A New Textiles (MFA)
at Parsons School of Design
Textiles are literally and figuratively woven into human history and culture. Today communities of makers, designers, and scholars are exploring textiles — from locally crafted materials to 3D knitted matter to hand-embellished fabrics — and pioneering textile-based industries and theory. The Master of Fine Arts in Textiles, launched in fall 2018 at Parsons School of Design, enables you to explore these dynamics creatively and reflectively, dissolving the boundaries between technology and craft. In the process, you are prepared for the growing array of creative and professional opportunities related to textiles in fashion design, product design, interior design, textiles research, set design, fine arts, architecture, and hybrid fields.
Interweaving Theory and Practice
In the two-year, 60-credit full-time MFA Textiles program, you develop a critical understanding of textiles’ sociocultural, environmental, and emotional dimensions throughout human history and into our future. You explore the potential to unite craft with innovative high-tech and bio-tech production. In studio courses, you develop skills in essential fabric-making techniques, such as fiber development and innovation, yarn sourcing and making, weaving and jacquard technology, knitting, pattern design, and textile embellishments. You refine your personal aesthetic sensibilities and understanding of sustainable practices on-site in NYC textile studios and design ateliers, deepening collaborative and conceptual abilities in weaving, dyeing, knitting, and printing. Instruction in business best practices is integrated into each aspect of the curriculum, bringing economic and conceptual real-world skills into the studio.
Cross-Disciplinary by Design
Your study in the MFA Textiles program is interdisciplinary by design. Coursework connects fields including art, architecture, interior and industrial design, as well as fashion and autonomous design. The curriculum unites concerns ranging from human dignity to environmental sustainability to social justice. Accordingly, the program welcomes applicants from various backgrounds in textile research and making related to the liberal arts as well as creative disciplines including fashion design, interior design, product design, fine arts, and architecture. The goal is to create a diverse textiles community committed to expanding the field and integrating the high-tech innovations of Silicon Valley with local craft techniques developed in the Hudson Valley. Your study prepares you for a future in which smart textiles play many roles, collecting and transmitting data in a variety of products, including domestic goods and woven technology.
Join the Critical Conversation
Textiles are integral to a diverse array of institutions and industries — from fashion design, interior design, and scenic design to ubiquitous computing, automotive design, acoustic design, and health. At the same time, textiles fulfill the desire for tactile stimulation that accompanies the recent rise in digital and virtual culture. In the MFA Textiles program, you explore these dynamics creatively and reflectively, dissolving the boundaries between technology and craft, in keeping with contemporary practice. In the process, you take an active role in textile cultures and industries, preparing to reimagine textile mills and design businesses, lend studio skills to companies, launch a business as an independent designer or high-tech researcher, or pursue advanced studies.
Friends of Light (a weaving collective) by Pascale Gatzen
Textiles as Urban Practice
New York Textile Month — a September celebration of textile culture initiated by MFA Textiles founder Lidewij Edelkoort, dean of Hybrid Design Studies at Parsons — highlights the community-based approach to promoting textile industries that students in the program will find. Local partners in the event become your direct mentors, inviting you into their studios and businesses one day a week to build your creative skills and networks. The growing global interest in textile-related creation brings international players into the fold to partner with the program, extending your understanding of conceptualization and production. The program also draws on Parsons’ institutional partners such as Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, with its extensive material collections and curatorial resources. Lectures and hybrid workshops by major international designers and producers add dimension to your learning.
The MFA Textiles program launched in Fall 2018. The 2020 application will be available on our website in early September. The application deadline is January 1. To be most competitive for admission and merit scholarship consideration, please apply before the deadline. We will continue to review applications submitted after the January 1 priority deadline pending space availability in the program. The Admission Committee will make a decision on your application only after all the required materials have been received. Spring term admission is not offered for this program.