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Parsons School of Design names new dean of fashion

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Parsons School of Design names new dean of fashionDr. Ben Barry has been appointed the new dean of the School of Fashion at The New School’s Parsons School of Design.

Barry, who has more than 15 years of experiences as a fashion educator, researcher, and activist, specialises in equity, diversity and inclusion, and teaches courses on fashion and systemic change, queer fashion design and design justice.

Currently, he serves as the chair of fashion, associate professor of equity, diversity and inclusion, and director of the center for fashion and systemic change at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. As chair of fashion at Ryerson, he has led the department through a deep transformation by embedding and prioritising inclusion, decolonisation and sustainability into the curriculum and culture.

Barry will formally join Parsons on July 1, 2021.

As dean of fashion, Barry will lead and oversee all areas of the school including a curriculum that encompasses the BFA in Fashion Design, AAS degree programs in Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing, MFA in Fashion Design and Society, MFA in Textiles, and MPS in Fashion Management.

Dr. Rachel Schreiber, executive dean of Parsons School of Design, said in a statement: “We had a very strong field of candidates. Ben is truly exceptional. Ben is a passionate leader with an outstanding track record as an educator, scholar and change-maker – qualities that are at the heart of Parsons’ educational mission and unique approach to interdisciplinary, real-world learning.

“I am confident that his experience will complement Parsons’ rich history of engaged citizenship and further our commitment to a spirit of social inquiry, visionary design, and equitable learning.”

Parsons appoints Dr. Ben Barry as new dean of fashion

Commenting on his appointment, Barry added: “I am incredibly excited to be joining Parsons School of Design as dean of fashion. My entire career has been guided by the purpose of creating a fashion industry that is grounded in equity and justice.

“I am deeply inspired by how Parsons faculty and students are transforming the fashion industry in these areas, and I look forward to working with them and the broader community to lead a new era of fashion education. Together we will bring forward deep, lasting and radical change by fostering racial justice, supporting Indigenous resurgence, honouring the beauty of all bodies, and living in harmony with animals and the Earth.”

Barry is a tenured associate professor of equity, diversity and inclusion in Fashion, and has been awarded over 1.5 million US dollars in funding to support his research programme that explores the intersectional fashion experiences of disabled, fat, trans and queer people and collaborates with them to co-design clothing and fashion media. He recently co-directed the Fashion Resurgence Symposium in conjunction with Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto.

In addition, he has been published extensively in academic journals including Fashion Theory, Gender and Society and The International Journal of Advertising and in popular media such as The Business of Fashion and Harvard Business Review. He is co-editor of Crossing Gender Boundaries: Fashion to Create, Disrupt and Transcend (Intellect) as well as the forthcoming anthology The Fashion Activist: Transforming Fashion Education and Ending Body Oppression (Intellect).

Before he began his academic career at Ryerson, he founded the first inclusive modelling agency in the world for which he was awarded the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person’s Case for advancing gender equality in Canada.

Barry received his BA with Honours in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Toronto, and holds a Master’s in Innovation, Strategy and Organization and PhD in Management from the Judge Business School at Cambridge University in the UK.

Image: via Parsons School of Design

Parsons School of Design