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Guide to the Fiona Walker Dieffenbacher student work and teaching examples, 1989-2011

Collection Overview


Kellen Design Archives

Collection Identifier



Dieffenbacher, Fiona

Creator - Teacher

Dwyer, Carolyn E., -2014


Fiona Walker Dieffenbacher student work and teaching examples, 1989-2011


0.4 linear ft: 1 box, 3 oversize folders


Fiona Walker Dieffenbacher is a fashion designer, author, and alumna of Parsons School of Design, as well as a full-time faculty member and director of the BFA Fashion Design program. The collection is comprised of student project notebooks and portfolios maintained by Dieffenbacher while she was a Fashion Design BFA student at Parsons School of Design in the early 1990s and examples of visual aids created by Dieffenbacher as a professor, as well as student work produced in classes she taught in the 2000s.

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Fiona Walker Dieffenbacher student work and teaching examples, KA.0136.01, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

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Biographical note

Fiona Walker Dieffenbacher earned an undergraduate degree in Fashion and Textiles from the University of Ulster (United Kingdom) and a BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in 1993. She was the recipient of a Designer of The Year Award and received the Michael Kors Gold Thimble Award at the annual Parsons fashion benefit show at the conclusion of her senior year. In 1998, she launched her own ready-to-wear label, Fiona Walker, which was shown at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and sold at select international retailers. A year later, Dieffenbacher opened her own boutique in New York City.

After closing her business in 2005, Dieffenbacher began teaching in the BFA Fashion Design program at Parsons as an adjunct professor before transitioning into a full-time faculty member in 2007. One year later she became Director of External Projects for the School of Fashion, where she oversaw projects with Coach, Louis Vuitton, MCM, Swarovski, LVMH, and others. In 2011, Dieffenbacher took over as BFA Director for Fashion Design and continued teaching as an Assistant Professor. A proponent of strong research and diverse entry points into the design process, her first publication Fashion Thinking: Creative Approaches to the Design Process (AVA/Fairchild, February 2013) seeks to unmask these varied approaches, enabling designers to better understand their own ways of working. In February 2015, Dieffenbacher began a research project entitled “Dress and Emotion”, investigating clothing as a means of identity and communication.


“Fiona Dieffenbacher.” The New School. Accessed March 30, 2015. http://www.newschool.edu/parsons/faculty.aspx?id=4d7a-5179-4e54-5935.

Schiro, Anne-Marie. “Patterns.” The New York Times, July 27, 1999. Access March 30, 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/07/27/style/patterns-780367.html.


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Scope and Content of Collection

The collection is comprised of work created by Fiona Walker Dieffenbacher during the course of her studies at Parsons School of Design in the early 1990s and her later career as a professor of Fashion Design. Dieffenbacher's last name was Walker when she was a student. Consequently, the name identification between her student work and her teaching examples differs.

Student work consists of two pattern drafting notebooks created by Dieffenbacher for a class taught by Fashion Design Department faculty member Carolyn Dwyer. A third notebook containing detailed instructions for creating a variety of clothing projects shows examples of Dieffenbacher’s coursework between 1991 and 1992, while a notebook containing her senior project demonstrates her skill and aesthetic style at the time of her graduation from Parsons in 1993. Her student work also includes scrapbooks and notes related to advertising and fashion illustration techniques.

Additionally, the collection contains sample mood boards created by Dieffenbacher to serve as teaching examples, as well trend and shopping reports created by ten of her previous students, which were selected as outstanding examples of completed coursework. Through examples of both Dieffenbacher's and her students’ work, this collection provides insight into the learning and teaching processes employed by Parsons students and professors in the 1990s and 2000s, as well as providing detailed records of fashion design and retailing trends throughout these time periods.


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Administrative Information

Sara Idacavage

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives - 2016 Jul 27

66 5th Ave./
lobby level
New York, NY, 10011

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Fiona Walker Dieffenbacher student work and teaching examples, KA.0136.01, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research use. Please contact archivist@newschool.edu for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives. Please contact: archivist@newschool.edu.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Fiona Walker Dieffenbacher, 2014.

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Related Materials

Additional examples of Fiona Walker Dieffenbacher's student work will be found in the Parsons School of Design Fashion Design Department records (pre-2008 accessions) (PC.02.02.01).

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

  • Parsons the New School for Design. Fashion Design Dept.


  • Notebooks.
  • Patterns (guides).
  • Reports.
  • Samples.
  • Student projects.


  • Fashion design.
  • Fashion -- Forecasting.

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Collection Inventory

Student work 1989-1993 

Box Folder
Drafting notebooks, approximately 1993 

Divided by subject, including darts, yokes, necklines, buttonholes, sleeves, and collars. Instructions are illustrated with small-scale pattern pieces.

1 1-4
General notes, approximately 1992 

Folder contains templates for confidential disclosure agreements, photocopied articles related to fashion design, and what appear to be class notes about advertising.

1 6
Project notebooks, 1991-1992 

Includes detailed instructions and illustrated examples for creating a tailored jacket, A-line skirt, oversized shirt, and two types of dresses.

1 5
mixed OSx-1 5
Scrapbook, approximately 1989 

Includes numerous clippings of advertisements from periodicals such as W, as well as what appears to be photocopied pages from a book about fashion illustration techniques.

k_16 1
Senior portfolio, 1993 
k_OSx-5 8

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Teaching examples 2005-2011 

Box Folder
"Feel the Yarn" booklet, 2011 

Small publication related to a student design program titled “Feel the Yarn,” sponsored by the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade and aimed at providing students with knowledge of Tuscan yarns. As Director of External Projects, Dieffenbacher accompanied three selected MFA Fashion Design & Society students to Florence for the exhibition at the Pitti Filati Immagine trade show.

1 7
Sample mood boards, 2005 
k_OSxx-8 3
Trend and shopping reports, 2007-2009 

Created by junior year students in a Fashion Core Concepts class taught by Dieffenbacher. Includes work by Kelly Yeonh, Jemma Lee, JooOk Son, Carissa Knapp, Laaleh Mizano, Jovana Mirabile, Pauline Gentin, Jennifer Chun, and John Paul Rangel.

1 8-10

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Collection Guide Last Updated: 02/28/2017

Creative Commons License This collection guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.