Working in Fashion / Studies: MAFS Alumni and Career Panel


Working in Fashion / Studies 

MA Fashion Studies Alumni & Career Panel


In recognition of the launch of our MA Fashion Studies program ten years ago, as the first masters of arts program of its kind at Parsons School of Design in New York, we recently hosted a special zoom event in which we met with alumni from our graduating classes 2012 to 2020. 


Listen in as our alumni speak about how our MA Fashion Studies has shaped their professional lives after graduation and as they share their experiences working in a range of fields in fashion and fashion studies.


The first part of the panel features Anya Kurrenaya, an alumna from our inaugural class, who speaks with Kim Jenkins, Roberto Fillipello and Vanessa Rosales about the hybrid nature of fashion studies, their work in academia and the ways they merge education, writing and activism. 


In the second part of the panel Maegan Stracy, who graduated from our MA Fashion Studies program in 2020, engages in a conversation with Allison Taylor, Joelle Firzli, Mareike Koback, Vaishnavi Kambadur and Yanran Xiong to talk about how they started to work in fashion media, public relations, museums and curation, and the importance of community building. 


Organized by Heike Jenss, Director MA Fashion Studies, School of Art and Design History and Theory, Parsons School of Design, The New School. 



Short bios of our speakers:


Anya Kurennaya (class of 2012), an alumna of the inaugural class of the MA Fashion Studies program, is a doctoral candidate in Drexel University’s Communication, Culture, and Media PhD program and Part Time Associate Professor at Parsons, where she teaches the introductory survey course, Introduction to Fashion Studies. She has developed and taught courses in design history and zine culture and has published and presented on the relationships between fashion, music, and youth culture as well as design pedagogy and language learner support.


Kimberly Jenkins (class of 2013) is Assistant Professor of Fashion Studies at Ryerson University. Kim became best known for designing a course and exhibition called Fashion and Race and has shared her insights globally in industry forums and institutions. Her expertise in fashion history and infusing ‘race’ into fashion theory education has led to consulting work for Gucci, the Centraal Museum, and other corporate brands and organizations. Kim is the founder of the Fashion and Race Database, an online platform that expands the narrative of fashion history and challenges misrepresentation within the fashion system. 


Dr. Roberto Filippello  (class of 2013) is Teaching Associate at the University of Edinburgh (School of Design). Working at the intersection of queer theory and fashion studies, he lectures and publishes on LGBTQ representation in fashion media, queer aesthetics, and creative activism across transnational contexts. His work is published or is forthcoming in journals including CriticismThird TextFashion Theory, and Australian Feminist Studies. He is currently working on his first book project, tentatively titled Queering the Fashion Page: Affect and Sexuality in Independent Magazine Cultures (1990-2020).


Vanessa Rosales (class of 2014) is based in Colombia, where she is a columnist, public speaker and where she teaches critical studies of fashion in hybrid formats. With her focus on women’s history, style and feminism, she opened up some of the first fashion studies spaces in Colombia, including a diploma in Fashion Studies at the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano. She writes a weekly column for El Espectador, created the podcast Mujer Vestida and is author of the books Mujeres Vestidas (Dressing Women 2017) and Uncomfortable Women (forthcoming in 2021). Her articles have been published in CNN Style, The Business of Fashion, Vestoj: The Journal of Sartorial Matters, VOGUE Latin America, BBC Mundo, VICE, among others.


Allison Taylor (class of 2015) is a writer and violinist based in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from the MA Fashion Studies program at Parsons in 2015 and earned degrees in Art History and Violin Performance from DePauw University in 2012. Allison is currently the Fashion and Beauty Content Editor at the Foundry, where she creates branded digital, social, and print content for titles across the Meredith portfolio. Her writing appears in InStylePeople, Harper’s BazaarSuited Magazine, and more.


Joelle Firzli (class of 2016) is a trilingual independent fashion researcher, curator and entrepreneur. She is the co-founder of Tribute and the DC Sustainable Fashion Collective. She studied political science in Beirut and holds a MA in Fashion Studies from Parsons, with a deep and varied knowledge of fashion history and theory. Her research interests include 20th Century fashion, sustainability, Non-Western fashion and fashion photography. Tedx Speaker and fashion critic, her work has been presented in Beirut, Hanoi, Washington DC, Paris, NYC and Austin, and in publications such as Studies in Costume and Performance, the Business of FashionCR Fashion Book and Huffington Post 


Mareike Koback (class of 2017) studied Media and Communication (B.A.) in Germany before moving to New York in 2015 to complete the M.A. Fashion Studies program. During her time at Parsons, she expanded her experience in the Fashion PR industry through various internships at fashion brands and PR agencies and then continued working as a Public Relations professional in the luxury fashion industry after graduation. Since 2018, she is the Public Relations Specialist for Central Europe at Gucci in Milan, Italy. In her most recent work projects she was involved in the launch of Guccifest.


Vaishnavi Kambadur (class of 2018) is an Assistant Curator at the Museum of Art & Photography, Bengaluru in India. Her most recent project is the virtual exhibition No Two Motifs are Alike that explores the cultural history of textiles traded from the Indian subcontinent. Kambadur holds a MA in Fashion Studies from Parsons School of Design, New York and a Bachelor’s in Knitwear Design from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi.


Yanran Xiong (class of 2019) is currently the New-York-based editor for the Chinese independent fashion and art magazine Rouge Fashionbook. In her role as fashion editor, she interviews artists, writes features, and edits languages. Her passion for translating thoughts and theories into visual creativity led her further onto the path of transitioning from being heavily textual to a focus on art and creative direction, working with photographers and videographers to make concepts and ideas come visually and creatively alive. 


Maegan Stracy (class of 2020) is working as Part-Time Faculty at Parsons and is a recent graduate from the MA Fashion Studies program. Stracy’s master’s thesis examines how womxn are interpreted and mediated in news publications based on what they wear and her recent research on Helmut Lang and Calvin Klein has been published in the Bloomsbury Fashion Video Archive. Stracy holds a BFA in Fiber and Art History from the Kansas City Art Institute. She has worked in fashion production, higher education, and developed her own line of ‘slow-fashion’ pieces. 


Please also take a look at what other MA Fashion Studies alumni are doing on our program website, where you can also see examples of student work, including the most recent issue of our student-run journal BIAS on fashion and death, and a selection of our faculty’s research publications.



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