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Dean of Fashion Parsons The New School For Design
Students often face the problem of limited resources. What can be done regarding this matter?
A designer always has limited resources. Whether you’re a startup brand or one with product all over the globe and millions of dollars to use in production, fashion is always about learning to work within those constraints, and do the best work you possibly can.
Sustainability and business ethics are major issues for our industry at present. Do you feel there needs to be special courses for this?
We’re all aware of the challenges facing our planet. The fashion industry can be very resource-intensive: making some fabrics takes a lot of water, shipping clothes around the world takes a lot of fuel, and on and on. Here at Parsons, we encourage our students to use sustainable fabrics and production methods whenever possible. We’ve done projects like Recycled Runway, where our students made new clothes out of leftover fabrics and recycled materials; in our work with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, we’ve imagined the future of orchestral clothing and incorporated sustainable techniques. It’s the subject of an entire course here, but, again, it’s something we want our students to always be considering.
It’s not just good for the environment, its good business sense. A designer that’s 22 or 23 will be working in a very different world in 20 or 30 years, and the earlier they learn how to succeed in that environment, the better off they’ll be.
Fashion is what is being worn by celebs and models. Please present your views on this.
At its best, celebrities are “in fashion” because they like what a designer’s doing. That’s great. The thing to remember is that having someone wear your design, whether it’s Kanye West or Michele Obama, won’t make your career overnight. It’s an opportunity. You, as a designer and as a brand, have to be in a position to capitalize on it. Otherwise, it’s not worth anything to you.
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