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In Textiles students experiment with new materials, technologies and techniques to design and create innovative fabric and fine art. Professors work closely with both graduate and undergraduate students to encourage the development of a personal vision and an understanding of larger artistic, social and cultural contexts.

Degree programs

BFA
4-year undergraduate program
MFA
2-year graduate program

Students work with the high-end equipment used in the field—multiharness handlooms, computer-interfaced looms and an electronic jacquard loom—to master advanced weaving techniques, and both hand-operated and electronic knitting machines allow for further exploration of knitted fabrics.

Bold Breakthroughs in 3D Weaving

In developing Weavecraft, Associate Professor Brooks Hagan and the Virtual Textiles Research Group are pushing weaving in exciting new directions.

RISD Receives its Largest Gift Ever

A $20-million gift from the Rayon Foundation Trust honors RISD’s historic roots in the study of textiles.

Windgate Backs New Textiles Grad

Textiles major Elizabeth Schweizer 19 TX will advance her work with Lakota youth thanks to a 2019 Windgate Fellowship from the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design.

After RISD, Textiles alumni are prepared to energize the field by expressing their personal vision. Many graduates go on to work as surface, pattern and fabric designers for large corporations or small studios, while others create exotic knitwear, establish small production companies, produce performance pieces, make fine art, teach, curate, run galleries and more.

Alumni at work

Liz Collins BFA 91/MFA 99 | fine artist

Now based in NYC, Liz Collins is constantly inventing new ways of making art with textiles, challenging boundaries between painting, fiber arts and installations. She often creates spaces that envelop viewers in vibrating color fields, elevating yarn beyond the body to engage with architectural space. In each phase of her 15-part Knitting Nation performance series, she collaborated with futuristically uniformed workers to create large-scale pieces using manually operated knitting machines to comment on technology, trade, labor and the fashion industry.

Rachel Doriss BFA 99 | textiles executive

When Rachel Doriss first came to RISD, she was already head over heels in love with textiles and planned to open a small weaving studio in rural Vermont. But while studying both printed and woven techniques, she developed an itch to explore practical applications within the textiles industry. Once Doriss moved to NYC after graduation, she initially landed a job designing printed scarves at Echo before joining Mark Pollack 76 TX at his namesake firm POLLACK, where she is now vice president and design director.

Michael Koch BFA 87 | designer/mill owner

"RISD opened an incredible door for me – and changed my life," says the designer and co-owner of LA Mills. After working as an executive vice president and director of design at Weariest Sil-Tex Mills and as a senior designer at Jack Lenor Larsen, Koch now designs and produces upholstery and drapery fabrics for the global market through his high-end production facility in Los Angeles. He considers himself a champion of America's new cottage textiles industry, but also enjoys working with larger production operations in India, Thailand and Cambodia via Michael Koch Designs, his consulting firm.