Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Friday, December 21, 2018
Parsons to Begin New Fashion Master’s Program Designer Keanan Duffty is spearheading the initiative, which will launch next fall.
By Jean E. Palmieri on December 21, 2018
The fashion educational system needs an overhaul and designer Keanan Duffty is doing his part to change it.
The British-born, New York-based Duffty has worn many hats over the course of his career: fashion designer, author, musician, and now, educator.
He had his own eponymous label and also created the David Bowie collection for Target and worked with brands as diverse as John Varvatos Star USA, Reebok, Moods of Norway and Lamb. And now, he has joined the staff of The New School’s Parsons School of Design as the program director of the new Master of Professional Studies—Fashion Management and associate professor of fashion.
Duffty is spearheading the new program that will launch on site at the school’s New York City campus in the fall of 2019 and online for fall 2020.
“This is very unique, it’s the only program of its kind,” Duffty said. “It’s like a traditional MBA on fashion steroids.”
He said the degree is intended to merge the commerce and creativity parts of fashion. It is being targeted to people who are already working in the industry or those with undergraduate degrees and background in other fields that can be applied to fashion and retail.
The course will be one-year long and limited to around 20 students the first year. There will be nine separate courses in five-week blocks, that will be held mainly on nights and weekends.
“It’s targeted to the working professional looking to change lanes or enhance their current career,” Duffty said.
Parsons said students will gain in-depth knowledge of global and local manufacturing, ethical production, marketing and merchandising. Social media, sustainability, gross margin performance and budgeting will all be addressed.
But what makes this course unique, Duffty said, is that “strategic partners” from within the industry, will be involved and will create content aligned to each course within the curriculum. The exact participants have not yet been revealed, but they are expected to come from all aspects of the field, from streetwear and e-commerce experts to denim and luxury labels.
Duffty said the brands who get involved will have “direct exposure to raw talent and get plugged into young minds” who can offer a fresh take on the industry.
Kozlowski, director of education and professional development for CFDA, said: “This new Parsons program is exactly what our industry needs today. As fashion systems transform, we need leaders with sophisticated creative acumen.”
And the industry is already getting behind the program. In October, the school tapped several executives for a curriculum brainstorming session that included Morty Singer of Marvin Traub Associates, Chris Lacy of Barneys New York and Sara Kozlowski of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
To kick off the program, Parsons will host a series of talks during New York Fashion Week in February that will include Dylan Jones, editor in chief of British GQ; Jonathan Cheung, creative director of Levi’s; Sam Ben-Avraham, founder of Project and Liberty Fairs; and Jeff Carvalho, managing director of Highsnobiety, who will take on the issue of “Reinventing Retail.” Another panel will discuss sustainability and other talks will include fashion marketing and the changing landscape of fashion over the past 40 years.
Parsons isn’t Duffty’s only educational experience. He started dabbling in that part of the business in 2012 when he joined San Francisco’s Academy of Art University as senior director of the fashion merchandising program. He developed a master’s program in fashion business for New York University in 2016 and became a mentor for the Master in Fashion Styling program at Polimoda Institute in Florence, Italy, in 2017.
With that as a backdrop, Duffty was blunt, saying he believes that “most fashion education today is irrelevant. They’re teaching an outmoded system and fashion is evolving so fast.” He continued: “Fashion is not fine art, we’re in the business of selling stuff. It’s very healthy to have a balance between creativity and commerce.”
He pointed to Marco Bizzarri, chief executive officer of Gucci, as someone who has the formula figured out. “They threw out the rule book and took a leap of faith to invigorate the brand,” he said. “He knows that unless you take risk, you won’t be successful. And young people have an innate sense to take risks.”
In other Parsons news, the school has named Rachel Schreiber executive dean. She succeeds Joel Towers, who will step down after a 10-year tenure. Most recently, Schreiber was provost and senior vice president of San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). She will formally join Parsons on July 1, 2019.
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
KEANAN DUFFTY JOINS PARSONS TO HELM NEW FASHION MANAGEMENT MASTER’S PROGRAM by Stephen GarnerOctober 23, 2018
KEANAN DUFFTY / PHOTO BY LINA BERTUCCI
The New School’s Parsons School of Design has announced the fall 2019 launch of a new Master’s of Professional Studies in Fashion Management, a state-of-the-art program that will prepare students to advance and transform their careers and teach them how to create innovative ideas for fashion businesses, start-ups, and other fashion-related services. Award-winning fashion designer, musician, and author Keanan Duffty has been named Program Director.
“Parsons is proud to expand our educational offerings by launching an MPS in Fashion Management,” says Dean of Fashion Burak Cakmak. “Under the guidance of Keanan Duffty, who brings an unparalleled level of experience in fashion, branding, and education to Parsons, the new program will train the future leaders of the fashion industry.”
The MPS in Fashion Management is a year-long, immersive program that explores the fashion industry from a range of perspectives, including entrepreneurship, consumer psychology, technology, and new business models, among others. Students engage in conversations around the balance of creativity and commerce, how businesses and start-ups can reinvent existing systems, solutions for social media and e-commerce, and the crucial need for sustainability and social responsibility at all levels of the industry.
The program’s curriculum will give students the opportunity to gain real-world experience at New York City fashion companies and ateliers through case studies, internships, and site visits, enabling them to graduate with a diverse portfolio of experiences that can be immediately applied to the fashion industry. As part of the School of Fashion at Parsons School of Design, students will benefit from the academic leadership, resources, and industry networks that have placed Parsons at the forefront of fashion education. In his role as Program Director, Keanan Duffty, a Central Saint Martins-educated fashion designer, brings more than 25 years of knowledge, experience and creative insights to the MPS in Fashion Management.
“I am delighted to be joining Parsons School of Fashion, one of the world’s most respected and innovative educational institutions,” says Duffty. “The fashion system as we know it has lost its panache and relevance; and Parsons is in a unique position to build a new ecosystem at the intersection of design, technology, and sustainability.
Through the MPS Fashion Management, we have the opportunity to reinvent entrepreneurialism for the current generation of curious-minded and socially conscious students.” An acclaimed designer, Duffty’s namesake label was sold at more than 150 retailers around the world, including Lane Crawford, Bergdorf Goodman, and Barneys, and he has collaborated with David Bowie for his Target collection, Gwen Stefani’s LAMB, Ben Sherman, Aveda, Reebok. He is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), and serves as part of the CFDA Education Committee and the CFDA Elaine Gold Launch Pad, a unique creative entrepreneurship program which provides focused design and business mentorship with milestone-based micro-awards encouraging participants to embed sustainability, technology, and innovation within their ethos and to explore new business models.
Duffty’s extensive interdisciplinary expertise aligns with Parsons’ commitment to providing an innovative educational experience for students eager to challenge the status quo. Within the program, they will learn to combine creativity and commerce in order to develop insights and strategies that influence consumers’ perceptions, shopping habits, and interactions with brands and designers. Students will also work with industry professionals to identify business opportunities, new ways to streamline processes for profitability and efficiency, and methods for rapid innovation that unlock emerging opportunities in retail.