Parsons school of design announces new dean of fashion

Sustainable Design Leader to Oversee Undergraduate and Graduate Studies in Fashion


Burak Cakmak will join the School of Fashion at Parsons School of Design in early August.(Photo Couretsy of Burak Cakmak)

NEW YORK- April 07, 2015-- The New School is pleased to announce the appointment of Burak Cakmak as the new Dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons School of Design. Cakmak will join the top-ranked fashion program in early August, overseeing all areas of the school, including the BFA in Fashion Design; AAS degree programs in Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing; and the MFA in Fashion Design and Society.

“Cakmak brings extraordinary international experience, a spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration, and an ambitious vision for the future of fashion,” said Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons School of Design. “Cakmak’s leadership will further elevate the School of Fashion’s already stellar reputation as a global leader in design and our students will benefit from his more than 15 years of experience forging strong research partnerships as a business strategist and sustainability expert for some of the largest, most prestigious retail companies and luxury brands in the world.”

With his expertise in the field of sustainable design, Cakmak will help shepherd the school’s industry-leading programs into a new era. Parsons students, faculty, and alumni anticipate where the industry is headed through collaborations spanning technological development, ecological construction, and ethical manufacturing in both artistic, luxury, and consumer focused fashion.  

Cakmak has facilitated successful collaborations with a wide range of suppliers, retailers, NGOs, governments, and media to drive positive, ethical industry change. Most recently, he worked at Swarovski Group in London as the company’s first Vice President of Corporate Responsibility where he established global programs fostering environmental stewardship. Under his leadership, he implemented best practice industry standards across all business functions, including raw material sourcing, supply chain management, crystal manufacturing, jewelry assembly, and retail operations. In addition, he led the Swarovski Waterschool Initiative’s education program that reached over 2,500 schools worldwide.

Previously he acted as General Manager of MADE-BY Benelux in the Netherlands advancing fashion sustainability practices for brands such as H&M, Tommy Hillfiger, Acne, Primark, Ted Baker, and G Star among others. Prior to that, Cakmak spearheaded innovation-driven sustainability strategies as the first Director of Corporate Sustainability for Kering luxury brands, including Gucci, Bottega Venetta, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Sergio Rossi, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, and Boucheron. His career in the fashion industry began at Gap Inc. where he served as the Senior Manager of Social Responsibility in their San Francisco office for 8 years.

Cakmak is passionate about education and has established high-profile academic projects and partnerships in the US, UK, France, China, Brazil, and India. He played a vital role in the creation of the Sustainable Technology for Future Luxury Scholarship at the University of the Arts London Central St Martins, and the MFA Fashion Design Scholarships at Parsons.

“The School of Fashion at Parsons has always broken the mold when it comes to educating aspiring designers who set industry standards across the globe,” said Cakmak. “I am thrilled to join the Parsons family in this exciting capacity to continue building a forward-thinking, inclusive academic culture within the School of Fashion.”

Cakmak holds an MBA from a joint program between San Francisco State University and CERAM Sophia Antipolis in France, a Bachelors degree from the Middle East Technical University in Turkey, and a postgraduate certificate in Sustainable Business from the University of Cambridge. He has also lectured widely as a visiting professor at SKEMA Business School in France and China.

Notable alumni of the Parsons program include the design legends, Claire McCardell and Norman Norell; industry leaders Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karen, Isaac Mizrahi, Narciso Rodriguez and Anna Sui; and new talents Chris Benz, Doo.Ri, Derek Lam, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, Jason Wu, Peter Som, Vena Cava, and Ashleigh Verrier.

Parsons School of Design is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century. For more information, please visit

Founded in 1919, The New School was born out of principles of academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. Committed to social engagement, The New School today remains in the vanguard of innovation in higher education, with more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students challenging the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The New School welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and calendar of lectures, screenings, readings, and concerts. Through its online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence. Learn more at


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Media Contacts:

Kasia Broussalian,
The New School
212-229-5667 x. 3990

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