The New School News

Dr. Ben Barry, photo by Akash Rai
Dr. Ben Barry, photo by Akash Rai

Dr. Ben Barry Named Dean of Fashion at Parsons School of Design

The New School today announced that Dr. Ben Barry has been appointed Dean of the School of Fashion at The New School’s Parsons School of Design. Currently, Dr. Barry 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. He will formally join Parsons, one of the world’s leading art and design schools, on July 1, 2021.

As Dean of Fashion, Dr. Barry will lead and oversee all areas of the school including an innovative 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. He will work with academic leaders to shape a compelling vision for the future of fashion education in a global context.

“We had a very strong field of candidates. Ben is truly exceptional,” said Dr. Rachel Schreiber, Executive Dean of Parsons School of Design. “Ben is a passionate leader with an outstanding track record as an educator, scholar and changemaker – 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.”

With more than 15 years of experience as a fashion educator, researcher, and activist, Dr. Barry is a leader in advancing inclusive fashion pedagogy and research to create a future in which bodies that are currently stigmatized and excluded are instead valued and desired. As Chair of Fashion at Ryerson, he has led the department through a deep transformation by embedding and prioritizing inclusion, decolonization and sustainability into the curriculum and culture.

“I am incredibly excited to be joining Parsons School of Design as Dean of Fashion,” said Dr. Barry. “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, honoring the beauty of all bodies, and living in harmony with animals and the Earth.”

As a tenured Associate Professor of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Fashion, Dr. Barry teaches courses on fashion and systemic change, queer fashion design and design justice. He has been awarded over $1.5 million in funding to support his research program 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. Dr. Barry also leads executive education programs on anti-racist and inclusive fashion practices for global fashion brands and shares his insights on these topics with international media.

Dr. Barry has published extensively in academic journals including Fashion Theory, Gender & 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 modeling 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.

Dr. Barry received his BA with Honors 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 (UK).

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