Queer Fashion Symposium
Submitted by: Tanya Melendez, the Museum at FIT
Collaborators: Melissa Marra, Tamsen Schwartzman, and Dr. Valerie Steele
The symposium, A Queer History of Fashion (November 8-9, 2013) was held in conjunction with the Museum at FIT's fall 2013 exhibition of the same title. The symposiums speakers included: Dr. Steele; Anna Blume (associate professor, Department of the History of Art at FIT); Monica Miller (professor at Duke University); Hal Rubenstein (fashion director at InStyle); Scott Stoddart (dean of the School of Liberal Arts at FIT); and Elizabeth Wilson (professor at the London College at Fashion). The symposium provided a platform for the FIT community to connect with other institutions of higher education both in New York (Parsons, NYU, CUNY Graduate Center) and beyond, as well as with other constituencies. The symposium is accompanied by an education website for high school and college students to explore the history of modern fashion through the lens of LGBT life and culture, and a videotape. The ultimate goal of the symposium and website is to help to foster a climate of inclusion for those who have often been marginalized due to their sexual orientation. An FIT Faculty Advisory Committee will be formed to help achieve long-lasting impact in the community. The Museum promoted the symposium among FIT's different campus groups, schools and student clubs. Survey results were used to create a report and recommendations for future symposia.