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Cross Pollination: Fashion and Politics

The Museum at FIT is a creative hub for fashion. As part of its Fashion Culture program series, Cross-Pollination workshops offer college students an innovative opportunity to collaborate with their international peers on a fashion-based project. For the Cross-Pollination: Fashion and Politics workshop, The Museum at FIT invited students from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and CENTRO de Diseno, Cine y Television in Mexico City to creatively investigate what fashion and politics mean where they live, work, study, and play. The workshop was a response to the Museum at FIT's exhibition Fashion and Politics, which looked at 200 years of fashion and its function as propaganda, political expression, and a medium for raising consciousness about social issues. 

Project Summary

In preparation, the students received photographs of all the objects in the Fashion & Politics exhibition, exhibition didactics, the exhibition brochure, press release, some articles published in the media, as well as a list of relevant websites recommended by the exhibition curators, Jennifer Farley and Melissa Marra. Teachers Curtis Willocks (FIT) and Gustavo Prado (CENTRO) met with their students on a weekly basis. The students explored each city with their cameras focusing on specific neighborhoods. One objective was to enable students from each country to see the complex faces of a foreign city they may never have visited.

The initial photographic work of all the students was posted online through the photo sharing website Flickr as well as on a blog created by one of the FIT students. Through the sites, the students had the opportunity to observe and comment on each others work. The exhibition curators, education and web staff at the museum also shared their thoughts and reflections on the students work.

From their initial explorations, the students had to narrow their focus and proceed with their project, one that would express their viewpoint on fashion and politics within their locality. The students' final photo journalistic portfolios (FIT) and multimedia projects (CENTRO) are listed below. 

 FIT students    CENTRO students  
 john utsey John Utsey, Fine Arts Major
Political Fashions
 Coyoacan Carolina Mena and Angelica Krinis, Coyoacan
 Ani  Bijoyan Ani Bijoyan,
Communication Design Major
Flushing, Queens
 bosques santa fe Antonio Gallardo and Juan Ignacio Zermeno, Bosques Santa Fe
 Erick Steeniberg Erick Steeinberg, Photography Major
Fashion 7th Ave
 centro Daniela Holtzman and Catalina Snchez, Centro Esquela
 thalita baccarin Thalita Baccarin,
Visual Display Major
Images of FIT art and design students 
 centro historico Kristin Chavez and Angelo Perdigon,
Centro Historico
 Curtis Upshaw Curtis Upshaw
FIT Students On Campus
 chopo Paulina Rios and Paulina Ortega,
     zona rosa Mariel Calderon and Natalia Melendez,
Zona Rosa
     satelite Diego Hernandez and Sol Santibanez,

The Museum at FIT would like to thank FIT and CENTRO for helping facilitate this wonderful exchange. Special thanks to Curtis Willocks, Gustavo Prado, Uzyel Karp, and Liza Niles.


Curtis Willocks, Fashion Institute of Technology, Photography Department
Gustavo Prado, CENTRO

Education: Tanya Melendez, MFIT
Museum Media Manager: Tamsen Young
Exhibition Curators: Jennifer Farley, Melissa Marra