Dean of School of Fashion at Parsons announces his impending departure

Tuesday, 19 August 2014
Simon Collins, dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons caught the industry by surprise Monday night, when he announced his impending exit from his role. Collins revealed that he intends to officially step down from his role by the end of the year, in an email sent to colleagues and friends. He intends to turn his full focus to his global practice of consultancy and advising companies such as WGSN and GPS about design. “Design thinking can be applied to any industry — legal, banking, political,” said Collins in an interview with WWD.

Simon Collins to step down from role as dean at Parsons

“I feel as though we have achieved a huge amount of growth at Parsons and you can only maintain that level of growth for so long. It has to level out a bit. I think I am more of a growth person than a leveling-out one,” he added. “I love the school massively and I will always be indebted to it. I shall always support it any way that I can.”

During the course of his six year tenure at Parsons, Collins has brought together the school's former widespread fashion programs for undergraduates and introduced its first master's degree in fashion, restructured the school's curriculum and campaigned for more partnerships between the fashion school and outside corporations, being a firm believer that fashion is an art form as much as it is a business.

He also helped pave the way for the school's move downtown to a 375,000 square foot space. Collins described his time at Parsons as “the most rewarding and enjoyable” of his professional life, and wrote to his friends, “There have been so many highs (plus one or two tricky moments) that I shall never cease to be amazed at how much joy and learning can be crammed into such a short period.”

Prior to taking on his role as dean at Parson, Collins held numerous designer and creative director roles within leading companies such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Marks & Spencer and Polo Ralph Lauren. Before joining Parsons, Collins was creative director of Nike's Asia-Pacific division, where he oversaw collaborations with Comme des Garçons and Issey Miyake.

A spokesman for Parson revealed that the school has begun an international search for Collins successor to take over the reins next year. An official announcement for Collins departure is expected to be made on Tuesday.

Images: Simon Collins, Parsons New School of Fashion