From movie sets to lecture halls: Hope Simpara talks about her transformative first year at the University of Arizona

July 19, 2023

Fashion designer and educator, Hope Simpara, recounts on how her discipline and experience has prepared her to lead the fashion students to become confident and capable global citizens that will be tomorrow's fashion professionals.

Hope Simpara, Associate Professor of Practice, Fashion, Norton School

Hope Simpara is a fashion designer and educator from Lothian, Maryland. With a deep appreciation for the fine arts and cherished memories of learning sewing and crochet techniques from her grandmother, Simpara decided to merge these passions and pursue a career in fashion. Currently, she serves as an Associate Professor of Practice for the Fashion Industry's Science and Technology program at the Norton School of Human Ecology. 

Simpara's educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Merchandising from Howard University and a Master of Fine Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design. These qualifications have proved instrumental in the development of the FITS program, as she brings a wealth of experience and knowledge spanning various areas, such as the psychological impact of color and geometric abstraction, minority representation in fashion, and the refinement of fit techniques in plus-size fashion. 

Hope Simpara, Associate Professor of Practice, Fashion, Norton School of Human Ecology

Hope Simpara being recognized at the 2022 Dogs In Denim Fashion Show after she successfully mentored her fashion students in design, creation, and show coordination.

Outside of her academic pursuits, Simpara also operates her own business, Hope Wallace Design, specializing in custom designs and alterations. “Fashion designers are the architects of the body”, Simpara said. “My goal is to help instill confidence and improve the quality of life for individuals through my contributions to fashion.” 

Furthermore, Simpara has applied her expertise in both the retail and film industries. Notable career highlights include collaborative research on the CT2 Body Scanner, technical design and sample creation for "Working Class Studio," and technical design and prototyping for Bowerbags, Zyem NYC Childrenswear, Moss and Honey Clothing Company, and Duende Handbags. Simpara has also worked as a wardrobe assistant and costume designer for the films "The Shed" and "The Young Wife". 

Joining the Norton School in August 2022, Simpara has recently concluded her first academic year at the University of Arizona. Reflecting on this experience, she emphasizes the importance of adaptability and immersing oneself in diverse cultures, research, and experiential opportunities. Going forward, Simpara aims to explore other disciplines across campus and facilitate cross-collaborative efforts between fashion and technology to benefit the global community. These future endeavors will challenge fashion students to conceptualize projects that enhance individuals' quality of life, encompassing adaptive and functional design, humanities, and health.