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PARSONS THE NEW SCHOOL FOR DESIGN
...the leading edge of American fashion
Parsons focuses on letting students confront the challenges of the real world of the fashion industry while cultivating their own personal vision. Through courses in concept development, studio methods, fashion drawing, and fashion digital studio, students take part in each stage of the design process. They learn to solve problems for a range of markets. And through the Designer Critic Program and the annual Fashion Show, they interact with a diverse cross-section of industry professionals.
Parsons was founded in 1896, and has been a forerunner in the field of art and design since. Its first named was taken from American impressionist painter William Merritt Chase, who led a small group of Progressives who seceded from the Art Students League of New York in search of freer, more dramatic and individual expression.
In 1904, Frank Alvah Parsons joined Chase; six years later, he became the School's president. Anticipating a new wave of the Industrial Revolution, Parsons predicted that art and design would soon be inexorably linked to the engines of industry. This vision led to the birth of the first programs in Fashion Design, Interior Design and Advertising and Graphic Design. Each program has profoundly impacted American life, and in 1939, nine years after Frank Alvah Parsons' death, the School officially adopted his name.
By locating visual beauty in the ordinary things of middle-class American life, Parsons virtually invented the modern concept of design in America. From the beginning, the faculty cared about the spaces people lived in, the garments they wore, the advertising they read, the furniture and tableware they used. The principles they taught had the effect of democratizing taste and making it available to America on a broad scale. As the modern curriculum developed, many successful designers remained closely tied to the School, and by the mid-1960s, Parsons had become "the training ground for Seventh Avenue."
Parsons also has a long history of internationalism, and was the first art and design school in America to found a campus abroad. With four campuses abroad and opportunities for students to participate in exchange programs with other art and design schools, the school’s global reputation for design education excellence is widely known and appreciated. The overwhelming majority of its teachers have been professional designers who teach part-time, giving students the advantage of being taught by successful working artists and designers.
The result is an institution of fashion and design built on the qualities of long traditions mixed with a strong vision of innovation, liberal education and new technology in a modern and global world; “an educational experience that is truly authentic and contemporary.”