FIT Introduces MFA in Fashion Design

newsroom FD MFA

FIT is launching a Master of Fine Arts program in Fashion Design, set to welcome its first class in fall 2017. The two-year, full-time program focuses on practice-based research and is open to students with varied experience in creative areas ranging from apparel design to architecture, engineering, and software development. Offered through FIT’s School of Graduate Studies, it is the first Fashion Design MFA in the SUNY system.

The program centers on a unique thesis process that supports innovation in design, fit, cut, construction, silhouette, and materiality. Students come to the program with an idea proposed at the time of application, and spend four semesters exploring their individual design concepts in the context of history/future, theory, philosophy, and practice within a structured and richly mentored environment.

“The relentless pace of fashion can hinder innovation,” says Jonathan Kyle Farmer, creator, professor, and chair of the program. “Here, the design process slows down to allow experimentation and reflection, and ultimately, a different way of looking at it.”

The thesis leads students through the process of translating inspiration into malleable design ingredients and solutions. The core concepts are:

  • Play: Working individually with faculty mentors, students explore the possibilities of their thesis with freedom, openness, and intent to take it in unexpected directions.
  • Focus: Each student is matched with a specially selected industry partner who advises on sharpening and clarifying the idea, creating initial prototypes, and defining the market.
  • Edit: Based on the best ideas, strongest samples, and happy “accidents” from previous thesis phases, students develop, design, and prototype their collections.
  • Conclude: Students present their collections along with a paper explaining their thesis process, and defend their thesis to a select panel of industry experts. Collections will be shown to investors, industry leaders, and other important audiences through an exhibition, a publication, and a presentation, providing a highly visible showcase for the work.

The curriculum includes two international field experiences and courses such as The Fashion Activist, which encourages new thinking around sustainability and design ethics, and craft:OLOGY, which explores the relationship of technology to creativity in design.

For more on the program and how to apply, visit

Related Posts