parsons school of design and we speak model management announce partnership

NEW YORK, April 20, 2023 – The New School’s Parsons School of Design and We Speak Model Management today announced a pilot partnership to supply the School of Fashion at Parsons with a wide variety of diverse fit models for courses across all fashion design courses. Through this unique partnership, the School of Fashion and We Speak aim to provide fashion design students with the opportunity to see their designs on the full range of the human body, and celebrate new standards of beauty.

Under the leadership of Dr. Ben Barry, the School of Fashion at Parsons has recently launched a new mission and vision, where equity and justice are at the core of the school’s curriculum and culture. The new partnership with We Speak supports the School of Fashion’s commitment to creating a curriculum and pedagogy that foregrounds themes of social justice in course work, and allows students to develop the creative and technical skills to design for bodies who have been and continue to be marginalized from dominant fashion design practices – specifically plus-size, disabled, trans and non-binary bodies. 

“I’m thrilled to welcome We Speak’s beautiful and diverse roster of models to Parsons, where their contributions to our students’ educational experience will be instrumental in their training as innovative and inclusive designers,” said Ben Barry, Dean of Fashion at Parsons. “For too long, the fashion industry has upheld narrow definitions of beauty, but thanks to We Speak, those definitions are expanding, and we can create a new beauty standard together.”

“We are excited about and inspired by the work that faculty, administration and students are doing at the School of Fashion at Parsons,” said Briauna Mariah, We Speak’s Founder and President. “We align on our desire for growth, integrity, and accountability, and look to cultivate productive introspection and fulfilling dialogue as well as take action for a better fashion industry.”

We Speak Model Management was founded in 2013, and has been an integral part of the movement for an equitable fashion world. As a non-traditional model management agency, We Speak gives a voice to models who deserve to be celebrated, and a voice to the public who craves—and continues to drive—seismic industry shifts. The agency is committed to putting models first and holding open conversations with brands around authentic representation.

Please join Parsons and We Speak for a virtual seminar May 3, 2023. RSVP here.

Parsons School of Design at The New School 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, as well as online courses, degree and certificate programs. 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.


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Will Wilbur,
The New School

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