PhilaU Invests $3 Million in Fashion and Textile Design Center Revamp

The interior isn't the only thing that's getting a facelift.


The new collaborative spaces (rendering on right) will allow for more designs like this look (left) from the Spring 2015 fashion show, designed by Amber Bowden, with one-of-a-kind fabrics created by textile students Samantha Fletcher and Andrea Mata. | Images courtesy Philadelphia University.

Philadelphia University, recently ranked as one of the best fashion design programs in the world, just unveiled plans for a complete overhaul of the current amenities to make way for the new Fashion and Textiles Futures Center. The University has allocated three million dollars towards this redesign, set to be completed by the start of next fall semester. According to the press release in PhilaU Today, over 20 percent of students major in programs related to the Futures Center and will reap the benefits of the new, cutting-edge space.

As the nation’s first textiles school (yep, the first; take that, FIT), PhilaU has distinguished itself recently as a global contender in fashion design. The program plans to rework the space so that it’s more collaboration-friendly, with open studios and student designs on display. The revamp is coming at a critical time, according to Marcia Weiss, the new Director of the Futures Center, and the changes aren’t limited to brick and mortar. “We’re equally as excited about changes to the curriculum to make sure we’re always meeting industry needs,” said Weiss in a brief phone interview. “This [is an] opportunity to reimagine our textile and fashion brand at our University.”


A rendering of the open studio designs to come. | Image courtesy Philadelphia University.

Part of that refocus is to incorporate new industry partners into the curriculum for a more immersive learning experience. While many fashion design students complain that programs leave them ill-prepared to face the business aspect of the job, PhilaU takes an interdisciplinary approach to learning. “We are interested what merchants do, what designers do, what textile people do – it’s a collaborative education,” says Weiss. “Part of why we do industry-sponsored programs is so that students get real-world exposure, working with people in marketing, sales, manufacturing, so that they understand business aspect of it.” Said industry-sponsored programs are incorporated into the curriculum for all students in the fashion and textiles programs. Although Weiss couldn’t confirm who those new partners will be, in the past the University has partnered with brands like Urban Outfitters, Isaac Mizrahi and textile designer Lori Weitzner.

Renovation is set to begin in the late spring, and should be complete by the start of next fall semester.