Dr Sass Brown


Previously the Founding Dean of the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, a cross disciplinary University in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Parsons the New School, Sass Brown completed her PhD in January 2021 on Global Artisanship and Models of Sustainable Development.  Prior to joining DIDI, Sass was the Interim Dean for the Fashion Institute of Technology's School of Art and Design in New York, where she oversaw the management of 17 design departments. She is a graduate of FIT's Global Fashion Management Master's program and holds her Bachelor's degree in Fashion Design from Ravensbourne College of Art and Design.

As a researcher, writer and educator, Brown's area of expertise is ethical fashion in all its forms from slow design and heritage craft skills to recycling, reuse, alternative business models and ethical practices. She has published papers and spoken around the world on the topic of sustainable fashion, has served as a sustainable design advisor to women's cooperatives, educational institutions, governmental agencies, NGO's and small and medium sized enterprises around the world. She was an advisor to Sustainia100, the Danish sustainable solutions guide, and an Associate Design Researcher on the MISTRA Future Fashion educational consortium that advises integration of sustainable practices into the mainstream fashion industry, through the open-source platform the Textile Toolbox.  Her publications include the books Eco Fashion and ReFashioned for British publishers Laurence King, also published in Italian as well as Spanish and distributed in the US.

Academic responsibilities

Senior Lecturer


  • PhD - Manchester Metropolitan University
  • MA Global Fashion Management - Fashion Institute of Technology New York
  • BA Fashion Design - Ravensbourne College of Art and Design

Teaching and learning

I am in the process of writing and developing a new Masters program for KSA entitled Sustainable Fashion: Business and Practices while teaching collection development in the final year of the Fashion Design BA, as well as in the Fashion Promotion and Communication BA.

I have taught across practice-based fashion pedagogy in the US at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) within the Fashion Design major, teaching design, merchandising, design development, and collection building, as well as pattern making and draping, predominately to the graduating year of the BA. I wrote coursework for FIT's MA in Fashion Design Technology on Design Activism. I also wrote and teach a short online no credit module for FIT's Design for Social Impact program, focused on design as a problem-solving tool, and designers social and ethical responsibilities.

I wrote and teach a short no credit online course for the London College of Fashion on Sustainable Fashion, that covers the fashion industry's environmental and human impacts as well as tangible solutions to the problems.

I co-developed and edited curriculum across all years of the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation's Design Foundation and cross-disciplinary Fashion Design major in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Parsons the New School as well as DIDI faculty.

I wrote and teach a short 2-week module on working with global artisanship for Politecnico di Milano's Fashion Design Masters program. The coursework focuses on ethical practices and models for working with the various traditions of material culture around the world.

I taught across all core coursework in Manchester Metropolitan University's Fashion Business MA. The focus of the coursework is creative and tangible design and business practices resulting in a wide diversity of creative outputs including exhibitions, collection development, Ezine's, websites, apps and other outputs across disciplines. As part of this coursework, I coordinated student design and systems development in support of the young stroke survivors and in collaboration with the Stroke Foundation. I also lectured and taught in MMU's Fashion Enterprise, Fashion Communication, and Fashion Art and Design majors.

I have lectured and offered ethical fashion workshops around the world at a variety of academic institutions including Parsons the New School New York, FIT New York, Florence and Milan in Italy, DUOC Chile, AOD Sri Lanka, and Pearl Academy India.

I have also offered lectures and workshops to the creative community through SENAI SENAC Brazil, Peru Moda, Premier Vision Paris, Nottingham Trent Future Factory, and Salone del Mobile Milan.

Qualifications and expertise

  • Ethical and sustainable fashion and business
  • Writer / Editor on ethical fashion in commercial publications

Undergraduate courses taught


Published paper entitled Craft Interventions, Retention, Reintroduction and Reinvention of Tradition in the book Fashioning Social Innovation: Design Empowering Communities to foster sustainability in Culture intensive industries. Scheduled for publication October 2021 published by Madragora Publishing.

Conference presentation and published paper entitled Can Global Craft and Artisanship be the Future of Luxury Fashion? At the PLATE Conference, Nottingham Trent University on 17th till 10th June 2015. https://www.plateconference.org/can-global-craft-artisanship-future-luxury-fashion/

Conference presentation and published paper entitled Global Artisanship Models for the Craft Sector. At the IASDR Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University on 26th till 28th May 2019. https://iasdr2019.org/research-papers?keywords=Brown&category

Digital publication for the MISTRA Future Fashion digital platform Textile Toolbox. Post Consumer Waste paper published July 2013. http://www.textiletoolbox.com/research-writing/post-consumer-waste/

Digital publication for the MISTRA Future Fashion digital platform Textile Toolbox. Pre Consumer Waste paper published April 2013. http://www.textiletoolbox.com/research-writing/pre-consumer-waste/

Digital publication for the MISTRA Future Fashion digital platform Textile Toolbox. Design for Recycling / Upcycling paper published February 2013. http://www.textiletoolbox.com/research-writing/design-recycling-upcycling/

Qualifications and expertise

  • Sustainable and ethical fashion
  • Global artisanship and craftsmanship
  • Sustainable business and operational models

Areas of specialism

  • Sustainable and ethical fashion
  • Global craftsmanship and artisanship
  • Sustainable business models


Number of items: 32.


Brown, Sass (2019) Four global brands supporting refugee artisans through fashion. The National,

Brown, Sass (2019) Craftivism : how crafting can be used as a means of action and activism. The National,

Brown, Sass (2019) Weaving into a new age : how the world's oldest surviving craft gets a fresh spin. The National,

Brown, Sass (2019) Are the clothes you buy the result of modern-day slavery? The National,

Brown, Sass (2019) How we are influenced by the 'anti-fashion' brigade. The National,

Brown, Sass (2019) Dark realities : exploring the fashion's fascination with mortality and the macabre. The National,

Brown, Sass (2019) Is global artisanship the future of luxury fashion? The National,

Brown, Sass (2019) How old techniques are being applied to natural materials to replace synthetic fabrics. The National,

Brown, Sass (2019) What has made Africa a fashion phenomenon? The National,

Brown, Sass (2018) The environmental and human impact of your denim jeans. The National,

Brown, Sass (2018) We're cottoning on to the idea of upcycling. The National,

Brown, Sass (2018) Is the fashion industry finally becoming more inclusive? The National,

Brown, Sass (2018) Adaptive and inclusive design : fashion for people with disabilities. The National,

Brown, Sass (2018) The future of fashion : from glow in the dark dresses to jackets that give directions. The National,

Brown, Sass (2018) In the future will we all be wearing lab-grown leather and mushroom skin? The National,

Brown, Sass (2018) The delicate art of cultural appropriation in design. The National,

Brown, Sass (2017) Sass Brown's sense of style : eliminating fashion waste from the source. The National,

Brown, Sass (2016) Cost:Wear : dressing responsibly has never been so easy. Selvedge, 72 (Green), pp. 22-23. ISSN (print) 1742-254X

Brown, Sass (2014) Lets start a revolution ; a fashion revolution. Coco Eco Magazine, 29, pp. 24-28.

Brown, Sass (2014) Refashioned, redesigned, reused : the designers using other people's left-overs to create cutting edge fashion. Coco Eco Magazine(28), pp. 44-51.

Brown, Sass (2013) Eco fashion highlights from 2012. Coco Eco Magazine(26), pp. 40-44.

Brown, Sass (2011) White. Hand/Eye Magazine,

Brown, Sass (2011) The ancient craft of felting is pushing modern fashion design into the future. Down to Earth,

Brown, Sass (2011) A new fashion era. See.7 Magazine,


Brown, Sass (2013) ReFashioned : cutting-edge clothing from upcycled materials. London, U.K. : Laurence King Publishing. 208p. ISBN 9781780673011

Brown, Sass (2010) Eco fashion. London, U.K. : Laurence King Publishing. 208p. ISBN 9781856696913

Book Section

Brown, Sass (2021) Design empowering communities of craft. In: Vacca, Federica and Bertola, Paola, (eds.) Fashioning social innovation : design empowering communities to foster sustainability in culture intensive industries. Florence, Italy : Mandragora. (In Press)

Conference or Workshop Item

Brown, Sass (2019) Global artisanship models for the craft sector. In: Design Revolutions : International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference; 02 - 05 Sep 2019, Manchester, U.K..

Brown, S. (2015) Can global craft and artisanship be the future of luxury fashion? In: PLATE Conference 2015 : Product Lifetimes and the Environment; 17 - 19 Jun 2015, Nottingham, U.K..

Brown, Sass (2012) Fashion & sustainability. In: Be Open Conference at Salone de Mobile; 17 - 19 Apr, Milan, Italy. (Unpublished)

Sound Recording

Williams, Joshua [Presenter] and Brown, Sass [Presenter] (2020) Fashion Consort News Bytes with FashionUnited. (podcast).

Database or Web Resource

Brown, Sass [Creator] (2010) Eco Fashion talk.

This list was generated on Sun Jan 16 06:51:58 2022 GMT.

Business, knowledge transfer and international


Eco Fashion. Laurence King Publishing. 2010

ReFashioned. Laurence King Publishing. 2013


Fashion Bites in collaboration with Fashion United – monthly ethical fashion design podcast interview 2020 till present

The National UAE Luxury weekend magazine supplement, one article per month on ethical fashion designers 2017 -2019

Coco Eco Magazine - International Eco Fashion editor 2011 – 2018

Eco Fashion Talk website founder and editor 2010 - 2017

Above Magazine - International Features Editor 2011 - 2012

Qualifications and PROFESSIONAL expertise

  • Sustainable and ethical fashion
  • Global artisanship and craftsmanship
  • Sustainable fashion business models

Areas of interest

  • Sustainable and ethical fashion
  • Global artisanship and craftsmanship
  • Sustainable business models for the craft sector

Professional practice, knowledge exchange and impact

I advised GAP Inc and its subsidiary brands in the Fall of 2021; Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta as part of their Design with Audacity initiative on cultural appropriation as well as diversity and inclusion. The talks and discussions were live with all global design directors and later shared with all individual designers in every division of the various brands. The Design with Audacity program is a design-led initiative intended to inspire and lead the way forward for all GAP brands, by engaging with cutting edge thought leaders in fashion.

Qualifications and expertise

  • sustainable and ethical fashion
  • fashion impacts
  • ethical design initiatives and models
  • artisanship and craftsmanship
  • cultural appropriation
  • diversity and inclusion

Professional and scholarly affiliations

  • Member of the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise
  • Advisory board member UID College of Karnavati University India
  • Founding committee for Fashion Revolution USA 2013
  • Advisory board member London True Luxury Week
  • International Executive team Global Sustainable Fashion Week Budapest

Leadership and management

I was the Founding Dean of the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) a cross disciplinary design University developed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Parsons the New School. As Founding Dean, I was solely responsible for achieving academic accreditation through the Ministry of Education. I was also responsible for the development of all academic policies and procedures in collaboration with the Quality Assurance Officer. I hired the first two rounds of faculty and encouraged a democratic and collaborative atmosphere towards curricular development and teaching, something I am particularly proud of. The delivery of the first 2 years of curriculum required the editing and rewriting of most of the coursework which was undertaken through a collaborative process. 

As the Interim Dean for the Fashion Institute of Technology's school of Art and Design, and prior to that as the Associate and Assistant Dean, I was responsible for managing the 17 departments of Art and Design, and almost half of the Universities student body. I launched and coordinated the BFA annual fashion show, including working with sponsors, judges, the show producer, faculty and students. 

I was the Resident Director for FIT's study abroad campus in Florence Italy for 4 years. Responsible for faculty, students, curriculum, budget, and all aspects of running and managing the program which encompassed Fashion Design and Fashion Business Management.

Qualifications and expertise

  • Strategy and vision for design development and practice

Videos of my work

Social media

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