Laura Volpintesta, Fashion Professor, Parsons School of Design

Founder, Coach, Course Creator, Artist, Freedom Fashion Program, Fashion Illustration Tribe. Author, the Language of Fashion Design, Co-Author the Fashion Designer’s Reference and Specification Manual.

Fashion Professor, fashion illustrator, designer, and educator.

BFA, Parsons School of Design, NY/Paris,1995

 ‘To find a teacher in the arts who offers up everything they know and more, and whose sole purpose is to see you ‘fly’… is extremely rare.  Laura is one of those teachers.  She set us up for success in so many ways.  Generosity, creativity, and encouragement — plus a solid foundation in basic art — were all part of her teaching.  I created some of my best work in her Fashion Drawing I class and still rely on many of the techniques.  I consider myself extremely lucky to have been her student.’


-J. Heloise, Fashion Designer, Illustrator

Fashion professor, illustrator, author and design laura volpintesta

My book the Language of Fashion Design: 26 Principles Every Fashion Designer Should Know is now available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and French! Learn more.

I’m a lover of PEOPLE:

Culture, traditions, roots, languages, music, fashion, expression. Growing up, I always dream I’d be an anthropologist!  This still rings true as I use fashion and music to learn and explore the human spirit and its many expressions, reaching to the past to find universal truths that still ring true today.

I love the rough edge, the evidence of the hand and the individual’s voice in their creations. This rings true for fashion illustration, whether analog or computer-aided, or for the craft of creating unique clothing. Weaving, beading, dying, developing prints, knitting, crochet, embroidery and needlwork, jewelry making and leather working are all fascinations that I revisit. I love designers who celebrate local culture and history and research and employ artisan communities to create beautiful fashions, ethically.



– I genuinely cannot say enough about how important your classes were to me and how much I loved them:).  In my time as Fashion Studies student at Parsons I must say Laura’s class was my favorite! Her class is where I truly learned the most about fashion drawing. I gained an understanding and awareness of proportion and how the human form reacts to movement. I was a student at Parsons at least five years ago, but the skills I learned in Laura’s class have stayed with me. More importantly, though, is how much fun her classes were, and how inspiring Laura is as a teacher! She encouraged us as students to not be afraid of color, shape and movement in our work! And this is what made everyone strive to create something unique and beautiful! Laura is a gem! A beautiful person inside and out, and one of the best teachers I have ever had, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from her!”

– Beth Gillespie, Designer



Ethical fashion is also a central theme to my research.

That’s where the “natural hand ” comes in again: whether it’s artisan fashion or body positivity, I believe that fashion teaching should not teach distorted, extreme body exaggeration as “normal”. I love to celebrate and invite my students to flood the world with images that celebrate women of all sizes shapes, styles, and cultures. The way we treat womens bodies matters!

I’ve been on the faculty at Parsons School of Design in New York City where I was hired one year after graduation. I left my position at Old Navy Clothing Co. (a division of Gap, inc) and began teaching BFA students Patternmaking, Draping, and machine and couture construction. I realized I adored teaching.

In 2000 and 2001 my teenagers were born and i began teaching Design, Illustration and Model Drawing in AAS degree Fashion. I taught 10 classes per year… about 150 students a year, and LOVE to this day this kind of teaching. It’s like breathing to me.

I love seeing the transformation in my students

as they get their real skills, experience, and find their voice and style.

In 2008 while on the Full time faculty at Parsons Fashion, I was invited to create their VERY FIRST online course in fashion- design and fashion design industry. Teaching specs, research, illustration with gouache, and how to develop and research and present a fashion collection.

As the years passed and my youngest daughter was born, Fashion Illustration Tribe was born.

I wanted to reach students around the world who weren’t going to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in their fashion education, but who knew they had visions and voices that mattered.

……to bring out their voices, connect with them, and connect them to each other. I wanted womens’ creative fires to burn bright and strong.

….hear and see their stories and celebrate our lives and visions together.

In subsequent years, I authored two books

The Language of Fashion Design , The Fashion Designer’s Reference and Specification Manual, and created a course for, all of which I am so proud. I launched my business and learned that I wanted my students to be prepared not only for JOBS, but for coming fully into their own entrepreneurial and creative power.

I continue to teach courses and give workshops in model drawing, illustration, in sewing and up cycling to all ages and continue to teach as an Assistant Fashion Professor at Parsons the New School for Design.

Fashion Illustration Tribe and Freedom Fashion was born out of a discontent with the new changes in corporate academia that were interfering with real learning and real connection and satisfaction in my work over the years. I don’t want to be a Fashion professor, I want to be a teacher who makes a real mark in students’  lives, as well as my own!.

I wanted to create a course that really spoke directly to women.

The Language of Fashion Design by Laura Volpintesta of Parsons School of Design NYC

Fashion Illustration by Laura Volpintesta of a dress by Kaela Kay by Catherine Addad, presenting in AFWNY (African Fashion Week New York)

PLEASE VISIT the  COMPLETE COURSE PROGRAM PAGE  for information about my premium, comprehensive fashion design intensive course that takes you from the fundamentals of model drawing– into rendering fabrics, sketching, designing and presenting collections in a professional format! Classes are small and intimate, because I value relationships in each student group.


  • Begin   your journey, sketching from models, learning the fundamentals.

  • Refine  your techniques to high standard, while developing  a relationship with the images you are creating.

  • Imagine your niche, your customer, your fantasy, your vision….What does the world need right now that you can offer it? How can fashion improve people’s lives? )

  • Define your style.  As you create more and more fashion art and explore new media and approaches, a common thread starts to appear in your work. Realize that recognizing and representing the fine details in the garments and looks you are creating is a high standard that sparks your creativity, rather than restricts it.

  • Shine! build your unique portfolio for employment or go out on your own…These are solid skills for a lifetime of development and enjoyment.  There is nothing quite like creating your own figure illustrations and fashion designs in your own style.  No two designers/ illustrators tell the same story the same way. It never ceases to amaze me!

Over the span of my teaching career,

I have encouraged, taught, and inspired over a thousand designers, many who hold positions at leading design houses around the world, and all of whom I have watched moved into an empowered place where their design visions became released from the confines of their minds through techniques, methods, and exploration in my classroom. From absolute beginners to seasoned artists, It has been both an honor and a privilege to share this journey with each and every one of them!

This is what I want to do with you.

Fashion Professor laura volpintesta , fashion illustrator

I love speaking at events about diversity in fashion: size, age, color, culture, and family becoming more integrated in fashion imagery and creation of fashion in our own images, not dictated to by an industry. This is an integral component of SUSTAINABILITY for a better future and kindness in fashion practices.

No designer is a better person than the people making the clothes, the fabric, the components, or working in the stores. I think we all believe this deep down, and aim to remind people to remember and learn more about the fashion industry. I hope you’ll check out the movie “The True Cost.”

DON’T FORGET TO GET STARTED TODAY, in my FREE online video course when you subscribe here on the site for updates, news  and offers. Also get a free Croquis Template and PDF download guidebook /sketchbook to drawing fashion flats and details.

Fashion Professor Laura volpintesta,

My favorite part of this is watching your personal style unfold and culminate in a portfolio of original, outstanding work and concepts. I see each client turn fears into fabulosity, and I never lose a sense of amazement witnessing that transformation and watching the designer emerge from what was only an idea in the hands of someone who didn’t know how to put it out.

Let’s design the world we want to see!  I can wait to see your vision unfurl!!!


Laura Volpintesta, Founder, Fashion Illustration Tribe.


2 thoughts on “Fashion Teacher”

  1. Rebecca Schwarz

    I am reaching out because I was wondering if you’d ever consider teaching a class to a group of Art teachers in Westchester. Our school district has 9 Art teachers K-12 and we are looking to hire a fashion illustration to do a workshop with us on March 15 from 8:15-3:15, with an hour lunch break in the middle. We would just want to learn the basics so that we can pass along what we learn to our students. Can you please tell me if this is something you would consider doing? Thank you so much and looking forward to hearing from you.

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