From Pratt’s inspirational campus in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn, the Fashion Department offers students a concept-led, craft-based education at the heart of one of the world's cultural epicenters.
Fashion education at Pratt Institute is trans-disciplinary in nature, closely allied with illustration, photography, film, performance, visual studies, and material culture. The practice of fashion is taught as one’s cultural embodiment within a social framework and learned through rigorous attention to production, craft, and contemporary aesthetics. Students build a vision and a language through conceptual processes, emphasizing curiosity, imagination, improvisation, and play. They communicate that vision through proficiency in construction and illustration skills, fluency with materials, traditional techniques, and digital technologies as well as synthesis of germane research. Interdisciplinary and collaborative classroom opportunities set the program apart, offering students tools and creative engagement beyond the fashion milieu.
One of the world's most prestigious independent colleges, Pratt is globally recognized for its distinguished academic record. Graduates in fashion carry the hallmarks of the department into the working world, where they are recognized for a commitment to ingenuity, authenticity, creativity, and personal vision as well as an informed versatility. Their creative approach both reflects and challenges the needs of contemporary culture.
A FASHION PROGRAM IN THE FASHION CAPITAL
Pratt takes the city of New York as its urban laboratory, offering students a wealth of opportunities to gain crucial experience beyond the classroom environment. Museums, archives, and design studios familiarize students with design processes and histories; internships at top design companies such as Zero Maria Cornejo, Rag & Bone, Ralph Lauren, and Donna Karan offer hands-on experience and professional networking. All Pratt fashion students participate in annual design competitions sponsored by the CFDA and YMA FSF; competitions sponsored by companies such as Cotton Incorporated and Supima Cotton are integrated into the curriculum, providing avenues for scholarship support and exposure within the fashion community. Public critiques with faculty, peers, and outside design authorities help students crystallize and articulate their design visions. A mandate to show work publicly—in gallery environments, on the street, in showrooms—instills appreciation for the true spectacle of fashion.
The Fashion faculty is comprised of professional practitioners from across the industry, including directors at top design houses, historians, curators, and craftspeople. Some have worked for Donna Karan, Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo, Nike, Liz Claiborne, Fole & Corinna, Ralph Lauren, and Geoffrey Beene; some have built their own companies such as Study-NY, to promote modern sustainable fashion, millinery, and more. Their work has been featured in a wide range of publications including the New York Times, Essence magazine, The Fader, and The New Yorker. Seen on stage and screen at the Metropolitan Opera, on Broadway, and on Bravo TV, faculty work has also sold in Barney’s New York, Henri Bendel, Saks Fifth Avenue, and countless independent retailers.
Guest practitioners from all fashion backgrounds join faculty in the classroom as visiting lecturers, advisors, and critics. Each semester, a full roster of fashion experts is invited to talk theory and practice with Pratt students.
The fashion design curriculum fosters development of individual identity within a collaborative environment, informed by self-reflection and engaged critique. A professionally active and accomplished faculty challenge students to seek beyond the conventional. Students are prompted to have an ongoing dialog between sketch, flat 2-D patternmaking, and 3-D drape; they are expected to work consistently, executing the fashion idea through the making of original and contemporary collections.
The Fashion Department offers a wide variety of elective and advanced courses on topics such as millinery, shoe design, fashion and video, zero-waste construction, tailoring techniques, jewelry design, leather and fur, and knitting to compliment the core curriculum. Toward that end, the department also supports international exchange and intensive summer study abroad programs.