parsons school of design and sister parish design debut new partnership

MFA Textiles students collaborated with the storied design brand to create new and innovative wallpaper styles and other wall coverings

February 17, 2021, New York - The New School’s Parsons School of Design is proud to present a new partnership with American heritage textile studio, Sister Parish Design, one of the world’s leading, wallpaper and textiles brands. Students from the school’s MFA Textiles program collaborated with Sister Parish Design on a range of innovative and sustainable design concepts for products including wallcoverings and fabrics, and new processes to repurpose and reduce waste.

Led by President of Sister Parish Design, Susan Crater, and Creative Director Eliza Crater Harris, granddaughter and great granddaughter of American design icon Sister Parish, the multi-generational, female-founded and run family company continues to lead in the best of American craftsmanship, which has been the innovator shaping numerous industries with new techniques, applications and tools. The collaborative project with Parsons explored the future of craftsmanship, how we can reimagine what “Made in America” means, and what it takes to create and train the next generation of craftspeople in America.

"Parsons proudly collaborated with Sister Parish Design on this "real-world" project that gave our students the ability to research, innovate, and propose new concepts and ideas to one of the world’s most iconic design brands,” said Preeti Gopinath, MFA Textiles Program Director. “We are grateful to Sister Parish Design for the opportunity this provides to our graduate students, which helped them gain professional experience and learn valuable insights about the textile industry.”

“Sister Parish Design was delighted to partner with Parson School of Design’s MFA Textiles program. Given the shared history between the two (Sister’s design partner Albert Hadley graduated from Parsons in 1949 and Sister Parish received an honorary degree) it is particularly resonant for us. We loved working with the iconic New York institution and their very talented graduate students,” shares Susan Crater.

The MFA Textiles program at Parsons is centered around the intersectionality of craft, technology, beauty and sustainability. Through the partnership with Sister Parish Design, students investigated and explored the role of craft locally, researched the global history of craftsmanship, and discovered how new innovations and technology are influencing the field. Students also examined materials and new uses for textiles, and what permanence and sustainability means with regards to wallpaper and other home textiles. 

Throughout the course of the collaboration, students researched, virtually visited factories, and heard from leading textile experts and designers. Students also created prototypes of their designs, with Sister Parish potentially bringing to market this year. The brand has also offered one of the MFA Textiles students an internship.

Mrs. Henry Parish (“Sister Parish”) is considered by many to be the last of America’s grande dame decorators. While best known for decorating the White House for Jackie Kennedy, Sister Parish originated the ‘American Country’ style, one of the most enduring decorative styles of the twentieth century. Revived in 2000 by Sister Parish's granddaughter and great granddaughter, Sister Parish Design is an American heritage design brand owned and operated by women who began with the goal of resurrecting the prints and wallpapers that Ms. Parish loved. The resulting collection embodies the charm, warmth and flair of her signature style. From a tidy pattern of dots to a star-spangled trellis design, Sister Parish Design fabrics and wallpapers carry on a tradition of the “Parish Hadley” style of timeless patterns that represent an eclectic mix of materials – both traditional and modern.

Parsons School of Design at The New School 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, as well as online courses, degree and certificate programs. 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.

Sister Parish Design finds inspiration in the past to design for today. With a sensibility rooted in traditional, American decorative arts history, we celebrate the beloved designs from the prolific Parish Hadley archive. To understand the story between iconic decorators Sister Parish and Albert Hadley, is to recognize the diversity and variety of our collection. Bold and beautiful. Soft and subtle. Masculine and feminine. Theirs was a special relationship that flourished in the mutual respect of their complementary point of views. With a deep appreciation of our craft heritage, from the artisans on the Lower East Side to the banks of Louisiana, every print has its own American story. A melting pot of influence and creativity. We honor the story of great American houses, which reflect the people who lived in them. Decorating continues to be the prism in which we live our lives, and it is our privilege to collaborate with our clients in telling these stories through our collection. Decorating is to dream, and Sister Parish Design is a family of dreamers.


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Media Contacts:

Will Wilbur,
The New School

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