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.
Explore our site to find out more, get social with SFD, or contact us to ask a question.
Mission & History
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!
SFD Founders and Former Directors
Co- Founder, 1934
President, 1934- 1966
President Emeritus, 1966-1976
Carolyn L. Dewing
Instructor, 1936- 1978
Director Emerita, 1978-1997
Richard F. Alartosky
former SFD President Emeritus and former Director, 1966 - 1999
A.B., A.M., Boston University
Graduate Research Scholar,
Delegacy for Extra Mural Studies, Oxford, England
former Director, 2001-2015
B.S., Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg, MA
Welcome to the School of Fashion Design!
Embarking on a career as a fashion designer is a serious undertaking requiring hard work and commitment. The key to your success begins with a solid education in all aspects of the apparel industry. I commend you for taking this exploratory first step and look forward to helping you achieve your dream.
Founded in 1934, the School of Fashion Design (SFD), Boston, provides students with a solid foundation in apparel design and construction that they won’t find anywhere else. Our small, hands-on classes are taught by professionals in the field of fashion design. The School of Fashion Design is the only school in Massachusetts dedicated exclusively to the applied study of fashion design.
The student experience at SFD begins with our Newbury Street location, in the heart of Boston’s fashion district. From the major designer labels to new boutique lines, you find it all here on Newbury Street. Many SFD students and alumni find exciting internships and work just steps from the School!
You will meet and work with a diverse set of students coming to SFD from all parts of the world. Our students are diverse not only with regard to country of origin but also personal and professional backgrounds and level of experience. Our work rooms and studios are filled with recent high school graduates, working professionals embarking on a new career path, students from area colleges enriching their education with our fashion courses, and even students with graduate degrees who are now pursuing their dream of an education and career in fashion!
SFD faculty and students are also active partners in our community, collaborating regularly with local and national theaters, museums, libraries, civic organizations, local businesses, and other area colleges. Our reputation for excellence is on display each time our students show their work outside the classroom at the many fashion shows and exhibit opportunities available to our students throughout the year. SFD students frequently win design awards in and around Boston, and four out of five of 2014 Boston Fashion Week LAUNCH designers were from SFD.
With your SFD Certificate in Fashion Design in hand, you will join our esteemed group of alumni, who are industry leaders in Boston, New York, across the country and around the globe, having enjoyed design careers with Bergdorf Goodman, Carolina Herrera, Coach, J. Jill, Michael Kors, PUMA, Rag & Bone, Ralph Lauren, Reebok, Timberland, Victoria’s Secret, and Zac Posen. Several alumni are also designers and costumers for stage and screen, including Cirque du Soleil.
Our varied class levels and flexible schedules (Monday - Saturday) are designed to meet the needs and profiles of all students. So whatever your level, background, or career goals, I look forward to seeing you in the workroom, where you will learn how to be the best.
Dr. Denise Hammon
Dr. Denise Hammon
Dr. Hammon has over 25 years of higher education leadership experience in Massachusetts, including VP of Policy & Research at the Association of Independent Colleges & Universities in MA (AICUM), enrollment management and marketing at Wentworth Institute of Technology, government relations at Lesley University, and Academic Dean and President of Marian Court College. Dr. Hammon holds BA and MA degrees from Harvard University, and a Doctorate in Law and Policy from Northeastern University. She has served on State task forces and committees for the Commonwealth’s Department of Higher Education. She served four years as Board Chair of the American Council on Education Massachusetts Network of Women Leaders, and was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to the Board of Trustees of Massachusetts Maritime Academy from 2009-2015.
Director of Creative Marketing & Special Projects
The Boston Globe refers to Jay Calderin as “a budding designer's best friend.” He is the author of The Fashion Design Reference & Specification Book (formerly Form, Fit, Fashion), which the LA Times called, "a new fashion bible for designers, aspirers and the just plain curious." It was followed by his second book, Fashion Design Essentials, and a collaboration on a third book entitled, Fashion Design, Referenced. He is also a contributor to Native Fashion Now, the book that accompanies the Peabody Essex Museum's exhibition of the same name. Jay founded and serves as Executive Director of Boston Fashion Week and was appointed Creative Director of the first Chengdu Fashion Week in 2012.
Director of Development
Jennifer has over 20 years communications experience. Before the School of Fashion Design, clients included Boston’s Old State House, Boston Sculptors Gallery artists, Northeast Youth Ballet, and SchoolSMARTS. Jennifer is a Mayor-appointed committee member of Melrose Messina Fund for the Arts. Prior to her work in Boston, Jennifer managed public relations for the City of San José, CA, where she supervised the communications outreach across 19 City departments to over 925,000 residents, and led internal communications to the City’s 5,000 employees. Earlier, Jennifer was Communications Coordinator for Cultural Initiatives Silicon Valley, encouraging thought leaders to be supportive of local arts, and editing research publications examining Silicon Valley amateur arts participation and its effect on civic engagement. Jennifer was a startup employee at iTheo.com, an online market for Bay Area artists, connecting them to collectors and providing marketing tools and business services. Jennifer is a past President of the Board of Directors of Cambridge Art Association, and 2004 VP of the Board of Works/San José contemporary art and performance center. Jennifer has a B.F.A. in Writing, Literature and Publishing from Emerson College.
Board of Trustees
Peter M. Frasca, Esq., LL.M., Chairman
Peter Antell, Esq.
Jane Conway, Clerk
Dominic D’Alessandro, Alumni ‘66
Dr. Denise Hammon, President
Ex-Officio Board Member
SFD in the community
The School of Fashion Design is a vital partner not only on Newbury Street, but also with the larger Boston fashion community. Faculty and students have collaborated with local and national theaters, museums, libraries, civic organizations, local businesses, and other area colleges, and participated in numerous charitable events over the decades.
Recent collaborations include:
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Cirque du Soleil
City of Boston
DeScience at MIT Media Lab
Fashion Group International
Greater Boston Toys for Tots
The Institute of Contemporary Art
Peabody Essex Museum
Salon Eva Michele
Simon Malls at Copley Place
Speakeasy Stage Company
UA Committee on Sustainability & MIT
SFD in the News!
2016 – May 24
Marshfield resident attends School of Fashion Design
2016 – May 21
Stoughton resident receives Fashion Academy Certificate of Completion
Newbury Street, Boston
With eight blocks of gorgeous brownstone architecture, Newbury Street is one of the hottest shopping streets in America, offering hundreds of shops, restaurants, art galleries, and salons.
It is Boston’s fashion boulevard: our 5th Avenue, our Rodeo Drive, our Champs-Élysées. Shops run the range between the major labels and urban bohemian boutiques. Hundreds of thousands of people stroll and enjoy Newbury Street each year. Many of our students have internships or our graduates work on Newbury Street.
Stretching between Boston’s beautiful Public Gardens and Massachusetts Avenue (which provides access across the Charles River into Cambridge), all the streets intersecting Newbury Street are quaintly alphabetically organized: Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester, and Hereford.
The School of Fashion Design is at the epicenter of this renowned fashion boulevard, at 136 Newbury Street, between Clarendon and Dartmouth Streets.
This is part of what makes the School of Fashion Design the heart of Boston fashion.
SCHOOL SPIRIT STORE
Show your school spirit with our official SFD gear!
SFD HERITAGE COLLECTION
We've selected 16 images from our historical archives of SFD Collection Posters and created a wonderful assortment of products!
Click here for most frequently asked questions!
School of Fashion Design
136 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116
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