Never, never, give in to bad design! Just say NO!

Simon Collins, Dean of Fashion at Parsons New School for Design Speaks about Design Thinking and Creating Beautiful Solutions

As Dean of Fashion Parsons The New School for Design, Simon Parsons is among the leading experts on fashion design and creative thinking.


With over 25 graduate and undergraduate programs, the private college of the The New School University, Parsons is one of the most prestigious art and design universities in the world. It has been the home and inspiration to notable designers such as Donna Karan, Tom Ford, Alexander Wang, Raul Mendoza, Lela Rose, Jason Wu, Donald Brooks, Marc Jacobs, Doo-Ri Chung and many others. Parsons School of Fashion has rich traditions in developing and influencing the industry.

And Simon Collins himself has a deep understanding of contemporary fashion. Before working for Parsons, he has worked with some of the world’s leading brands – Nike (as Creative Director for Asia Pacific Division), Polo Ralph Lauren, Zegna, Fila, and Marks and Spencer.

Being in Dubai for the first time, Collins explains he was accused of a humble bragging. Is he? His speech was very informative, yet somewhat promotional.

Talking about design thinking and brands, Simon Collins admits asking questions and poking around is his style. “I am very curious and one has to be in the design world. This is my advantage,” he said. One gets the feeling he speaks more of what they do at Parsons than what he does as a designer.

The school teaches all the essentials of creative and design thinking. One of these basic rules is being who you want to be, entering the market with your own individuality. “You are your own brand”, he explains, “whatever you choose, whatever you wear, whatever phone you chose is YOUR BRAND”.

“Be curious, be your own brand, and be brilliant!” Being a successful designer, according to Collins, is being the best. Being good is not enough, you need to go beyond the ordinary and be excellent. Of course, do your homework – creative, exclusive items have their own clientele.

Limited-edition works can be advertised simply by word-of-mouth media, but not social media, he explained. Otherwise, you can decide to create and sell to masses and eventually lose your identity. Stay true to your brand – you can release your work to a narrow, targeted audience and sell exclusive items for higher price.

Another key factor for becoming a great fashion designer is never to accept a bad design. “Never, never, give in to bad design! Just say NO!”, says Collins.

In addition, being nice and encouraging other people to be nice is  a good strategy. Be elegant in every-day life! “Go out into the world and do great things” in a better way.

“Spezzatura means elegance and you can practice it in everything you do and everywhere you go.”

The talk ends with a short film about Parsons alumni, which strongly reminds of high school promotional videos you can watch on YouTube. Graduates’ testimonials are expected to convince us of Parsons’ excellent courses and the great background in fashion design they offer. A Parsons’ degree opens a lot of doors, concludes the video. Many of the attendees were impressed.

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