Speaker Biographies

Laura Beltrán-Rubio specializes in the history of art and fashion in the early modern Spanish World. She is a doctoral candidate at the College of William and Mary and received her MA in Fashion Studies from Parsons School of Design. Her dissertation explores the adoption and adaptation of European fashions, their fusion with Indigenous elements of dress, and their representation in the visual arts of the Viceroyalty of New Granada.

José Blanco F. is originally from Costa Rica. He is Professor of Fashion at Dominican University. His research focuses on dress and popular culture in the second half of the twentieth century, with an emphasis on male fashion. He is also interested in fashion and visual culture in Latin America. José has contributed chapters in readers including The Fashion Reader, The Handbook of Masculinity Studies, The Fashion Business Reader, The Meanings of Dress, and Transglobal Fashion Narratives. He has published essays in journals including Fashion Theory, Fashion, Style and Popular Culture, Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion, Dress, and The Journal of Popular Culture

Dr. Alexis Carreño is Associate Professor in the Art Department at Universidad de Chile. He holds a PhD in Art History and Criticism from the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and a Master of Fine Arts from the Universidad de Chile. A Fulbright scholar from 2009 to 2013, Carreño works at the intersection of art, fashion, and masculinities. In 2014, he curated a show on fashion and art at the American Folk-Art Museum in New York, and, in 2018, an exhibition on Chilean men's fashion at Centro Cultural de España in Santiago, Chile. His article "Mark in Skirt" was published in the Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion Journal in 2015. 

Willy Chavarria was born in Fresno, California. With a focus on art and commerce, he studied graphic design at the Academy of the Arts and eventually found his home in the creation of fashion. There has always been a sensitive and cinematic approach to his collections, beginning with his label’s launch in 2015. Chavarria takes literal content from his own upbringing in both the agricultural fields and the housing projects of the San Joaquin Valley and combines it with a high fashion sensibility and love for luxury.

William Cruz Bermeo is fashion and dress history professor in the Clothing Design Program at Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, in Medellin-Colombia. Cruz Bermeo is considered a local authority in the field of fashion studies, specializing in Colombian fashion history.  He has authored over five books and has presented his research through numerous articles, as well as national and international lectures. Cruz Bermeo has a degree in Fine Arts from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Brenda Equihua studied Fashion Design at Parsons School of Design, The New School. Founded in 2016, her eponymous brand, Equihua, is a forward-thinking Latinx luxury brand born out of folklore and refined artistry.

Aída Hurtado is a professor and the Luis Leal Endowed Chair in the Department of Chicana and Chicano studies at the University of California, Santa Bárbara. She is co-editor of MeXicana Fashions: Politics, Self-Adornment, and Identity Construction.

Ana Elena Mallet is a Mexico City-based curator specializing in Modern and Contemporary Fashion and Design. She is currently a Distinguished Teacher at the School of Architecture, Art and Design of the Tecnológico de Monterrey and  since April 2021, an Academic member of the Acquisitions Committee of the Department of Architecture and Design of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA). She has curated numerous exhibitions including El arte de la indumentaria y la moda at Fomento Cultural Banamex (2016) and Rosa Mexicano, Moda e identidad. La mirada de dos generaciones at Casa del Lago in Mexico City (2009).

Melissa Marra-Alvarez is curator of education and research at The Museum at FIT. She curated the exhibitions Minimalism/Maximalism (MFIT, 2019) and Force of Nature (MFIT, 2017) and co-curated Fashion & Politics (MFIT, 2009). Marra-Alvarez is co-curating the 2023 Museum at FIT exhibition Latin American and Latinx Fashion: ¡Moda Hoy!  Her publications include Food and Fashion (Bloomsbury, 2022), Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch (Yale University, 2015), and Dance and Fashion (Yale University, 2013). Marra-Alvarez holds a MA in Museum Studies: Fashion and Textile History from The Fashion Institute of Technology and a BA in English from SUNY Buffalo.

Tanya Meléndez-Escalante is senior curator of education and public programs at The Museum at FIT. She is a contributing author to the books La comedia y el melodrama en el audiovisual iberoamericano contemporáneo (Iberoamericana-Vervuert, 2015) and Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color (Thames & Hudson, 2018). She curated the exhibitions Eterno Femenino (2017) in León, Mexico; Julia y Renata: Moda y Transformación (2020) at the Museo de Arte de Zapopan in Zapopan, Mexico; and the 2023 exhibition Latin American and Latinx Fashion: ¡Moda Hoy! at The Museum at FIT. Meléndez-Escalante  holds a MA in Museum Studies: Fashion and Textile History from The Fashion Institute of Technology and a BA in Humanities from the Universidad de las Américas-Puebla.

Oskar Metsavaht is a multidisciplinary creator recognized as a visionary for his role as an environmentalist and leader of the sustainability movement. Founder and style director of Osklen, one of Brazil's most iconic fashion brands, he is renowned for taking the "Brazilian Soul" lifestyle around the world. Mr. Metsavaht has also won recognition both for pioneering the concept of "New Luxury" in the high-end fashion market and for his commitment to the ASAP philosophy – as sustainable as possible as soon as possible. He is the founder and president of Instituto-E, which acts as a hub for the application of the concepts and practices of Sustainable Design Thinking, which promotes sustainable human development through socio-environmental projects. In recognition of his lifetime contribution to social environmental causes, UNESCO named him a Sustainability and Goodwill Ambassador in 2012 and a UNESCO Ocean Decade Ambassador in 2022.

Hanayrá Negreiros is a Brazilian scholar of black ways of dressing. She has a Master's Degree in Science of Religion from the Pontifical University of São Paulo and is currently assistant curator of fashion at the São Paulo Museum of Art and columnist for ELLE Brasil.

Bárbara Sánchez-Kane is a Mexican fashion designer and artist who resists traditional notions of Mexican machismo through her ethos of the macho sentimental: a person who does not deny their natural impulses towards feminine and masculine forms of expression. Whether using her unisex fashion label Sánchez-Kane, or her installation, painting, performance, poetry, and sculpture practices, all of her works question hegemonic masculinity, the social construction of gender and sexual identity, and the ways in which each present themselves in daily life.


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