Last month, Simon Collins announced that he would be stepping down from his position as dean of Parsons School of Fashion after six years. The announcement left us with more than a few questions. Why is he leaving? What is he going to do next? Who is going to replace him? What kind of person is even right for that job?
We caught up with Collins at Refinery29's mini golf course-slash-Banks-concert last Thursday night (could you imagine your college dean at a fashion week party?) and asked him those very questions.
The charismatic Brit said that while his time at Parsons has been amazingly rewarding, "you can’t do anything forever."
He continued, "I feel like the school is ever-expanding, ever-evolving and it comes to a point when it needs a different voice."
At the same time, Collins said that he also wants to focus on his side gig, consulting: "I advise companies around the world and I’m on the board of a lot of different companies and I’ve really been wanting to dedicate more time to that. On one hand I love Parsons and want to preserve it and allow it to expand and on the other, I have my own thing going, so we’d been talking about it for a little while, and this was a really good time to transition."
Asked if this means he'll be consulting full-time, Collins explained that he's "lucky enough to not have to do anything full time." He says that in addition to consulting he'll be traveling around the world "making speeches" to governments and corporations, just as he does now.
For now, Collins, who believes that "you never leave Parsons," will be helping and offering advice as the school searches for his replacement, which could take awhile. "In academia it takes a long time to find the right person and the reason we made the announcement now is so that we could begin the search. And the search will probably take a year because we're looking for someone that has a track record, which means they’re probably doing something right now."
And what are is the school looking for? "I’d be surprised if the next person doesn’t have both an academic and a commercial background, because we’ve done very well with our industry links; I know the school wants to continue those, but it’s also important to have the academic side."