the new school's parsons school of design and swarovski announce new partnership

Students in the sponsored course will reimagine the future of fashion through innovative, human-centered approaches to design


November 7, 2019, New York - The New School’s Parsons School of Design and Swarovski today announced the launch of a dynamic new partnership that challenges students to reimagine the future of fashion design, materiality and sustainability through conscious, human-centered, systems design approaches.

Within the partnership, an innovative core studio course will be taught as part of the undergraduate ‘Fashion Design Systems & Society’ and ‘Materiality’ programs in the School of Fashion to support the development of the next generation of conscious fashion designers at Parsons.

“We are proud to partner with Swarovski, a global design brand at the forefront of creating sustainable change,” said Burak Cakmak, Dean of Fashion at Parsons School of Design. “At Parsons, we are educating the next generation of conscious designers and critical thinkers to leverage the power of fashion design to affect positive social and environmental change. We are excited to collaborate with Swarovski, a brand whose mission and values align with our own.”

In the 15-week, core Fashion Systems/Materiality hybrid studio course, students will engage deeply with Swarovski’s Conscious Design principles, which nurture designers to contribute to a more sustainable industry, as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to foster collaboration, create positive impact, and drive lasting change in the fashion industry.

Students will investigate innovative, circular strategies through a deep exploration of Swarovski crystals, material production processes and real business challenges. Through these explorations and close collaboration with the Swarovski team, students will generate new types of models and outcomes for fashion that can positively impact our world.

The course will be led by Parsons School of Fashion undergraduate Fashion Design Program Co-Directors, Brendan McCarthy and Neil Gilks, Parsons Professors Neil Grotzinger and Amanda Brown and Head of Sustainability and the Swarovski Foundation, Lindsay Kordik.

Nadja Swarovski, Member of the Swarovski Executive Board, commented: “As a brand with longstanding commitments to sustainability and to supporting emerging creative talent, we are delighted to announce the latest evolution of our partnership with Parsons School of Design, which integrates of our responsible design learning within the Fashion Systems and Materiality programs. Aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, this project provides an exciting pathway for future innovation in sustainable fashion.”

Swarovski’s history of support for design education dates back to its partnership with London’s Central Saint Martins in 2001, followed by a further partnership with Parsons from 2013 onwards. Swarovski’s efforts resonate with Parsons’ dedication to innovation in design education through partnering with leading brands and designers to address real world challenges.

Parsons School of Design 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. 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. For more information, please visit

Swarovski creates a more sparkling world and delivers a diverse portfolio of unmatched quality, craftsmanship, and creativity. Founded in 1895 in Austria, the company designs, manufactures and sells the world’s highest quality crystal, genuine gemstones, Swarovski Created Diamonds and zirconia, finished products such as jewelry and accessories, as well as interior design and lighting solutions. The Swarovski Crystal Business is run by the fifth generation of family members and has a global reach with approximately 3,000 stores in around 170 countries, more than 29,000 employees, and revenue of about 2.7 billion euros in 2018. Together with its sister companies Swarovski Optik (optical devices) and Tyrolit (abrasives), Swarovski Crystal Business forms the Swarovski Group. In 2018, the Group generated revenue of about 3.5 billion euros and employed more than 34,500 people.

In 2019, Swarovski UK Limited received a Royal Warrant as manufacturer and supplier of crystals to HRH Queen Elizabeth II. A responsible relationship with people and the planet has always been an integral part of Swarovski’s heritage, and is embedded today in the company’s well-established sustainability agenda. In addition, the global Swarovski Waterschool education program has reached 500,000 children on the world’s greatest rivers. The Swarovski Foundation was set up in 2013 to honor the philanthropic spirit of company founder Daniel Swarovski, and works to support culture and creativity, promote human empowerment and conserve natural resources to achieve positive social impact.



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Media Contacts:

Will Wilbur,
The New School

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