ESP Biography



STEVEN FAERM, Associate Professor, Parsons School of Design




Major: M.Ed., Learning and Teaching

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: 2015

Picture of Steven Faerm

Brief Biographical Sketch:

MEd, Harvard University
MSEd, Bank Street College of Education
BFA, Parsons School of Design.

Steven Faerm is an Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design (Undergraduate Program Director, 2007-2011). A Parsons alumnus ('94), he has designed for Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, and more. He began teaching in 1998, and was awarded The New School University's Teaching Excellence Award and the BFA Fashion Design Program's Teaching Award.

He has created college- and pre-college courses for Parsons and many other international institutions, and has served as a consultant for Rhode Island School of Design, Otis College of Art and Design, and Pratt Institute. He lectures internationally and runs design and pedagogy workshops for national and international institutions. His publications include 2 books and scholarly publications featured in academic journals.

Steven's area of research examines the future of design education, student development, and pedagogy.



Past Classes

  (Look at the class archive for more.)


School, Stress, and You in Spark 2018 (Mar. 17 - 18, 2018)
Stressed? Anxious? Is it impacting your schoolwork? And general sense of well-being? You are not alone. Research shows Americans’ stress levels are at an all-time high—and climbing. For students, excessive stress and anxiety compromises academic performance. Why are we so stressed these days? How does excessive stress impact our brain function and learning? What are some easy ways to lower our stress and anxiety, so that we do better in school? This 45-minute presentation begins with an overview of Americans’ current state of emotional well-being. We’ll then look at specific key factors that are contributing to our high stress and anxiety, such as excessive smartphone usage and social media. Finally, we’ll review 5 easy, practical methods you can adopt in your own daily life to reduce stress and anxiety. You’ll leave the session with a deeper understanding of how stress and anxiety impact your learning. You'll also have a list of 5 easy methods you can use to de-stress and to be more present in the classroom…and the world! Presented by Steven Faerm, Associate Professor, Parsons School of Design.


Creating Design, Creating Story in Splash 2017 (Nov. 18 - 19, 2017)
How do designers create and develop ideas? What is “conceptual thinking”? Are you thinking of becoming a designer? This 40-minute power-point lecture explores the design process: Design thinking, research methods, conceptualization, motif, storytelling, creative processes, and more are shown in both student and professional work. A full analysis of an Alexander McQueen collection that incorporates all of the key elements concludes the power-point presentation. While this lecture uses fashion design as its primary ‘lens’, the ideas discussed are applicable to all areas of design such as graphics, architecture, industrial design, animation, fine arts, and many more. Presented by Steven Faerm, Associate Professor, Parsons School of Design.


How Designers Design: Effective, Efficient, and Expeditions Ways for Generating Ideas in Splash 2017 (Nov. 18 - 19, 2017)
Ever wonder how artists and designers create such incredibly creative work? How do they draw inspiration from their environment in literal and figural ways? How are these visual and conceptual elements abstracted to create design motifs? How are these motifs then manipulated to produce art and design? This workshop will introduce you to the basic design process! We’ll first look at the work of fine artists (such as Ellsworth Kelly), designers (such as Alexander McQueen), and architects (such as Aoki Jun) to learn how images, research, and concepts combine to create ideas, motifs, and designs. Then, we’ll develop our own motifs and design processes. These can be based on your own pre-selected images/photos (or from images/photos supplied by the teacher during class). Although we’ll talk a lot about design in the context of fashion design, you can create any type of art and design you wish during the workshop! You’ll leave the class with lots of “raw” design ideas and sketches that can then be used to develop more finished work!


Design School Confidential: What the First Year of Art and Design School is REALLY Like in Splash 2017 (Nov. 18 - 19, 2017)
Thinking of applying to art/design school? Wondering about the differences between your high school- and college-level art/design courses? Looking for ways to prepare for a successful transition and have an amazing art/design school experience? The goal of this informal presentation and discussion is to de-mystify the first year experience of art/design school. The presenter, an Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design, recently completed a year-long research study that examined students’ transition from high school to design school. He will present his findings so that you can learn what college seniors and recent graduates said about their first-year experiences. What was it like? How could it have been easier and better? Following this brief overview, an informal conversation will allow you to ask your own questions and receive advice about the art/design school application process, portfolio development, coursework, future careers, and so much more. All students are welcome, and you are asked to bring any/all questions!


Design Process Workshop in Spark 2017 (Mar. 11 - 12, 2017)
How do artists and designers draw from their environment in literal and figural ways? How are these visual and conceptual elements abstracted to create design motif? How are these motifs then manipulated to create art and design? This 2-hour workshop will introduce you to the design process! We’ll first look at the work of fine artists (such as Ellsworth Kelly) and designers (such as Alexander McQueen) to learn how image, research, and concepts combine to create abstract ideas, motifs, and design. Following this, we’ll develop our own designs, motifs, and processes based on your own pre-selected images (or from images supplied by the teacher during class). Although we’ll talk a lot about design in the context of fashion design, you can create any type of art and design you wish during the workshop! You’ll leave the class with “raw” design ideas and sketches that can then be used to develop more finished work!


Design, Narrative, and The Future Studio in Splash 2016 (Nov. 19 - 20, 2016)
Designers must adopt radically different strategies if they are to succeed in the knowledge-based economy and evolving industries. Rather than narrowly focusing on the “what” of design, designers must increasingly focus on the “how” of design. This approach to design involves developing emotionally compelling narrative and unique design processes that, in turn, innovate product and heighten consumers’ interests. This presentation explores the future of design and the designer. We’ll discuss our contemporary mass-obsession with design, socio-economics, consumer behavior, marketing, sustainability, design education, and tomorrow’s design studio to contextualize how and why the designer’s role is shifting. The presentation concludes by showcasing undergraduate and professional fashion design projects that creatively illustrate key concepts. Presented by Steven Faerm, Associate Professor, Parsons School of Design.


Developing Your Design Thinking in Spark 2016 (Mar. 12 - 13, 2016)
How do designers create and develop ideas? What is “conceptual thinking”? Are you thinking of becoming a designer? This lecture examines the design process. Creativity, research methods, concept development, storytelling, design processes, and more are shown in both student and professional work. A full analysis of an Alexander McQueen collection that uses all of the key points concludes the presentation. While this lecture uses fashion design as its primary ‘lens’, the ideas discussed are applicable to ALL areas of design such as graphic design, architecture, industrial design, car design, gaming, and many more! Presented by Steven Faerm, Associate Professor, Parsons School of Design.


Preparing for Art and Design School in Splash 2015 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2015)
What’s the first year of college like in an art and design school? How is the experience similar/dissimilar to high school art and design? What challenges do students experience and how can they best prepare? In this presentation, the transitional experience from high school to design school is described based on a year-long research study performed at Harvard University by an Associate Professor from Parsons School of Design. The first year college experience, the future of art and design education, and how students can best prepare for the transition are discussed. Although this presentation focuses on art and design studies, the general transition from high school to college is discussed.


Fashion and the Future in HSSP Spring 2015 (Feb. 21, 2015)
This course introduces students to fashion design through conceptual thinking, innovative design processes, fashion technology, and how designers create collections. Learn how to think conceptually and understand how designers work, how and why the fashion industry is changing, and how new technology is being applied to apparel. During this course, each student will design and sketch their own fashion collection that may be used for their portfolio. Activities include lectures, drawing exercises, readings, and class discussions. The course is open to all skill levels; previous experience in design or drawing is not required. The course is taught by a visiting Associate Professor from Parsons The New School for Design who will also discuss art and design schools, and the portfolio application process.


Fashion Design: From Concept to Runway in Spark 2015 (Mar. 14 - 15, 2015)
Ever wonder how fashion designers create their exciting collections? This lecture examines how designers research inspiration, develop innovative design methods, and create powerful statements through clothing. We will first examine design fundamentals such as color theory, motif, and visual narrative. We will then look at professional and student work that uses these methods in different ways. The lecture culminates in a full analysis of an Alexander McQueen show that employs all of the topics discussed. You will leave the presentation with a better understanding of the complex fashion design process and how designers work! This lecture is appropriate for anyone considering a career in art and design; its content can be applied to all areas of art and design.