khary simon

WWD has teamed with the Parsons School of Design and the education platform Yellowbrick to produce Fashion Business Essentials — an online course digging deep into the trends shaping the industry today. 

The program includes over 15 hours of instruction and project time offered across five modules hitting topics as diverse as “Entrepreneurship and the Fashion System,” “Managing Fashion Production,” “Fashion Branding,” “Marketing Strategies,” and “Retailing and Distribution.” 

Those who complete the course, which can be found at, will earn a noncredit certificate from Parsons. 

Yellowbrick previously produced a Sneaker Essentials course and also collaborated with Parsons for a Fashion Industry Essentials course, seeking to introduce people to the intricacies of the industries they love while also helping to identify possible career paths. 

At least two big names in basketball have used the courses to build their fashion chops, including the Suns’ Langston Galloway, who took Sneaker Essentials while seeking to grow his own sneaker brand, and the Warriors’ Chasson Randle, who took Fashion Industry essentials to help him get into men’s wear.

“Fashion occupies a special place among creative industries, as expressed to us by the thousands of learners who have come through our Fashion and Streetwear programs,” said Rob Kingyens, president and chief executive officer of Yellowbrick. “For learners who are dedicated to learning all they can, we wanted to create a next-level educational experience that highlights the intricacies of this massive and inspiring industry. By tapping the passion and expertise of Parsons and WWD staff, we’re now able to help fashion professionals and businesses advance in this exciting industry.”

If ever there was a time when the fashion world needed to be illuminated, it is now, when the industry is in a period of forced evolution with more shoppers than ever turning to the web during the pandemic.

Amanda Smith, president of Fairchild Media Group, said: “WWD has been covering the fashion industry since 1910, and few if any years have been more disruptive to the industry than 2020 was. However, where there’s disruption, there’s opportunity. This is a chance for a whole new generation of talent to join us in reimagining the industry in bigger and better ways. By partnering with Parsons and Yellowbrick, we’re helping educate the next generation and we’re excited to tap our staff’s extensive knowledge in providing that education.”

The course, which is offered entirely online and can be done at one’s own pace, includes instruction from Parsons faculty as well as fashion insiders. Instructors include Keanan Duffty, director of fashion programs at Parsons; Khary Simon, vice president at The Premiere Group and a member of Parsons’ faculty; Jasmine S. Young, vice president of operations at Ami Colé; Rick Helfenbein, consultant and former chairman, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, and many more. 

 “The fashion industry has endured many challenges over the past year and we see its recovery as an opportunity to bring more diverse voices into the ranks,” said Ben Barry, incoming dean of the School of Fashion at The New School’s Parsons School of Design. “In this program, we’re building opportunities for talent who hail from nontraditional backgrounds in the fashion industry, and we’re furthering our mission to change the fashion education experience for the better.”