• Faculty

  • Jennifer Whitty

    Assistant Professor of Fashion Systems and Materiality


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    Parsons Faculty Hotseat

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    Jennifer Whitty


    Jennifer is a design systems educator, researcher, writer and designer. Originally from Ireland, she has worked as a designer and educator in Paris, London, Wellington, Copenhagen, Dublin, Limerick, Tallinn, Xi'an, Shanghai, and Beijing. Her work has been exhibited and published globally in both academic and non-academic contexts. She is focused on developing new mindsets, models, and systems for alternative ecologies of fashion practice that work within planetary boundaries.

    Her current research work involves:
    1. Leading a team of academics as a Recipient of Thousand Talents Plan (TTP) Scholarship 2019-2022 a 4-year, a multi-stage designer-in-residence program in Xi'an China with Chinese academics which is posed to profoundly rethink and reimagine fashion practice for systemic change.

    2. Guest Co-Editor of a Special Issue of the Journal, 'Sense of Time and Place' We live in a world where we are simultaneously reminded of the urgency of responding to the imminent dangers such as climate change and human labor rights violations, yet we continue to produce damaging products at an alarming rate, in unsafe conditions, that damage the place and people in which they are made.

    3. Ongoing Lead of social and enviromental activist project Space Between.

    Degrees Held

    MA, Royal College of Art (Menswear) 

    B.Des, The National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland.


    Recent Publications

    • Book Chapter: Sole author: J. Whitty (2020) A reorientation of the order of fashion design, In Muthu, S and Gardetti (eds) Sustainability in the Textile and Apparel Industries to be published by Springer- Nature Publications, Singapore

    • Book chapter: Sole author: Whitty, J. (2019) Space Between: fashion activism in New Zealand, Global Perspectives on Sustainable Fashion. In Gwilt, A. Payne, A. & Anicet Ruthschilling, E. (Eds), Bloomsbury.

    • Journal paper: Whitty, J. (2018). Wardrobe Hack and Uncatwalk: Design interventions to encourage more fulfilling relationships with our clothing. Clothing Cultures Special Issue: Fashion & Sustainability, Vol 5 No 1 by Intellect. This research asks can designers create systems and services that improve and extend the use phase of the person–product relationship and ensure ongoing contentment and fulfilment for the user through the projects, Wardrobe Hack and Uncatwalk, which encourage everyday user autonomy of clothing from the site of their fashion experience, their own wardrobe. 

    • Book section: Whitty, J., & McQuillan, H. (2017). Wardrobe Hack. In K. Fletcher, & I. Klepp (Eds.), Opening Up the Wardrobe: A Methods Book (pp. 128-130). Norway: Novus. This peer-reviewed chapter outlined the design-led research project, Wardrobe Hack, a system that enables fashion user's competencies and self-reliance to be developed, sustained and shared. The system proposes a flourishing feedback loop of support, advice, and skills between designers and users while utilises distributed networks in order to amplify and enrich sustainable fashion practices in contemporary contexts. This chapter and the project featured within it builds on the work by Dr. Fletcher Local Wisdom/ ‘Craft of Use’ to create an ongoing practice/method that can be sustained by all fashion users. It operates outside the confines of the current linear, take, make and waste fashion consumption paradigm and is informed by principles of design activism and slow design, user-centred design and design thinking.

    • Journal paper: Whitty, J. (2017). From the parts to the whole: reconnecting fashion design education to its ecological impact. Scope: Contemporary Research Topics (Art & Design), 15, 146-158. Retrieved from http://www.thescopes.org/ Informed by emergent design methodologies and platforms such as Wardrobe Hack the article and course it cites encouraged designers to explore the breadth of issues where fashion has the power to influence or prompt change. The article is part of Whitty's research agenda to expand the notions of sustainability within design education and practice as well as to investigate how we can encourage designers to explore a more strategic, systemic use of design.

    Research Interests

    Sustainability, systems design, circular design, transition design, social innovation, social justice, environmental justice, human-centred design, theory of change, social innovation, consumption, consumer behaviour

    Awards And Honors

    2019. Recipient of Thousand Talents Plan (TTP) Scholarship, China State Council  

    2017, The Fundamentals Range by Space Between (Whitty was Design Director) won the Golden A' Design Award at Sustainable Products, Projects and Green Design Competition Category in Milan 

    2016, Whitty, J, Creative Director of Space Between, Finalist in the Designers Institute NZ, Best Awards, in the Public Good Design category   

    2015, Recipient of The Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia ($48,000.00) administered by the Ministry for Education New Zealand to take twelve students on a teaching trip for ‘Fashion Activism’ to China

    2014, Recipient of the Pro Vice Chancellor’s Strategic Innovation Fund for an Entrepreneurial Partnership platform for the social enterprise 'Space Between’ ($60,000)  

    2005, Supreme Award Winner, New Designer Grand Prix, Onward Kashiyama, Tokyo, Japan   

    2004, Highly Commended Prize in Ability Category, Design for Our Future Selves Awards, Helen Hamlyn Research Centre, The Royal College of Art, UK  

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