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Farai Simoyi Brings Her New York Style Sensibilities to Philadelphia as the New Director of Thomas Jefferson University's Fashion Design Program

By Kristin Detterline | September 7, 2020 | Style & Beauty


“This is the most natural step I’ve ever taken in my career. I believe all of my work and experience has led me to this position,” says Farai Simoyi (, the new director of Thomas Jefferson University’s internationally ranked fashion design program. It’s been nothing short of an exceptional journey. Born in England and raised in Zimbabwe and West Virginia, Simoyi graduated from West Virginia University and followed her dreams to New York City. Her big break into the industry was a position at Beyonce╠ü’s then-womenswear label House of Dereon. Simoyi went on to design for Jay-Z, Robert Rodriguez and Rachel Roy and eventually struck out on her own with The Narativ, a concept store stocked with ethically sourced artisan brands in Brooklyn. Earlier this year, she was a competitor on Netflix’s Next in Fashion. Simoyi says that her move to Philadelphia is an opportunity to shape the future generation of fashion. “I want people to see beyond just fashion—so many think fashion is superficial. The apparel industry as a whole is one of the largest industries in the world and everyone supports it even indirectly. We could be teaching the next CEO of a major brand at Jefferson.”


Photography by: Courtesy of Thomas Jefferson University