We have the privilege of working with brands big and small from around the world who are doing incredible things for their communities, the environment and more. Whether in coordinated efforts with like-minded organizations or working internally to do their part, these companies are using their resources to support others.
When I think of The New School’s Parsons School of Design I envision the bustling New York streets, studio spaces filled floor to ceiling with fabrics and the timeless phrase, “Make it work”. While there are truths to that image, Parsons is at the heart of a comprehensive university — The New School — where students draw on academic fields ranging from the social sciences and humanities to performing arts and management for a uniquely interdisciplinary education. Here, the next generation of creative leaders engage in real-world learning and develop as critical thinkers and makers grappling with the pressing issues of our time.
Rewind to the spring of 2020 when Parsons partnered with The Special Olympics to create a class that matched athletes to student designers who would then spend the semester creating athleticwear that is not only esthetically pleasing, but functional, sustainable and comfortable. While the launch of a highly collaborative program during a pandemic is not ideal, the distance wasn’t enough to stop the creative process.
As the program continues to grow, so do the opportunities for designers to reinvent the creative process from beginning to end.
“Our mission at Parsons is to create the most expansive, accessible, inclusive learning environment that can empower our designers to use the power of fashion design to change our world and make an impact through a deep love of garments. That same spirit of inclusion, that intrepid courage around how we can reimagine society is also embraced by Special Olympics.” – Brendan McCarthy, co-Director of the BFA Fashion Design program and Assistant Professor of Fashion
Academic inclusivity doesn’t end there, The New School has partnered with several organizations to establish The Institute on Race, Stratification and Political Economy. Here they will be working to tackle society’s various social inequalities through research and understanding the foundation of discrimination for people of color, women, and other minority groups. In addition to examining the past, the Institute is concurrently working towards the future, what success looks like and how to support students as they move forward.
“Knowledge creation is important, but for me it’s never been enough. Knowledge creation with the goal of improving people’s lives. That is what we do here at The New School and what we will do at the The Institute on Race, Stratification and Political Economy” – Darrick Hamilton, Founding Director of The Institute on Race, Stratification and Political Economy
For more information on their efforts and how you can get involved, visit the websites above.