Parsons

Textiles (MFA)

  • Textiles are literally and figuratively woven into human history and culture. Today communities of makers, designers, and scholars are exploring textiles — from locally crafted materials to 3D knitted matter to hand-embellished fabrics — and pioneering textile-based industries and theory. The Master of Fine Arts in Textiles, launching in fall 2018, enables you to explore these dynamics creatively and reflectively, dissolving the boundaries between technology and craft. In the process, you are prepared for the growing array of creative and professional opportunities related to textiles in fashion design, product design, interior design, textiles research, set design, fine arts, architecture, and hybrid fields.

    This program is part of the School of Fashion (SOF) at Parsons.

    Read More About the ProgramRead Less

    Interweaving Theory and Practice

    In the two-year, 60-credit full-time MFA Textiles program, you develop a critical understanding of textiles’ sociocultural, environmental, and emotional dimensions throughout human history and into our future. You explore the potential to unite craft with innovative high-tech and bio-tech production. In studio courses, you develop skills in essential fabric-making techniques, such as fiber development and innovation, yarn sourcing and making, weaving and jacquard technology, knitting, pattern design, and textile embellishments. You refine your personal aesthetic sensibilities and understanding of sustainable practices on-site in NYC textile studios and design ateliers, deepening collaborative and conceptual abilities in weaving, dyeing, knitting, and printing. Instruction in business best practices is integrated into each aspect of the curriculum, bringing economic and conceptual real-world skills into the studio.

    Cross-Disciplinary by Design

    Your study in the MFA Textiles program is interdisciplinary by design. Coursework connects fields including art, architecture, interior and industrial design, as well as fashion and autonomous design. The curriculum unites concerns ranging from human dignity to environmental sustainability to social justice. Accordingly, the program welcomes applicants from various backgrounds in textile research and making related to the liberal arts as well as creative disciplines including fashion design, interior design, product design, fine arts, and architecture. The goal is to create a diverse textiles community committed to expanding the field and integrating the high-tech innovations of Silicon Valley with local craft techniques developed in the Hudson Valley. Your study prepares you for a future in which smart textiles play many roles, collecting and transmitting data in a variety of products, including domestic goods and woven technology.

    Join the Critical Conversation

    Textiles are integral to a diverse array of institutions and industries — from fashion design, interior design, and scenic design to ubiquitous computing, automotive design, acoustic design, and health. At the same time, textiles fulfill the desire for tactile stimulation that accompanies the recent rise in digital and virtual culture. In the MFA Textiles program, you explore these dynamics creatively and reflectively, dissolving the boundaries between technology and craft, in keeping with contemporary practice. In the process, you take an active role in textile cultures and industries, preparing to reimagine textile mills and design businesses, lend studio skills to companies, launch a business as an independent designer or high-tech researcher, or pursue advanced studies.

    Textiles as Urban Practice

    New York Textile Month — a September celebration of textile culture initiated by MFA Textiles founder Lidewij Edelkoort, dean of Hybrid Design Studies at Parsons — highlights the community-based approach to promoting textile industries that students in the program will find. Local partners in the event become your direct mentors, inviting you into their studios and businesses one day a week to build your creative skills and networks. The growing global interest in textile-related creation brings international players into the fold to partner with the program, extending your understanding of conceptualization and production. The program also draws on Parsons’ institutional partners such as Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, with its extensive material collections and curatorial resources. Lectures and hybrid workshops by major international designers and producers add dimension to your learning.

  • Curriculum

    The Master of Fine Arts degree is awarded for completion of 60 credits. Transfer credits are not accepted. Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and fulfill all requirements in a timely manner.

    For a complete listing of courses and course descriptions, visit the university course catalog.

    First Year / Fall
    Major Studio 1

    In this course, students gain a foundational knowledge of textiles, including different kinds of fiber and cloth, and engage in an expansive exploration of the textile industry. Students research innovative applications of ancient and ethnic weaving methods and also research, design, and develop smart fibers and yarns, biologically produced matter, and 3D printed materials. Major Studio 1 includes both observational and experimental modes of research, such as iconographic research, street style analysis, roundtable conferencing, and focus interviews.

    9
    History of Textiles

    In this class, students present comprehensive and well-researched work on a specific textile and its historical trajectory and significance. Students demonstrate their ability to conduct methodological research through analytical reading and writing exercises. Source material is gathered from archives, museums, catalogs, books, essays, and digital sources.

    3
    Textiles Industry Partnership 1

    In this course, students are supported by external partners and explore the way technology influences the aesthetics, function, and value of textiles in fashion. Teams of students are paired with external industry partners to address contemporary issues related to textiles and develop an integrative approach to textiles and technology. The Textiles Industry Partnership course is framed around a problem introduced by the partnering organization, which students research and propose and prototype solutions to. Over the course of the semester, students are supported by course faculty and experts from the partnering organization as they develop their ideas into well-thought-out solutions and presentations. Each semester the partnership will change, as will the assignment and approach. This course is required for MFA Textiles students and can serve as an elective for students from the MFA Interior Design, Industrial Design, and Fashion Design programs, as well as graduate students in other aligned studies, resulting in cross-disciplinary teams.

    3
    15
    First Year / Spring
    Major Studio 2

    In this class, students build on Major Studio 1 and begin creating textiles and advancing their understanding of the history of the discipline and industrial development. Students propose new scenarios related to current movements in the field, considering new ways to contribute to the local production and regional sourcing of textiles. Students investigate the prioritization, function, and impact of textiles in fields such as fashion, art, architecture, and industrial design. In shaping their scenarios, students explore research methods while gathering and examining data.

    9
    Anthropology of Textiles

    In this course, students draw connections not only between humankind and textile creation, but also between long-standing traditions and modern developments. Students demonstrate knowledge of different materials and fibers and their function in society. Through this course, students develop an understanding of the ways in which the culture of cloth is crucial to humans, over time and across cultures. Students assemble materials for a self-directed research project focused on an aspect of human relationship to cloth. They use original source material and map a series of human interactions and conduct interviews dealing with the people's relationships with cloth. The final research project and essay on the chosen categories of textiles and humans are illustrated with videos, photos, and textiles.

    3
    Textile Industry Partnership 2

    In this course, students are supported by external partners and explore the way technology influences the aesthetics, function, and value of textiles in fashion. Teams of students are paired with external industry partners to address contemporary issues related to textiles and develop an integrative approach to textiles and technology. The Textiles Industry Partnership course is framed around a problem introduced by the partnering organizations, which students research and propose and prototype solutions to. Over the course of the semester, students are supported by course faculty and experts from the partnering organizations as they develop their ideas into well-thought-out solutions and presentations. Each semester the partnership will change, as will the assignment and approach. This course is required for MFA Textiles students and can serve as an elective for students from the MFA Interior Design, Industrial Design, and Fashion Design programs, as well as graduate students in other aligned studies, resulting in cross-disciplinary teams.

    3
    Atelier

    This class is one of the most distinctive features of the MFA in Textiles. The atelier experience strengthens skills in both making and research and provides a real-world setting in which students can revisit, test, and prototype ideas from Major Studios 2-4. This course also provides students with opportunities to use diverse (and sometimes rare or cutting-edge) equipment and materials that would otherwise not be available to them. The ateliers expose students to an array of approaches to making cloth and offer them an immediate and immersive experience with professional practice in design and craft studios and workshops in the New York metropolitan area. During the second, third, and fourth semesters of study, students consult with the MFA Textiles faculty to select an appropriate atelier site. Once paired with their ateliers, students meet with and work alongside the professional studio designers and associated staff to learn how to translate a concept into a finished product. Collaborations might involve choices of fibers, yarn architecture, dyeing processes, weaving techniques, knitting advances, pattern making, and finishes. Each student's project is mapped with a timeline and associated steps and is overseen by an MFA Textiles faculty member. Students conference weekly with their atelier partners and receive guidance on techniques and the pacing needed to complete projects.

    2
    17
    Second Year / Fall
    Major Studio 3

    In this course, students research a subject for a final textiles trend forecast (preparing for their final studio) and then write, sketch, and design a proposal for a collection of materials to be developed in the subsequent capstone. Students continue to develop a hybridized practice by making use of theoretical and technical knowledge from various areas including craft in sustainable textiles, textile transformation, smart technology, and industry and forecasting trends, knowledge they have acquired through their studio work.

    6
    Philosophy of Textiles

    In this class, students explore the communicative qualities of textiles and how weaving processes illustrate societal ideas. The course centers on conducting research and developing a personal philosophy of cloth. Students investigate the way cloth has influenced and continues to influence people’s lives, reflecting the times they live in. They examine how construction choices might influence the way people use their fabrics, changing the fashions and design, mirroring movements in society. Students produce a written description of their philosophy of the chosen category of cloth and the way it reflects our times, illustrated with photos and textiles, demonstrating the impact of material making on our world.

    3
    Atelier

    This class is one of the most distinctive features of the MFA in Textiles. The atelier experience strengthens skills in both making and research and provides a real-world setting in which students can revisit, test, and prototype ideas from Major Studios 2-4. This course also provides students with opportunities to use diverse (and sometimes rare or cutting-edge) equipment and materials that would otherwise not be available to them. The ateliers expose students to an array of approaches to making cloth and offer them an immediate and immersive experience with professional practice in design and craft studios and workshops in the New York metropolitan area. During the second, third, and fourth semesters of study, students consult with the MFA Textiles faculty to select an appropriate atelier site. Once paired with their ateliers, students meet with and work alongside the professional studio designers and associated staff to learn how to translate a concept into a finished product. Collaborations might involve decisions on fibers, yarn architecture, dyeing processes, weaving techniques, knitting advances, pattern making, and finishes. Each student's project is mapped with a timeline and associated steps and is overseen by an MFA Textiles faculty member. Students conference weekly with their atelier partners and receive guidance on techniques and the pacing needed to complete projects.

    2
    Elective

    Students should explore their elective options with their advisors to create a coherent study plan.

    3
    14
    Second Year / Spring
    Major Studio 4

    In this course, students create a hybrid textile to be developed in close cooperation with industry and ateliers. They start with concept development and move through design iteration, critique, refinement, and application. Articulation and evidence of the project’s social, environmental, and/or cultural value, as well as its ability to speak to the wide-ranging field of textiles, are essential to the project’s success. Emphasis is placed on the application of learning and knowledge in the studio sequence and atelier experiences. The final textile collection is presented in a graduate installation.

    6
    Atelier

    This class is one of the most distinctive features of the MFA in Textiles. The atelier experience strengthens skills in both making and research and provides a real-world setting in which students can revisit, test, and prototype ideas from Major Studios 2-4. This course also provides students with opportunities to use diverse (and sometimes rare or cutting-edge) equipment and materials that would otherwise not be available to them. The ateliers expose students to an array of approaches to making cloth and offer them an immediate and immersive experience with professional practice in design and craft studios and workshops in the New York metropolitan area. During the second, third, and fourth semesters of study, students consult with the MFA Textiles faculty to select an appropriate atelier site. Once paired with their ateliers, students meet with and work alongside the professional studio designers and associated staff to learn how to translate a concept into a finished product. Collaborations might involve decisions on fibers, yarn architecture, dyeing processes, weaving techniques, knitting advances, pattern making, and finishes. Each student's project is mapped with a timeline and associated steps and is overseen by an MFA Textiles faculty member. Students conference weekly with their atelier partners and receive guidance on techniques and the pacing needed to complete projects.

    2
    Elective/Internship

    Students should explore their elective options with their advisors to create a coherent study plan.

    3
    Elective

    Students should explore their elective options with their advisors to create a coherent study plan

    3
    14
    Total Credits 60

    Admission Requirements

    Application Information

    The MFA Textiles program will launch in Fall 2018. The 2018 application will be available on our website in early September.

    Application and Financial Aid Deadlines

    Application Deadline

    The application deadline is January 1. To be most competitive for admission and merit scholarship consideration, please apply before the deadline. We will continue to review applications submitted after the January 1 priority deadline pending space availability in the program. The Admission Committee will make a decision on your application only after all the required materials have been received. Spring term admission is not offered for this program.

    Financial Aid Deadline

    All applicants selected for admission into our program are considered for a merit scholarship award that is determined by the strength of their application. Scholarship award notification is communicated at the same time as the admission decision. International students are eligible only for merit scholarships. If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, we encourage you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be found online at www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA is available each year on October 1. You do not need to wait for an admission decision to apply for federal aid; we recommend submitting by our FAFSA priority deadline of February 1 for fall applicants. (The New School’s federal school code is 002780.)

    Application Instructions

    All applicants are required to apply online. 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 online application, Parsons requires that you submit a portfolio using SlideRoom.
    2. Finalize your portfolio at the time you submit your application. This will help prevent any delays in reviewing your application as we need all required materials to be received 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 for your records and enter it on the online application when requested.

    Required Application Materials

    1. Application Form: Complete the online application. All applicants are required to apply online.
    2. Application Fee: A nonrefundable $50 application fee is required as part of the online application. A $15 SlideRoom fee is also required.
    3. Transcripts:
      Unofficial Transcripts: Applicants must upload an unofficial transcript, mark sheet, or academic record for each institution (even if you didn’t receive a degree) in the Educational Background section of the online application.
      • All transcripts must be accompanied by a key, a legend, or the back copy of the transcript.
      • Non-English transcripts must be accompanied by an English translation. Records from non-U.S. institutions must have grades or marks and contain a copy of diploma if the degree has been conferred.
      • Make sure your name appears on the transcript/record. Scans must be clear and legible.
      • Do not mail materials that have been uploaded with the online application or any other materials unless requested by the admission office.
      • If you experience trouble uploading your transcript, email enroll@newschool.edu and give a detailed description of the issue and attach the document in question.
      The New School reserves the right to require official transcripts at any time during the admissions process. Any fraudulent activity or discrepancies found between uploaded and official transcripts will result in the immediate revocation of admission and/or dismissal from The New School. Transcripts uploaded with the online application are considered unofficial.

      Official Transcripts: Applicants offered admission will be required to submit official transcripts (as well as official certified translations and evaluations of the transcripts/mark sheets and degree certifications if the degree was earned outside of the U.S.) to The New School. Admitted applicants must submit all official transcripts pertaining to their entire academic career.

      Your offer of admission will be contingent upon the receipt and verification of these official documents. New students will not be permitted to register for their second semester of study until all official transcripts (including degree awarding transcripts) have been received by the Office of Graduate Admission. Unofficial transcripts emailed to the admission office with the paper application do not satisfy this requirement.

      By Mail: Official transcripts should have an original signature or a raised university seal, and must be in a sealed envelope that has been signed or stamped by the issuing university’s registrar or records office. Applicants can either send official transcripts with an Application Materials Cover Sheet or request that institutions send transcripts directly to The New School. See “Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials” for our mailing address in the Additional Instructions and Information section below.

      Electronic Transcripts (U.S./Domestic Institutions Only): The New School accepts electronic transcripts only from our approved vendors. The New School’s approved vendors, in order of preference, are
      • Parchment Exchange
      • SCRIP-SAFE International
      • National Student Clearinghouse
      We do not accept electronic transcripts sent directly by a student or school offices. Note: 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 or be evaluated by World Education Services (WES), or by another member of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES). A course-by-course evaluation must be prepared for each transcript. In the absence of an evaluation, the Admission Committee will do its best to render a decision. Please note: In some cases, a review cannot be made without an evaluation, and a committee decision will be delayed. The Admission Office reserves the right to request a transcript evaluation if necessary.

      If using WES, visit www.wes.org for instructions and to begin the application process. The “Required Documents” section will explain what to send. If you request your report online, search for “The New School” when selecting our institution. WES will send your completed evaluation directly to The New School.

      If using another NACES provider, follow instructions for that provider. Mailed evaluations and translations should be sent to the mailing address provided for supporting materials. Applicants forwarding these sealed documents should include an Application Materials Cover Sheet.
    4. Résumé: Submit a brief résumé/curriculum vitae summarizing your academic qualifications, relevant work experience, volunteer/community work, travel, exhibitions, public speaking, or any other relevant experiences as they may relate to your field of study, including dates and positions held. Please also note any special language or computer skills that you have.
    5. Statement of Purpose: Please outline your reasons for applying to this program. In what ways will you contribute to the subject matter of the program? You should include a thoughtful description of your background, tentative plan of study or area of inquiry in the field as you now envision it, your professional goals, and an explanation of how this graduate program will help you realize those goals. If you have not been enrolled as a student in the past five years, please address anticipated opportunities and challenges in pursuing the degree, and future career expectations upon completion of the program. (500–750-word limit)
    6. Recommendation Letters: You are required to submit two letters of recommendation from faculty or people with whom you have worked professionally. Recommenders can submit recommendations online. Instructions are included with the online application. If preferred, the recommendation form can instead be sent by mail in a signed, sealed envelope. To send by mail, download the PDF recommendation form found in the online application, complete the personal information, save the form, and forward it to the recommender for completion and submission. Applicants can also send signed and sealed recommendations to the Office of Admission using an Application Materials Cover Sheet.
    7. Portfolio: The portfolio must be completed in SlideRoom only. The purpose of the portfolio is to communicate your perspectives on textile design and your singular creative talent. Create a compelling portfolio with up to 40 items that illustrate your conceptual skills, your taste in textiles, your making talent and more. The portfolio should represent an original view of your creative character as a conceptual thinking and your making skills as a designer. Include work that best demonstrates your creative vision from previous experiences. You can include images of the concept work you have established, photos of your textile designs, yarns and color studies, and fiber applications. Please include a brief description of each item that you upload. If you want to include short films such as installation, performance, or live work/process, submit them using SlideRoom. Please do NOT submit an additional hard-copy portfolio to the office of admission. All items that you want the faculty to review on behalf of your portfolio submission should be submitted through SlideRoom only; not by mail.
    8. Test Scores:
      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 (IBT) 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
      • Who have successfully completed two full semesters of non-ESL college-level expository writing
      • Who have 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)
      Upon review of your application, the Office of Admission reserves the right to request a TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score.

      Arrange for the testing service to send your test scores directly to The New School using the codes listed above. We accept scores from the past two years. If your scores are older, you must retake the test. For more information, visit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE.

      Applicants also have the option of enrolling in The New School's English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Students must pass Level 6 in order to waive the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE requirement. Visit the ESL website for more information.
    9. Interview: Applicants may be invited for an interview in-person or by phone.

    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 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. 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.
    4. Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials:
      Parsons School of Design
      Office of Admission (PS 300)
      79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
      New York, NY 10003
     
Feedback
×