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A Look Back on Female Designers at The New School

March 7, 2022

"The leadership, the scholarship, and the community of women at The New School are essential to the present and the future of The New School and the world in which we exist. There is no history without women’s history and no future without all women." -- Melanie Hart, the current Senior Vice President for Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice and Chief Diversity Officer.

We are very excited to celebrate Women's History Month here at CPE! We've rounded up several images of inspiring students and alumnae from the early to mid 20th century, courtesy of The New School Archives and Special Collections. View more with the 2010 fashion exhibition catalog, Inspiring Women: Selected Designers from Parsons’ Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Archives. This exhibition featured all female designers who were connected to the Parsons School of Design, and focused on their education, professional practice, process, and representation.


Women's History Month

Cover image for the exhibition catalog "Inspiring Women: Selected Designers from Parsons’ Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Archives."

Women's History Month

Fashion designer Mildred Orrick (1906-1994) graduated from the New York School of Fine and Applied Art (later, the Parsons School of Design) in 1928 and then became a fashion and costume designer and illustrator. She designed part of the Futurama exhibition at the 1939 New York World's Fair.

Women's History Month

French-born Joset Walker (1902-1999) graduated from the New York School of Fine and Applied Art (later, the Parsons School of Design) in 1928, and became a leading designer of clothing for Saks Fifth Avenue's Theatrical Department. In 1932, Walker served briefly as head costume designer for RKO Pictures, working under the name Josette De Lima. In 1940, she returned to New York and began designing for wholesale manufacturer David M. Goodstein, before leaving the company to found Joset Walker Designs. Often incorporating Mexican and Guatemalan textiles, colors, and styles into her designs for the American market, Walker reached the pinnacle of her career in the 1940s and '50s as a designer of casual, feminine clothing for women.

Women's History Month

The Parsons School of Design Alumni Association was incorporated in 1952 and continued until Parsons School of Design merged into the New School for Social Research in 1970.

Women's History Month

Bea Feitler (1938-1982) graduated from Parsons School of Design in 1959 with a degree in Graphic Arts and Advertising. She went on to lead an illustrious career as a designer of books, magazines, posters, record album covers and more. Feitler served as art director for Harper's Bazaar and Ms. magazines; was consulting art director for Condé Nast, where she created the look for Self magazine; and designed for Rolling Stone magazine.

Inspired by these alumnae? Check out some of our Fashion certificates.

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