perspectives on fashion, varying from Buddhism, mysticism, tantrism and witchcraft, to examining fashion as an embodied emotion and biosocial energy, utlizing the lenses of biology, psychology and neuroscience. 

    His latest publications include The Psychopolitics of Fashion: Conflict and Courage Under the Current State of Fashion, (Bloomsbury 2020), and The Dharma of Fashion: A Buddhist Approach to Our Life with Clothes, (Schiffer 2020).


    At Parsons, he is one of the founders of the Fashion Praxis Collective.  

    Much of his research can be found at

    Von Busch is also contributing editor for a seminar on Fashion, Emotion and Self at Public Seminar.

    Current Courses

    Critical Fashion + Soc Justice

    Independent Study

    Integrated Design Studio 1

    Integrated Design Studio 2

    Integrated Design Studio 2 (Spring 2020)

    Open Source Fashion (Spring 2020)

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