• Otto von Busch

    Associate Professor of Integrated Design


    Dr. Otto von Busch is associate professor of Integrated Design, School of Design Strategies. In his research he explores the emergence of a new hacktivist designer role in fashion, where the designer engages participants to reform fashion from a phenomenon of dictations, anxiety and fear, into a collective experience of empowerment and liberation. In such practice, design and craft are reverse engineered, hacked and shared among participants as a form of civic engagement, building community capabilities through collaborative craft and social activism. 

    Otto has over the last decade examined alternative perspectives on fashion, varying from Buddhism, mysticism, tantrism and witchcraft, to examining fashion as an embodied emotion and energy, utlizing the lenses of biology, psychology and neuroscience. He has also worked on several artistic research projects on fashion and exclusion, and how the "shallowness" of fashion is used as cover for peer regulation and social combat.

    With his colleague Karl Palmas, he has put forward a realist perspective on design, a parallel to Realpolitik they playfully call Realdesign. From this perspective, design is not primarily concerned with how things ought to be (as Herbert Simon suggested) but how things are, that is, how they are instruments of proposition as well as corruption, in games of Machiavellian deception, domination, and violence. A perspective of Realdesign may offer a point of departure for strategies of resistance, nonviolence and phronesis, towards more virtuous, but also realist, practices of design.  

    At Parsons, he is part of the Fashion Praxis Collective.  

    Much of his research can be found at

    Current Courses:

    Critical Fashion + Soc Justice

    Independent Study

    Integrated Design Studio 1

    Integrated Design Studio 2 (Spring 2021)

    Open Source Fashion (Spring 2020)