Mary Kawenski teaches introductory to advance-level courses in apparel design and development, including senior thesis collection development and design research. Before teaching at RISD, she designed womenswear and junior sportswear for 10 years in Toronto, had her own label, Kreyka, and was adjunct faculty at Ryerson University’s School of Fashion in Toronto, Ontario. Her ongoing academic interests in creative problem-solving and design process began over 25 years ago at the Creative Problem-Solving Institute in Buffalo. She continued her studies with William J. Gordon, founder of Synectics and later a SES Synectics trainer.
In the studio, Kawenski designs apparel and accessories using sustainable materials. As a designer and technical consultant, she works with entrepreneurs on startup programs for apparel and lifestyle products, stressing socially responsible manufacturing. She has lectured and facilitated workshops on creative thinking and design development in the US, Canada, China and Peru.