Founded in 1934, The School of Fashion Design is the only educational institution in Massachusetts dedicated exclusively to the study of fashion design. We provide students with a solid foundation in apparel design and construction that you won’t find anywhere else. We offer small, hands-on classes taught by expert faculty in professional studio workrooms, and our Newbury Street location is the heart of the Boston fashion district.
The School of Fashion Design is committed to excellence in educating students in the complete fashion design process, from creation and innovation to comprehensive technical expertise, so that they are prepared to become leaders in the global fashion design industry. At the School of Fashion Design, you learn how to be the best.
Over 80 years of experience affords The School of Fashion Design a unique perspective and expertise in providing a comprehensive and competitive fashion education.
The originally-named Modern School of Applied Art first opened its doors in 1934 during the Great Depression and on the cusp of the golden age of Hollywood. Visionary founders
Carolyn L. Dewing (Radcliffe), Donald Smith-Feeley (Parsons School of Design), and later Lucy R. Robertson (LaSalle). The original location at 687 Boylston Street was at the time a notable Boston landmark, the building flanked by two great Kensington stone lions, which now front the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Copley Square.
In 1936 Mrs. Isobel Sinesi (Avon University, Boston University, and Rhode Island School of Design) joined the faculty and expanded the curriculum to include fashion design. Mrs. Sinesi served the School faithfully first as instructor, then beginning in 1952 as Director, and finally as Director Emerita from 1978-1997.
The School of Fashion Design persevered through World War II. In the 1950s, Bobby-soxers, American Bandstand and poodle skirts were trending. So was the idea of specialization, or a concentration in one area of applied art training. As a response to the changing economy and work force demands, The School was reorganized as a non-profit corporation in 1955 and renamed the Modern School of Fashion Design. The operation moved to Boston’s “fashion-way” on Newbury Street in 1956, and has since concentrated exclusively on training in fashion design.
The student body of the sixties witnessed Flower Power, the Space Race, the Civil Rights Movement and Camelot - the legendary Kennedy years in the White House. In 1967, the Directors renamed the School The School of Fashion Design (SFD). In 1968, SFD was relocated to its own permanent building at 136 Newbury Street, at the heart of Back Bay’s haute couture salons and boutiques and art galleries.
Annie Hall, Disco and Women's Lib defined the seventies, while the 80's were all about excess and success, with shows like 'Dallas' and 'Dynasty' dominating the airwaves. The nineties marked 'The End of Fashion' with grunge and anti-fashion trends. The new millennium brought opportunity for innovation in technology, fabric, and manufacturing with performance fashion.
Today, The School of Fashion Design is the only educational institution in Massachusetts dedicated exclusively to the study of fashion design. SFD alumni are industry leaders in Boston, New York, across the country, and around the globe. Our students and alumni are exploring new technologies like 3D printing in their designs. After more than 80 years in the business, the future never looked brighter for fashion!