School of Art, Media, and Technology

Meet The Awesome People In DT: Sabine Seymour

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The Design and Technology MFA program is full of energetic, unique individuals who work together to think, inspire, and create with technology. This series, by journalist Rachel Signer, provides a glimpse into some of the people in the DT division of the Art, Media, and Technology program who work that make DT such a great place to work and study. This one is about Professor Sabine Seymour, who is currently in the process of setting up DT’s Fashionable Technology Lab. Read on…


What is your main involvement in the AMT program and how long have you been teaching at Parsons?

I was probably in the first batch of teachers in Design and Technology, ten years ago. I began teaching full-time in 2010. I teach Collab Studio, called the Future of Urban Fashion. I also teach Fashionable Technology, and this semester we’re focusing on performance. Next semester we will focus on Materials. It always has a theme. Next semester I’m co-teaching a class on sensory tele-presence with Ben Bacon, who’s based in China and works with the Parsons Lab there and Nokia.

What is your favorite thing about teaching at Parsons?

The students, obviously – specifically, the international nature of the student body, the diverse skill-set. And the different points of view. That has a lot to do with their cultural backgrounds. The diverse reasons people have for coming to study here – some want to get a job in a particular industry, some just want an inspiring career change, some want to become artists (whether they succeed in art is a whole other issue). And students can take classes in other departments, and there’s so much diversity within the university itself.

What do you like, and not like, about living in New York City?

I don’t like the subway. But it’s home for me because I have relationships with, for example, Eyebeam –I just have to give them a call and say, can we do something, can I bring my students. Ted Southern, who does the wings for Victoria’s Secret, was here. Martin Kaltenbrunner was here last month, and he was talking about tangible music interfaces – he’s one of the four people that set up Rect-able, the musical instrument. Pretty much every major show travels through New York. Any artist will be in Chelsea. Just recently we had Zach Lieberman who teaches here on a panel with Creators Project in DUMBO. Students have access to really big projects because they are here. And Do-It-Yourself places are popping up all the time, too. You have everything from Maker’s Fair to MoMa, and you can choose what path you want to take.

What are you working on right now that is exciting to you?

Setting up the Fashionable Technology lab: wearable computing, wireless, designing for the body, accessories, masks, crazy, fantastic things that students are coming up with. We want to have materials and space for students to work there, doing things like screenprinting. It will be more of a hub for projects that are happening in the courses. I’m teaching a collaboration studio with V.F. Corporation, who owns North Face. I’m also doing workshops with ENSAD in Paris, and the Swedish School of Textiles in BORAS, and setting up relationships with AALTO, a large university in Helsinki.

What’s something unique about your background the influences how you work?

I’m an entrepreneur. I have a PhD in economics. I began programming when I was 12. My mom’s a trained fashion designer. My dad collects art. I’m from Austria. I did my fifth continent on my 21st birthday. I’m a traveler. I’ve been teaching in Europe the last few years, so I’ve become very laissez-faire in my teaching style because of that experience. And some students like it and some don’t.

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