|The SFD Student Experience
The student experience at SFD begins with our Newbury Street location, considered the heart of Boston’s fashion district. From the major designer labels to new boutique lines, you find it all here on Newbury Street.
Another hallmark of SFD is our small, hands-on studio classes. You will learn and work alongside expert faculty who are leaders in the fashion industry. You will meet local industry professionals and begin to build your own professional network in the fashion industry.
Throughout the year, you’ll enjoy fashion shows, special events, guest speakers, and field trips that add to your learning experience at SFD. And you will meet and work with a diverse set of students coming to SFD from all parts of the world. SFD students are diverse not only with regard to country of origin, but also personal and professional backgrounds and level of experience.
SFD houses five levels of classrooms, workshops, a computer lab, a resource library and archives, and the A Gallery.
The A Gallery, which features an impressive two-story window looking out onto Newbury Street, is an important part of SFD’s student experience. Monthly fashion exhibits allow students to expose their work to the thousands who pass down Boston’s most renowned fashion avenue.
There is no better showcase of the quality of an SFD education than the design work of our students. SFD students have earned a reputation for high quality, technically proficient garment construction, and frequently win awards and accolades around Greater Boston.
In 2014, four of the five student designers chosen to LAUNCH their collections at Boston Fashion Week were School of Fashion Design students.
This very special video by Bearwalk features an intimate look into the hearts and minds of the five designers selected for the LAUNCH program. Thank you Brian Tortora and Daniela Gonçalves!
"I’m a part-time student at the School of Fashion Design. Beginning with my first Level 1 Pattern Making and Construction class, I’ve been in awe with the process of designing. The teachers at SFD are very talented, knowledgeable, and dedicated to bring out the best in each student. I have shown my student work in local fashion shows and photo shoots. I’m graduating in the Spring of 2016, and looking forward to my career in fashion design."
Original Documentary Short:
In the Moment
by Shuyi Wang featuring Marie (Masson) Michiko
"Lessons learned this past year ('13) in New York:
Teaching. I knew it then but coming to New York has only further solidified my conviction that it takes a lot to be a good teacher. You can know what you are doing but that doesn't mean you can teach it. I knew Lisa (Taranto) and Daniel (Faucher) were amazing, but now I can say with 100% certainty that they aren't just amazing, they are fantastic. They are quite possibly the truest gems in the fashion industry. They pose the most unique combination a student can ask for: a couturier and an industry insider in one school who are not only aficionados in their field, but actually know how to teach with perfect elocution, understanding of students' needs, and the capability to not only be patient but also compassionate and who WANT you to learn.
Because of my education at SFD, I was asked to be a teaching assistant within the first week at Parsons and later nominated for a Li & Fung scholarship. Each of these recognitions were completely owing to my education at SFD. Later, one of my teachers personally recommended me for an internship at Naeem Khan. Again, the only reason I was picked out from the crowd was because of everything SFD taught me. And to further add to this story, Naeem Khan himself, without any solicitation on my side, approached me last week and asked me to stay with the company in whatever capacity I could offer because I was "invaluable" to the company. When I heard those words, I again wanted to call Jim and run back to SFD to give everyone a big thank you. Because none of these opportunities or forms of recognition were singularly won but are wholly owing to my teachers at SFD. Lisa and Daniel taught me the skills to stand out in a crowd, above and beyond what I had ever imagined. It is a tough industry but what students from SFD will quickly realize is that all too many people love to talk about their skills but few can actually do much of anything. A student from SFD can.
Once in the field interning or looking for a job, there is no more time to sit back and learn. When your superior asks if you can hem a dress 20 minutes before a fashion show, and you can because you learned from Daniel and Lisa, you just automatically set yourself apart from others.
From the first day at Naeem Khan, I was able to say "yes" with confidence to every task they have thrown at me: from hand beading (thanks to Lisa Micheel's Couture Detail course!) their dresses, bias binding necklines and armholes for their Spring-Summer 2014 collection, to even the seemingly more mundane tasks of copying production patterns, steaming fabric, blocking patterns, fusing, attaching hooks & eyes, sewing on labels!!! All of these little things which students moan and groan about learning or find boring at the time will benefit you in ways you cannot imagine. And looking back, I realize that every obstacle I faced while sewing my garments was a huge learning lesson which has benefited me in my internships. When sample sewers have stretched necklines, I know from Daniel and Lisa how to take the existing pattern and steam the garment back into shape. I am also not afraid to touch fabric and iron it, because Lisa taught us innumerable methods for how to treat and iron fabric based on its fabrication. And while the sample cutter is on vacation for the last 2 weeks at Derek Lam, I have been put in charge of cutting all sample garments for the sewers...Another task which would not have been possible without Lisa's tailoring course and extensive lessons on how to treat, prepare, lay out patterns, and cut by industry standards.
As Lisa used to say, the fashion industry is small. Very small. I was intimidated by the idea of coming to New York but the most important thing I have learned in this past year is that with an education from the School of Fashion Design, you are not only capable, but you will far exceed the knowledge and skill sets of students coming out of Parsons and even FIT. So you can laugh all the way to the bank at people (like me, sadly) who thought paying an arm and a leg would somehow guarantee more knowledge or magical learning. That magical learning is right at SFD. And I cannot tell you enough how true Lisa is when she tells you that to be a good designer, you should know how to sew, and as Daniel would say: to be a good pattern maker you should also know how to sew. And neither Parsons or even FIT will teach you to sew as well as at SFD.
If I could go back to SFD and speak to a younger version of myself, I would tell her that she was getting the best fashion education and to work even harder to learn under Daniel and Lisa. Never again will you get the chance to ask as many questions as you want, and to receive such knowledgeable answers. And if I could talk to current SFD students, I would say this:
When Daniel and Lisa tell you to explore the possibility of using finer fabrics like chiffon, habotai, organza, gazar etc. do it. Because while at the time you may be moaning and groaning that this fabric is far too expensive and you can't sew it etc., I promise you will be wishing to the high heavens you had done it at least once. It will depend on the type of fashion you end up in, but I guarantee you will need to handle these fabrics at some point in your career and you will thank SFD for having pushed you to make beautiful garments out of expensive fabric and therefore also knowing how to work with trickier fabrication.
When Daniel teaches you draping and pattern making, take copious notes because I promise, you will never learn as much or as well under anyone else. I have gone to Milan to learn from a former pattern maker at Azzedine Alaia and I have worked under French pattern makers and now a pattern maker from the famed Nicolas Caito...And none compare to Daniel. So don't take him for granted one second of a day that you are lucky enough to learn under him. There are so few people you can call true aficionados in their field. Daniel is a master and to take that lightly is an egregious mistake. He will not only inspire you but spend countless hours of his time to teach you if you are willing...Don't take it for granted!
When Lisa shows you a gazillion pocket samples and sewing techniques and your head hurts and you think to yourself that you have no idea how you will do it: GOOD. Learn! Learn everything she has up her sleeve because you will never meet anyone with such an encyclopedic knowledge of sewing techniques and who has the motherly instinct and Mother Theresa personality to sit there and show you over & over & over again until you get it.
And never again complain about the cost of muslin or sewing supplies at SFD because you will never get such amazing treatment at a school again! No school will provide this kind of care or help!
"I am currently in my second year at SFD, studying to be a fashion designer. I’ve been sewing for five years, and sketching from an early age. When I decided to seriously pursue a career in fashion, my search led to the School of Fashion Design. With the school's convenient location, hands-on approach, and smaller class sizes, I knew I would get a thorough technical education in garment-making. Influenced by travel, I like to incorporate cultural textiles and historical elements in my designs."
"I knew I wanted to go into fashion, but finding the right school was a challenge. I was originally attracted to the School of Fashion Design for their focus on technical skill and hands-on experience. Once enrolled, I fell in love with SFD because of the outstanding teachers and faculty, and the diverse yet close-knit student culture. The small class sizes give me the freedom to create unique designs and yet still receive personal attention from each teacher to make my design a success. Being able to explore my point of view while still learning the technical skills has made me more confident as a designer and also prepared me to work in the fashion industry."
Raquel Tiffany Spinazola
"After earning my Master’s Degree in Accounting, I returned home to Boston with an entrepreneurial spirit and a dream to be a fashion designer. From a young age, I was creating things and taught myself how to sew; however, realizing I needed proper training, the School of Fashion Design was the clear choice. With a curriculum focusing on mastery of materials, technique, and nuts-to-bolts production, SFD consistently produces the most technically proficient students in New England. Beyond the coursework, the teachers at SFD are invested in my success, providing resources and knowledge well beyond graduation. My designs are often inspired by the wooded mountains of New Hampshire, using textures of knit, tweed, lace, and chiffon. All that time spent creating as a kid plays a part too - I often include crochet, jewelry, leather, and more into my clothing. All of this comes together to create my unique point of view in my work."
SFD students have numerous opportunities to show their design work.
The following venues are just a few exhibit opportunities
frequently available to SFD students and alumni:
A Gallery at SFD
BOND Restaurant & Lounge
Boston Fashion Week
Boston City Hall
Fashionably Late at Liberty Hotel
Marilyn Riseman’s Fashion luncheons at Brasserie Jo
Fashionably Late at Liberty Hotel
SFD annual graduation fashion show
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 to create opportunities for students.
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
At SFD, students will have the experience of a critique of their design work – called a “crit” in the industry. These crits allow faculty and students to convey insight to the student project, bringing a degree of objectivity to the highly subjective directives of his or her private creative process. Ideally, a student leaves the crit experience as a better designer, with new understanding of her of his work, the process, and self. It also prepares the student for the actual experience found in the fashion industry.
The student experience at the School of Fashion Design culminates in our Graduation fashion show. Each May, SFD welcomes over 200 guests to our annual runway presentation of student work.
A panel of SFD alumni and local fashion industry professionals help personally curate the body of student work that will be shown. Students of all levels of study at SFD have an opportunity have their work shown.
Collection 2016 will take place in Boston on May 7th.
For tickets, or to find out how you can be a Sponsor, please contact us at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-536-9343.
This year’s Check out our “look books” from graduation shows in years past.
LOOK BOOK 2015
LOOK BOOK 2014
LOOK BOOK 2013
LOOK BOOK 2012
LOOK BOOK 2011
Boston Fashion Week & SFD
Every year SFD students get involved with Boston Fashion Week programs as volunteers, participants and attendees.
Boston Fashion Week was founded as a civic initiative in 1995. The force behind the week has been dedicated to creating opportunities that increase the viability and visibility of the local industry. The series of fashion related events throughout Greater Boston and beyond serves as a platform for both established industry professionals and aspiring newcomers to showcase their work as well as network with peers and the public
This annual celebration of Boston style featuring a great wealth of local talent, is unique in that it is designed to engage the community directly, at the grassroots level – cultivating fashion as an integral part of the Boston lifestyle. This approach has also begun to attract the interest of national and international designers who are looking to connect authentically with a Boston audience.
Accessibility and diversity in programming allow the public to engage the week on many levels; experiencing a show, taking in an exhibit, participating in an educational program or joining in the festivities at a party. The week also contributes to a sense of civic pride about what the region has to offer and how it continues to evolve. The public is invited to become active participants in the local fashion community by supporting local style makers during Boston Fashion Week and throughout the rest of the year.
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.
Living in Boston
The following is a list of housing options in the Boston area for students. If searching for an apartment in Boston, be advised that rental apartments in Boston are listed almost exclusively through agencies. Entry often requires a deposit of first month, last month, one-month security deposit, and a nonrefundable one-month fee to the renting agency. Students subletting or leasing apartments through third party individuals do so at their own risk. The information provided is as accurate as possible, but SFD makes no guarantees on information, and neither does this serve as an endorsement on the part of SFD. Students are encouraged to do appropriate research and follow-up on their own.
Abercrombie’s Farrington Inn
23 Farrington Ave.
Boston, MA 02134
At Home in Boston
(arranges short and longer term home stays for visiting students)
212 Tremont Street #1
Newton MA 02458
(for female students)
395 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Bethany Union for Young Women
(dorm style housing for female students)
256 Newbury Street
Boston, MA. 02116
(shared apts, short term, furnished)
240 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02116
(private and shared apartments)
81 Park Drive #1
Boston, MA 02215
(arranges home stays)
P.O. Box 71
Watertown, MA 02471
International Fellowship House
(family-style community living for male international students)
386 Marlborough Street
Boston, MA 02115
International Guest House
(for international students)
237 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02116
Room-mate search services: