Parsons Paris Faculty Spotlight – Katharina Sand

January 11, 2019
Katharina Sand, Parsons Paris instructor

Applications are filling up quickly for our summer programs with Parsons Paris – The New School! This is one of our most popular campuses for art, fashion, design and photography students. API offers several program options, including a pre-college program meant for students aged 16-18. College-aged students also have great choices. Our Luxury Design program starts in Paris and ends in Florence, Italy. We also offer two different dates for our Art & Design Summer Program.

Courses at Parsons Paris are all taught by world-renowned names in the industry. Today we’re talking with the fantastic Katharina Sand!

Katharina Sand, Parsons Paris instructor

Katharina Sand; photo courtesy Nicholas Lapite

Katharina is a fashion entrepreneur, editor and lecturer. Let’s learn a little more about her!

API: Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to Parsons.

Katharina: Through my research and my practice as CEO of the fashion platform SEPTIEME ETAGE, I have worked on combining culture with commerce since 2000. After 18 years of high end designer retail I now investigate the function of fashion as an intercultural mediator through worldwide exhibitions/pop ups. I really see design – including fashion – as communication. Perhaps because I graduated in Media & Communications from Goldsmith’s College (University of London). I started covering fashion and culture in NY as a journalist in 1994 and have since contributed to a variety of publications as a journalist and editor, including L’OFFICIEL, Time Out and PAPER Magazine. My favourite shows of all time would be Alexander McQueen – what a spectacle.
Innovation fascinates me. I am co-curating a Fashion and Technology Festival at the House of Electronic Arts (HeK) Basel in January 2020, and am frequently invited as speaker on the subject, including at the ArtTech Foundation, Tongji University, and TedX Transmedia in Rome. I am based in Switzerland, where I am also a lecturer at the Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD) and fashion nominator for the Design Prize Switzerland ( supervised by Demna Gvasalia ).  It’s only a few hours by TGV from Paris and I was delighted when Parsons Paris invited me to teach.
Parsons Paris Summer Art Design Fashion Program Abroad

API: What classes have you taught in past summer sessions? What are the coursework & classroom structure like?

Katharina: “Business of Fashion“, “Fashion Communication”, and “Marketing, PR and Branding Strategy” . Though I have developed a syllabus for each course, I try to customize each class according to the career focus of the students present. It keeps the classes fresh every time. I prepare keynotes for each class in order to free students from taking notes, so that we can concentrate on class interaction and their contributions , as I really want to hear each student’s voice. Since I keep the pace up we usually fit in a few key visits and visitors. I am lucky to be able to count on colleagues and friends ranging from PAPER Magazine to the United Nations to interact with my students. As our field is changing so fast I want to impart my own curiosity and passion for research. One of the best tools is to be up to date and to be able to exchange with professionals.

API: Share a favorite moment or experience from your time with your students.

Katharina: Working with students is so continually gratifying that it is really hard to pick one moment. I was really touched by several students who have volunteered to intern for me after the summer class. It felt as if they did not want the class to end, which is probably the best compliment I have received. I was actually brought to tears when Tatiana, a NY Parsons student who was attending Summer school on a scholarship told me how much the class had meant to her. She was the first in her family to go to university and I am so proud of her.

Katharina, Tatiana & other parsons paris staff

Tatiana (center) at Parsons Paris!

Why should fashion & design students consider Parsons Paris?

What is extraordinary is the way we can focus on students. The classes are kept at such small sizes that it is really a boutique experience. My colleagues are amazing – I always regret I can’t take everybody else’s classes. And then, well, Paris itself! It is a fashion capital, but there is so much more – museums full of treasures and inspiration, streetstyle, lifestyle, music, the Seine, amazing food. We all have our own Paris, of course. Mine is an unforgettable experience each time I visit.

Anything else about yourself that you’d like to share?

When I was a kid, I was a member of the WWF Ranger Rick Nature Club, my dad took took us on a boat amongst wild Orcas with the co-founder of Greenpeace and we used to talk climate change over breakfast. My dad is my hero – he pioneered international environmental law.
There is so much innovation and so many new creative possibilities to make our industry more sustainable – it’s impossible not to get excited. I am proud to be teaching at a university that has made this a priority.

Katharina Sand is one of the fantastic lecturers you can learn from this summer through Parsons Paris & API! Applications for our Summer 1 program are due March 15th. Not sure where to start? Give us a call at 800-844-4124 & we’ll help you out!


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