parsons paris launches new mfa in fashion design and the arts

The pioneering Master's program fosters the renewal of fashion design practices through transformational interactions with the contemporary arts

Dr. Leyla Neri will lead the new MFA in Fashion Design and the Arts

Paris, France, February 4, 2021 - Parsons Paris, the European branch of Parsons School of Design in New York City, announced the Fall 2021 launch of a new Master of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design and the Arts. In this innovative two-year program, students explore disruptive methods at the intersection of fashion design, visual arts, performing arts, and the humanities with influential designers and artists in Paris. 

The new program will launch as part of the 2021 Parsons Paris Centennial celebration, which honors the Parsons Paris legacy as it looks ahead towards the next century.  The anniversary year also coincides with the 125th anniversary of Parsons School of Design in New York City.

The new MFA program will propose a cutting-edge educational platform at the crossroads of fashion practice, artistic disciplines, and humanities, based on a strong collaborative component and anthropological approach to research. The recent pandemic and its unprecedented consequences on the rapidly transforming fashion and luxury industries have significantly emphasized the desires of a more engaged population of students for programs that lead to new development models and careers.

Dr. Leyla Neri, designer and anthropologist who has served as the director of fashion design at Parsons Paris since 2016, imagined and developed this experimental program that she will be leading with a creative team made of international experts like Tuomas Laitinen, co-founder of SSAW Magazine and former Head of BA Fashion at Aalto University in Helsinki, who joined Parsons Paris this fall. Leyla Neri will involve Paris-based guest designers and artists with strong identities in the program, following a multidisciplinary approach successfully implemented in the BFA Fashion Design at Parsons Paris as well as in the fashion programs that she previously developed in other institutions such as the Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD).  

“We envisioned an incubator involving makers and thinkers from the fashion and art worlds to stimulate and support the personal experimentations and collaborative projects of a new generation of students who are less responsive to the existing fashion market forces and more predisposed to bring significant change in the industry,” explained Dr. Neri.

"Parsons Paris was already the first academic institution in France to open a master’s program in Fashion Studies in 2016. We wanted to assert the school’s identity as an experimental ‘atelier’ at the crossroads of multiple artistic fields and push our audacity further, this time with the creation of a brand new master’s program, the first one designed by Parsons Paris for Parsons Paris, while complementing the unique offerings at Parsons in NYC" said Florence Leclerc-Dickler, Dean of Parsons Paris.

The new MFA will be housed at Paris-Romainville, at the heart of a new contemporary art hub that includes a center for the Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain of the French Ministry of Culture, in an area of Paris where not only the biggest art galleries but also the most historical fashion houses such as Chanel and Hermès have settled their new headquarters and craft workshops. The newly installed studio spaces will allow students a total immersion in a stimulating environment amongst curators and international contemporary artists in residence.

Parsons Paris
Established in 1921 as the first American art and design school in Paris, Parsons Paris today is an international community of students and distinguished faculty committed to tackling the challenges of an evolving world with creativity and intellectual rigor. Parsons Paris offers innovative English language bachelor's and master’s degree programs in fashion, strategic design management, and art, media, and technology. Curricula brings together the globally renowned pedagogy of Parsons School of Design and the unique resources of Paris, with its heritage brands, forward-looking entrepreneurial culture, and access to Europe and beyond. Together with Parsons in New York and The New School—Parsons’ parent university—Parsons Paris maintains a network of local and global universities, cultural institutions, and organizations and businesses. Inspired by this dynamic city and a collaborative, interdisciplinary culture, graduates go on to pioneer new industries and pursue creative careers in Paris and worldwide.



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Media Contacts:

Will Wilbur,
The New School

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