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Parsons vs. Otis vs. Pratt Institute

liek0806liek0806 Registered User Posts: 3,316 Senior Member
So here is my dilemma.

Everyone knows Parsons as the best for fashion design, with famous alums such as badgley mishka, proenza schouler, donna karen, anna sui, narciso rodriguez, and many more. I've never visited Parsons and I was suppose to visit last month but wasn't able too. Part of what attracts me to Parsons is It's name. Parsons name is defined as the best for fashion design. It's in NYC, and we all know NYC is the fashion capitol of the US, and I think by being at Parsons I'd be able to do internships while in school with design houses and if not then I'd still be able to have the connections a school like Parsons would have. The thing that makes it so hard for me is that it's Parsons! and now that Parsons is all over TV with project runway, I can only imagine it's name becoming more famous. A downside of Parsons is that even though I haven't visited, from the sketches I see students produce in terms of it looking real, they don't impress me, but does it really matter when Parsons dominates the design world in NYC? Everytime I hear news about Parsons and it achievements I fall in love with it, or the image of Parsons. Parsons just seems like a very real school, like if you can make it at Parsons you can make it anywhere.

With Otis, as of right now I love Otis. I have visited the fashion department like at least 5 times since it's about 2 miles away from my home, and everytime I go I am blown away by the design work the students produce. Just yesterday I was visiting and walking around, and this lady who works with teh school was just so nice to me. She invited me to come on Monday because Bob Mackie was going to be there. ( I cant go i have school) and then she invited me on tuesday to attend when people judge collections for the fashion show and once again I can't attend( i have school). She was just so nice. My only problem with Otis is that it is in LA. I don't think a school like Otis can give me the opportunities a school like Parsons can in terms of connections. By opportunities I mean connections with high fashion design houses. I know that many students out of Otis end up working in LA based company many are swimwear/sk8ting which to me doesn't read high fashion. And in terms of education and awards Otis has been beating Parsons in the CFDA awards. But another downside is that Otis is so close to me that I feel if I go to Otis it will feel like I'm depending on my parents for the rest of my life and I'll never have the experience of living on my own.

And then there's Pratt who is giving me 15,000 in scholarship/grants which is a huge weight of my sholders. I wouldn't mind attending Pratt the only problem is that when FIT and Parsons are on your neighbor island, and they're known more for fashion than you, then there's a problem. I think what I would like about Pratt even though I don't really know how good it is, is that it probably has much more of an artistic relax atmosphere. Another benefit is that it is still in NYC, but then again I'd feel like Parson students would have much more opportunities.

So I am completely lost. And I don't know what to do.
Post edited by liek0806 on

Replies to: Parsons vs. Otis vs. Pratt Institute

  • liek0806liek0806 Registered User Posts: 3,316 Senior Member
    So no replies?
  • taxguytaxguy Registered User Posts: 6,629 Senior Member
    I am not an expert in Fashion Design; however, I will give you my take.

    First, you need to call some people in Fashion Design (FD) and ask them for their opinion. If you can't find any names, get some fashion magazines and contact the various editors and assistant editors. Get the opinion of these people.

    Second, Pratt is quite good in Fashion Design. Don't kid yourself. They get top people teaching there. Also, Pratt has a nice campus that most of the others don't have. (check out my overview of Pratt in the Pratt forum).

    Third, you also forgot FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) which is VERY well-known for FD. It also is part of the NY state university system, which means tuition is around $15,000 even without any financial aid or scholarship. FIT may actually be more known or as well-known as Parsons.

    My take on fashion is that NY is where "it's at." I don't think you will have anywhere near the connections in OTIS that you would have in NY. However, you need to ask some fashion professionals.

    If I had to rate what you should do from my little knowlege, take FIT if money is a big issue. If not, ask around about which school has the best connections and training. I also wouldn't rule Pratt out. I live on the east coast. Pratt has a very strong reputation as do the other schools.

    I should note that someone in the fashion design field noted:
    "Go with the lower priced school ( they were comparing Parsons and FIT). Based on my experience in business school,
    some of the instructors who teach at Parsons will also teach at FIT and vice
    versa. It's who knows you and likes you, not how much you spend on your
    education. I went to business school and ended up in Fashion based on my

    Other fashion experts have said that you should double major in textiles to make yourself more marketable.Thus, you may want a school that has both majors. Fashion jobs are tough to get supposedly.
    I did some research on FIT. They have more majors than that of Parsons. Here are all their undergraduate majors:

    Bachelor Degree Programs
    Accessories Design
    Advertising Design
    Advertising and Marketing Communications
    Computer Animation and Interactive Media
    Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing
    Direct Marketing
    Fabric Styling
    Fashion Design
    Fashion Merchandising Management
    Fine Arts
    Graphic Design
    Home Products Development
    Interior Design
    International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries
    Packaging Design
    Production Management: Fashion and Related Industries
    Textile Development and Marketing
    Textile/Surface Design
    Toy Design
    Notice: they have both fashion design, apparal design and textiles.

    Finally, I believe that RISD has both fashion and textiles as majors.Check them out.

    Hope all this helps.
  • taxguytaxguy Registered User Posts: 6,629 Senior Member
    My posts expired for editing before I was able to make some changes.

    1. I assumed that you really want fashion. However, fashion design consists of 4 disciplines: fashion design, accessory and apparal design, textile design and costume design. There is also jewelry design, which you may or may not consider to be a subset of fashion design. If you want costume design, I would think that a west coast school such as Otis would be fine and maybe even better.

    2. I looked at Pratt's program, they do have jewelry design and fasion design but not textile design. However, built into their fashion program is accessory design.

    3. RISD does have both Apparal Design and Textile Design as separate majors and even offers a masters in Textile Design.

    4. Overall for Fashion Design, FIT seems to be the most comprehensive among the schools; however, I have not looked at their facilities. They also do not have a compus. FIT, however, is very hard to get admitted to because of their low price and high quality offerings. \
    Whew, I hope I have helped in some small way.,
  • camacama Registered User Posts: 303 Member
    Also pay attention to each schools's foundation year. They are all different for fashion. Parsons... a fine arts foundation year, FIT no foundation year ..just go right into fashion design courses and Pratt a seperate foundation year for fashion than the other design majors... a bit of a combo between fashion courses and fine arts courses. Also FIT starts out as a two year degree and then you have to apply and be accepted into the BA program. I do not think you can go wrong with any of them for fashion. Just a different approach for all three.

  • fashionicon143fashionicon143 Registered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    Yeah, how could you forget FIT? Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Donna Karan...

    As someone already mentioned Parsons does have a foundation program.This means that if you were to apply to Parsons, even as a transfer, you would have to compose your typical art portfolio. This consists of a self-potrait, a college, and I thnk 10 artworks. The same thing goes as a transfer unless you have 30 complete transferable credits in studio art. Great school but TOO much work. Project Runway did make the school more well known. But the school is EXTREMELY expensive.

    Otis. Otis is a great school as well. If I remeber correctly, you have to write an essay as well, as well as submit an art portfolio. I beleive it's a private school, which makes it an expensive school as well.

    I would say go with FIT. It has the prestige as well as the low price and the two year program. With FIT, you need to submit an essay but instead of submitting an art portfolio, you are submitting a fashion portfolio. Sketches, front and back equipped with real fabric swatches. And you also will have to submit garments you've made. As someone already pointed out, it is harder to get into than the rest of the fashion schools because of the price, but it can be done! I applied last year and was not accepted. Don't think for a second, that just because you are a great drawer that you will automatically be accepted. It won't help if you do not know what you are doing. So I read some books, re-did my whole portfolio and made some garments. I re-applied this year, and got accepted! I talked to other FIT students and they told me that if I didn't make it, then to re-apply in Fashion Merhcandising. All you need is a decent essay and good grades. Then switch your major to Fashion Design.

    I don't know much about Pratt. I more less picked a school based on price and how fast I be thrown into my major. Was too eager to deal with Parson's foundation program and I did not want to live in LA.

    There is also St. Martins in London. Alexander McQueen and John Galliano attended the school. I don't much about the school either, but it is extremely prestigous.

    I also thought it was a great idea to minor in Textiles.
  • mackinawmackinaw Registered User Posts: 2,909 Senior Member
    liek, have you made your choice?
  • mauretaniamauretania Registered User Posts: 136 Junior Member
    I was wondering if you had decided yet, as well. It's a difficult decision especially when you haven't visited some of the schools.

    My daughter is quite sad to be leaving Parsons but they were kind enough to say she could always come back and wouldn't have to reapply.
  • taxguytaxguy Registered User Posts: 6,629 Senior Member
    Mauretania, why is your daughter leaving Parsons, if not too personal?
  • mauretaniamauretania Registered User Posts: 136 Junior Member
    She was originally planning on majoring in Fashion Design but has since decided she is interested in Costume Design which Parsons's doesn't offer. She's in the process of tranferring. Also, the decision was reinforced after she spent the day in the Fashion Design department back in February (this is a bit hard to explain but basically she felt the
    school tends toward main stream "American" design). She's been interning, once a week, at a costume design shop and spent the other morning with a well-known costume designer which is difficult as it's a reality-check.
  • mauretaniamauretania Registered User Posts: 136 Junior Member
    I meant the "Fashion Design Department" tends toward main stream
    "American" design, NOT the school in general. Each department is completely different.
  • taxguytaxguy Registered User Posts: 6,629 Senior Member
    Well.....in that case.....Otis does have costume design. I would imagine that, as a west coast school, their program would be quit good. YOu should also look into NYU. With the strong theater program, they should have a good costume design too.
  • liek0806liek0806 Registered User Posts: 3,316 Senior Member
    As for considering other schools, it's a little to late. Deadlines have passed.

    I was rejected from FIT, so therefore isn't an option there.

    And I have narrowed out Pratt from the decision just because I appealed my financial aid package at Otis, and I received Cal Grant Money(7500) which makes a huge difference, and I would rather attend Otis than Pratt.

    But the decision is between Parsons and Otis. I have extensions from both to submit my deposit because of my financial aid appeals.

    As of now, if I attend Otis, I'd be commuting from home which will save me around 10K which leaves me tuition expenses and the rest. Of money I dont have to pay because of scholarships and grants received it is 17,500 with the chance of it being 21,500.

    At Parsons I still havent heard from the appeal but if things dont change I would only have received 6000 in scholarship money. Which puts me to take out loans for housing, the rest of tuition, and the other expenses which should come out to be approximately 30-40,000(out of my pocket).

    This is my hugest concern. I have no idea what to do. Is spending all that money on Parsons worth it? I want to be really big and I just want to have the best opportunities and connections as possible, and I know at Parsons I'll have those, and that scares me because when I think of Otis, it is like I'd be living an ordinary life(never living LA, and I think my life would seem very routine), but who knows. AHh this is so hard.

    I emailed some fashion houses in new york and europe asking them for opinions/suggestions, and havent heard from them. I didn't call them because I'm in school most of the day and time difference doesn't allow me to call during business hours. So I'm screwed, and I just don't know what to do.
  • fashionicon143fashionicon143 Registered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    If that's the case, then I say go for Parsons.

    Like I said before, it's a great school. I would have applied but I have already taken a year of college, so it would have been a waste of money and classes already taken, if I applied to Parsons this year.

    IMO, New York has it over LA. NY is the fashion capital of the world. And if you are going to be big, you are going to end up in NY anyway. FIT and Parsons are tied for first place when it comes to best fashion design schools in the U.S.

    Otis is quite a bit smaller than Parsons. But hey, if you've got the fin aid, and the acceptence, I say go for it.

    Congrats on getting accepted to Parsons!
This discussion has been closed.