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Globally Connected @ FIT

Short presentations, talks, and discussions for the FIT community

This is a series of 45-minute virtual discussions led by students, faculty, and alumni to advance global education at FIT in our new world without mobility. The major themes will be fashion, art, sustainability, racial equity, and life during the pandemic around the world.

Co-organizers: Helen Gaudette and Alexander Nagel
Hosted by the Office of International Programs, History of Art, and the Cultural Fellows
These talks are recorded and archived, and are available upon request.


Touching Color: A Latin American Sabbatical

On a chromatic sabbatical journey in 2019, Jada Schumacher journeyed around Mexico and Argentina working with local artists and their materials—targeting sites frequented by iconic designer-educators Anni Albers, Josef Albers, Ruth Asawa, Luis Barragán, and Clara Porset. Watch Jada as she crushes cochineal insects to yield vibrant crimsons and scarlets. Join her in a color-laden tour of art galleries, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and, of all places, a fountain for horses. Discover how native and urban architectural applications of color can influence contemporary culture around the world.

Thursday February 11, 2021 
12:45-1:30 pm


  • Jada Schumacher is a Professor in the Communication Design Pathways Department at FIT and coordinates FIT’s Color Studies Minor. She is Founding Director of designorange, a materials-obsessed design studio. In addition to creating custom designs, her work is featured in installations in cities such as Budapest, Stockholm, Tallinn, and Zurich (from the Centre Pompidou to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair NYC). She serves as an international Color and Trend Reporter for the Government of Japan and presents chromatic lectures at El Salvador Color Week, Harvard University, and the Association Internationale de la Couleur/International Color Association Conferences.


  • Cultural Fellow Isha Kesarwani, Fashion Design 
  • Professor Chiara Buss graduated in art history from Columbia University, New York, and has an M. A. in palaeography from Archivio di Stato, Milan. In the mid-seventies she turned to research in textile history and has since published numberless studies on the subject, while dedicating a large part of her activity to planning and curating exhibitions on textile and fashion history in Europe, the USA and Japan. She teaches social history of textiles at the Graduate program at Università Cattolica, in Milano and at FIT, Milan campus at Politecnico, besides giving seminars at universities in Europe, Australia and China. She has directed the Textile Museum at the Ratti Foundation in Como, and the Institute of Lombard Art in Milan. Her books have been translated into English, French, German, Japanese and Chinese.

Future: To be announced here soon!


Global Identities in Focus: A Reset for the Emerging Artists of Southeast Asia

In time of quarantine, a new generation of designers, artists and creative thinkers are reimagining what the future can look like. We talk to those working in a creative economy that is both underestimated and underrepresented, Southeast Asia, about their brand identity post-pandemic and personal identity as Southeast Asian designers in a world working to decolonize lifeand art.

Thursday, December 17
9-9:45 am


  • Student Zeke Edwards, Entrepreneurship, and Student Audrey Martiandy, Textile/Surface Design
  • Tom Trandt, Founder and Designer, Môi Điên Studio: After graduating with his BA in fashion design from Parsons in New York, Tom Trandt returned to his home of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to start his independent fashion brand Môi Điên. His unisex designs are inspired by Asian streetwear with a focus on sustainability. He has received international recognition for his work and has been featured in the Forbes Vietnam 30 Under 30 list.

  • Vu Thao, Founder & Designer, Kilomet109: Based in Hanoi, Vu Thao is a pioneer in Vietnam’s sustainable fashion industry. Since its founding, her brand Kilomet109 has worked with local artisans throughout Vietnam and draws from the country’s rich textile heritage. All of her designs are produced using natural and sustainably sourced materials. Her work has been featured in the New York Times and Harper’s Bazaar.

  • Pipatchara Kaeojinda, Founder & Designer, PIPATCHARA: Since graduating with her BFA from the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco and later with her graduate studies at the esteemed École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, Pipatchara has worked with brands like Ralph Lauren, Chloé and Givenchy. She now designs for her Bangkok-based namesake brand, PIPATCHARA, which works with craft communities throughout Thailand to create hand-made accessories.

Creating Fashion History Content During a Pandemic

As a fashion historian and independent curator, finding ways to educate audiences from a distance due to COVID is a new challenge that Darnell-Jamal Lisby seeks to tackle. With his expertise in delineating the impact of Blackness within the history of fashion, creating content that physically reaches audiences and also intertwines subject matter that relates to current social issues. In his informal presentation, Darnell will highlight the ways he's able to disseminate research using various social media outlets and curatorial ventures, hoping that his journey may inspire solutions for emerging scholars and fashion-related professionals.

Thursday, December 10
12-12:45 pm  


  • Darnell-Jamal Lisby is a fashion historian and independent curator; he holds a B.S. in Art History and Museum Professions and an M.A. in Fashion and Textile Studies, both from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Lisby approaches the history of fashion from an art historical context with a particular interest to illuminate the impact of Blackness on fashion history in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In addition to his recent work to help curate the Willi Smith: Street Couture exhibition at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, he contributed to the fashion curatorial efforts at various institutions such as the Museum at FIT and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He also contributes regularly to various academic and mainstream platforms, expanding how he educates audiences on the discipline. His credits include works for Cultured Magazine, where he is a contributing editor, Teen Vogue, the Fashion and Race Database, and the FIT Fashion History Timeline.   

Battling Stereotype and Stigma: A Conversation on Cultural Appropriation

We must all be conscious of the world around us, the people, their stories, their culture and learn to understand them. Respectful, authentic and socially correct representation matters now, more than ever. This panel is a starting point for conversation around cultural appropriation in the arts, media, and beyond. Together, we can educate ourselves to not only consume, but also create in a way that respects the integrity and boundaries of a culture, without succumbing to the stereotypes and stigmas around them. 

Thursday, November 19,
12:30-1:15 pm


  • Cultural Fellows and students Siddhi Daga, Fashion Design, and Papa Oppong, MFA Fashion, with Professor Sara Paci, FIT in Florence, Kyunghee Pyun, Associate Professor in History of Art, and Valerie See, Fashion Business Management and Asian Studies student

Cultural Appropriation in Fashion and Entertainment

We examine the issues and problems of cultural appropriation and borrowing that stem from the structure of power dynamics in the creative industries, fashion and entertainment in particular, and look at a number of specific case studies to explore whether they are culturally offensive or not. Analysis of the case studies shows that understanding cultural appropriation requires global and socio-historical contextualization and cultural inequalities inherent in various aesthetic expressions, and, they raise thought-provoking questions as to how far designers, creators, and entertainers can go to utilize and adopt other people’s cultural components as part of their creative inspiration and are not perceived as an offensive mockery or vulgar imitation. A complex dialogue between cultural appropriation and creative inspiration serves as a window to further investigate the history, values, customs, and beliefs of different cultures in multilayered global contexts, such as social, economic, political and religious dimensions, and it simultaneously raises the level of our cultural awareness.

Thursday, November 12 
12-12:45 pm   


  • Dr. Yuniya (Yuni) Kawamura earned her PhD in Sociology from Columbia University and is trained as a professional designer at Bunka College of Fashion in Japan, Kingston University in the UK, and FIT. She is the author of The Japanese Revolution in Paris Fashion (2004) and Fashioning Japanese Subcultures(2012). She is a board member of the International Fashion Research Centre at Bologna University. She has been invited to teach a class on Fashion Communication to M.A. students in the School of Design at Politecnico di Milano during the Fall 2020 semester. Her research interests include fashion theory, French haute couture, youth subcultures, ethnic dress, and indigenous needlework. She is currently working on two books: “The Exclusive World of Geisha and Maiko in Contemporary Japan” and “Fashion and Sustainability in New York”. 

    Dr. Jung-Whan Marc de Jong is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Social Sciences Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He was born in Seoul, South Korea, grew up in The Netherlands, and ended up in New York City in August 2009 after working and studying in London and Los Angeles for over a decade. In addition to cultural appropriation in entertainment, he conducts research and teaches courses in digital sociology, criminology, and East Asian global pop culture production. Dr. de Jong holds MA degrees in American Studies from the University of Amsterdam and the University of London's School of Advanced Studies, and a MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of Southern California. 

One Love: Promoting Black Pride and Racial Equity

Bob Marley, the godfather of Reggae, says it best, “one love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright.” The Black Lives Matter Movement has the world saying, “enough”.  Anya Swapp, International FIT student and Cultural Fellow, presents her passion project, “Next of Kin”, an art representation in support of the movement to establish systematic changes. This conversation is themed around Afrofuturism--possessing the imagined African identity that could have potentially emerged from an African cultural experience uninterrupted by oppression. We invite all to join the conversation on Black excellence and racial equity as we continue to spark change.

Thursday, October 29
12:30-1:15 pm


  • FBM student and Cultural Fellow Anya Swapp with Awa Doumbia and Kiara Williams, members of the Black Student Union, and Janice Lawrence-Clarke, FIT Alum and Founder of CAFE - Caribbean American Fashion Exchange

The Joy of Modern Life: Things to Avoid during the Pandemic

In a beautifully illustrated talk, Pyun discusses joyous spectacles of modern life such as the night life, emergence of restaurants and cafes, strolls in department stores, and musical performances in theaters at the turn of the twentieth century in New York City and in other large cities. Ironically, we have learned that these are types of activities we should avoid and curtail during the pandemic. In this talk, we will appreciate a cosmopolitan lifestyle with reflections on public health and technology.

Thursday, October 22 


  • Dr. Kyunghee Pyun is an Associate Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York. Her scholarship focuses on history of collecting, reception of Asian art, diaspora of Asian artists, and Asian American visual culture. She was a Leon Levy fellow in the Center for the History of Collecting at the Frick Collection. Fashion, Identity, Power in Modern Asia surveyed modernized dresses in the early twentieth century. She is working on a new book on school uniforms in East Asia. 

Conversations for the Future: Mapping the Art World After the Pandemic

Angelica Pomar, FIT Art History and Museum Professions senior, and Eva Mayhabal Davis, arts advocator and curator, will discuss the climate of the art world post-pandemic and what it means for Black, Indigeous, people of color, women, and queer individuals working in the arts. They will evaluate how art institutions can better represent these identities in both exhibitions and on the art careers front. Most importantly, they will look at how wider representation in the arts can be the catalyst for social equity and change.

Thursday, October 1
1–1:45 pm


  • Angelica Pomar is an Art History and Museum Professions senior at FIT. She identifies as Nuyorican and South American, and is passionate about social justice within the arts. Last Spring, Angelica studied abroad in Florence, Italy to further study art history and museum studies at the Lorenzo De' Medici Institute. Angelica is also an artist educator at the Museum of Arts and Design, where she helps facilitate and plan virtual public programming with the education department. Angelica has previously helped curate the exhibition Survivance and Sovereignty on Turtle Island: Engaging with Contemporary Native American Art at the Kupferberg Holocaust Center in Queens, New York. Angelica has worked with art institutions since 2016, some of which are the Whitney Museum, New York Historical Society, SOHO20 Art Gallery, and The Morgan Library. 
  • Eva Mayhabal Davis (b. Toluca, Mexico) is an arts advocate and curator. She has collaborated on exhibitions at BronxArtSpace, En Foco, Expressiones Cultural Center, MECA International Art Fair, Photoville NYC, Queens Museum, Ray Gallery, and Smack Mellon. Based in Brooklyn, she is a co-director at Transmitter, a collaborative curatorial initiative. She is currently the intake associate at UnLocal, Inc, a non-profit organization that provides direct immigration legal representation, legal consultations, and community education to New York City’s undocumented immigrant communities.

Tehran, Athens, and Venice: Dialogues on the Production of Art Around the World in 2020

FIT faculty member Alex Nagel in conversation with Cacao Rocks (Athens, Greece), Helia Darab (Tehran, Iran), Aisling Sareh Haghshenas (Tehran, Iran), Sara Aghajani (Siegen, Germany), and Renato D’Agostin (Venice, Italy). A discussion around how artists and galleries around the world are responding to COVID-19 and the challenges of 2020. Themes include community building and ways to understand how artists around the world respond to the new world we live in. What are the themes that bind artist communities in Tehran, Athens, and Venice in 2020? What are ways to respond and engage to the new global environment with the production of art in the summer and fall of 2020

Thursday, September 24 
Noon–12:45 pm   


  • Dr. Alexander Nagel is an assistant professor in FIT's History of Art department.
  • Cacao Rocks (Megoulas Yassonas, born 1985) is a street graffiti artist based in Athens, Greece. His work including paintings, sculptures, video art and installations, has been exhibited in museums and galleries including the Benaki Museum in Athens and the Onassis Cultural Center and Salomon Arts Gallery in New York City. He represented Greece at Mediterranea 2018 Young Artists Biennale.
  • Helia Darabi, lives in Tehran and is a member of the Contemporary Art Committee in the Art Research Center at the Iranian Academy of Art. She is writing and teaching on contemporary Iranian visual art at universities in Tehran and through her personal online platform.
  • Aisling Sareh Haghshenas is an artist based in Tehran. Her work, which includes urban photography, video, and art installations, have been exhibited in the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Austria, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Slovakia, and Turkey.
  • Renato D’Agostin (born 1983) is a photographer based in Venice, Italy. In New York City, he worked as an assistant to Ralph Gibson. Renato’s work has been exhibited in The Library of Congress in Washington D.C., the International Center of Photography in New York, as well as LACMA in Los Angeles and elsewhere.