In what appears to be one of the more comprehensive efforts to help introduce high school students to fashion, the Newark Board of Education has teamed with The New School’s Parsons School of Design.
Together they are unveiling the Newark School of Fashion developed by Parsons School of Design Partnership, which will start in September. Leveraging Parsons’ education model, high school students will be given a strong design foundation that encompasses Parsons’ principles of sustainability, innovation and inclusivity.
Working with the Newark board, Parsons is leading the development of the syllabi first courses at Newark School of Fashion & Design, while creating a four-year curriculum. The aim is to help the students unlock the power of fashion to spark systemic societal change. Like other educational institutions, Parsons has been trying to offer greater access to a career in fashion to communities that have been traditionally underrepresented in the fashion industry. As part of the new program, NSFD students will be given guidance regarding college applications and career development. For example, they will be able to attend admission sessions at Parsons in New York.
There are also opportunities for industry collaborations at NSFD supported by Parsons. The high schoolers will be able to visit Parsons’ New York City campus for workshops with faculty about such topics as “Contemporary Fashion Systems and the Impact on Society” and “Garment Construction & Prototyping Experimentation.”
Providing the tools and educational skills for a career in fashion is increasingly a priority for some organizations and companies. Last month Harlem’s Fashion Row, Icon 360 and Gap Inc. launched the “Closing the Gap” initiative. With $510,000 in funding provided by Gap Inc., the program will provide financial awards to historically Black colleges and universities that encourage students to be innovative in the world of fashion. Looking to motivate younger students to pursue fashion careers, the Newark program appears to be breaking new ground.
Parsons School of Design executive dean Rachel Schreiber said, “Empowering diverse high school students to understand and choose from among the myriad career possibilities in fashion and other creative fields is a critical priority at Parsons as we seek to ensure that the next generation of designers truly reflects our society.”
Newark School of Fashion & Design principal Sakina Pitts described the partnership as “a major milestone in the quest to unlocking creativity, talent and hidden treasures awaiting students at the Newark School of Fashion and Design.”