Student Bios

Floricia Arce (Editor) From a young age, Floricia held an appreciation for and interest in art, decorative arts, and historical dress. Understanding why humans make and adorn themselves with beautiful things has driven her studies in the history of fashion and art. She began her education at Queens College majoring in art history with a focus in the art and architecture of early modern Europe, and she is currently in her last year in the curatorial track of the Fashion and Textiles MA program at FIT. Over the summer, Floricia completed an internship with FIT’s Special Collections and College Archives, where she worked on a preventative conservation project that rehoused the DuBarry Fashion Sketch collection. Upon completion of the MA program, she intends to continue in the curatorial field, applying her current part-time work as a researcher for the Zay Initiative. Her future topics of study are the textiles and dress of the Mudéjar period in Spain.

Emily Burnham (Project Manager) Emily Burnham is a conservator and textile historian with a research interest in material culture and political history. Originally from North Idaho, Emily earned a degree in Art History from Western Washington University, and she spent ten years working at museums and galleries in the Seattle area before joining the FIT program in 2021. Her qualifying paper research is a case study into crochet of the 1880s through pattern and material analysis and recreation. She is currently an intern at the Conservation Lab at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine and a member of the FIT SGC Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. When Emily isn’t using her spare time to crochet sweaters, she can typically be found in Prospect Park with her longtime partner Hayden and dog Gus.

Dana Callahan (Publications Coordinator) Dana Callahan is a textile-focused art historian who was born in Kazakhstan and grew up mostly in Siberia, Russia. Her main thematic interests are the interplays between fashion and feminism, socialism, sustainability, and workers’ rights. From a practical perspective, she is focused on traditional Kazakh textiles. Her qualifying paper research centers on Kazakh traditional dress and the mounting of non-western textiles. Dana finished her BA at Moscow State Pedagogical University (on a full scholarship), and wrote her thesis on the Japanese Shibori dyeing technique. Following her first year of the MA in Fashion and Textile Studies at FIT, she interned at the Blue: The Tatter Textile Library in Brooklyn. Dana is passionate about vintage garments and accessories. She has a small collection of designer vintage handbags, some of them which she restored, and previously ran an online vintage store in Moscow. Dana plans to pursue a career in conservation and education, vis-à-vis non-western, especially Kazakh, garments.

Salomé de Perrier-Riitano (Exhibition Designer) Salomé holds a BA in Fashion Design and a minor in Art History from Kent State University. She is originally from Cleveland, Ohio but always had roots in New York City. As a fashion student she worked at the Kent State University Museum as a student assistant, working with the museum staff to execute great exhibitions. After moving to New York City, she worked as a showroom assistant, production assistant, design assistant, and finally a product developer at an athletic wear company. She has just completed an internship where she inventoried, researched, and documented Mexican huipiles and garments at a textile library. She plans to write her qualifying paper on transgender women’s undergarments. Upon completion of the Fashion and Textile program, Salomé would like to pursue a career in archiving and curating as well as education. Also, she is a trained volunteer dog walker at a New York City animal shelter.

Jules Eckelkamp (Display Advisor) Jules Eckelkamp hails from southern Louisiana and is a fashion historian and seasoned seamstress. She also operates her own shop, Ginger Goddess Studio, where she creates hand embroidered patches depicting famous artworks and popular culture icons. She previously worked in the theatre and performance industry in costume design and construction and is currently completing her MA inFashion and Textile Studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology. As an avid creator, Jules is passionate about textile conservation and costume mount making for museum exhibitions and plans to pursue a career in these areas of historical work. Her main areas of research interest are western wear and southern culture, gender and fashion, and fashion in film. She has spent much of her year in Tennessee working on her thesis, which aims to analyze the foundation of the country and blues music genres and the creation and solidification of their respective styles of dress.

Maria Ferrara (Media Manager) Following two semesters abroad in Montpellier and Angers, France, Maria Ferrara received her BA in French from the University of Kansas. Maria has a professional background in fashion and technical design. She created a plus size clothing line for Cover Girl Active and her design work has been shown at Chicago Fashion Week. Maria currently interns at Blue: The Tatter Textile Library where she carries out object-based research and conservation on a collection of Indonesian ceremonial bags. As Media Manager, Maria wrote the press release and MFIT website blurbs, and she collaborated with the rest of the public relations team on organizing public programming events and creating social media for the exhibition. Maria plans to continue her career as a textile researcher and curator. She’s interested in wigs, European textiles, and embellishments made of hair and bone. She aims to use her fluency in French and Italian and her European citizenship to apply for research grants abroad. One day she plans to open the first Museum of Drag, which will house a historic collection and present contemporary runway shows and events.

Annalise Gall (Registrar) Annalise holds a BS in Sociology and a BA in English from the University of Minnesota, where she focused on non-profit and community organization. She is currently concentrating on collections care and conservation in the Fashion and Textile Studies program, which she was drawn to out of a desire to work in a more creative field. Her areas of research and interest include contemporary materials, local history, and headwear. She is treating a synthetic mid-twentieth century uniform with heat damage for her qualifying paper at FIT. Annalise has interned with the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites, principally assessing and stabilizing the textile collection at the Senate House in Kingston, New York. She draws upon this experience as exhibition registrar, as well as former experience in law and education administration. She has also worked in heritage retail, fitting custom menswear and leading store visuals.

Cara Green (Content Advisor) Cara Green is an emerging art and fashion historian, curator, and researcher. She was born and raised in Sonoma County, California, and received her BA in the History of Art with a minor in Dance & Performance Studies from UC Berkeley in 2021. Cara’s undergraduate studies, combined with her experience working in a vintage shop and assisting a personal stylist in the Bay Area, inspired her to further pursue her interests in graduate school. With an MA in Fashion & Textile Studies, Cara plans to seek out opportunities in museum curation and research regarding the history of fashion in hopes to further inform and evaluate culture, society, and social behavior. She is currently working on her Master’s Thesis that analyzes a Norwegian national dress ensemble with familial ties in order to examine the life of objects with interrelated expressions of genealogy, identity, and traditions. Cara hopes to travel to Norway during Summer 2023 to expand the scope of her research for this project.

Heidi Hilker (General Support) Heidi works at The Antonio Ratti Textile Study and Storage Center at the Metropolitan Museum. After receiving a BFA in Fiber from the Kansas City Art Institute, she moved to New York and worked on productions for ballet, Broadway, and film. Her own art productions have included a fashion runway show of Icelandic maternity wear called The Gentle Cycle and Lunar Tide of Puri Vilhjalmsdottir, an anti-fashion Viennese Actionist "found" collection titled Das Pfaschion Aktion von Heidi Muehl, and a series of Surrealistic corsets and shoes exhibited at Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery under the names of Heidi Snow and Charles Butterworth. Her work explores obscure histories, deciphering lost chapters in the history of fashion in relics such as fanciful costumes and various forms of documentation. Through sculptures, photographs and drawings, her work examines the ways in which women’s fashion in particular has contributed to the exaggeration, distortion, and fetishization of the female body according to the cultural fantasies and perversions of a given historical moment.

Donald J. Jackson (Exhibition Writer) Donald is an arts and cultural historian and emerging museum professional specializing in fashion history. He received his BA in art history and political science from Queens College, CUNY, in 2019, and has since received certificates in museum education and cultural heritage management. He has worked for three years in museums throughout New York State, most recently as an educator at the New York Transit Museum. His areas of interest span from the Louis XVI style to the late-80s/early-90s avant-garde club scene. He is currently working on publishing a qualifying paper on the connection between fashionable dress and assimilation in the Catskills resort industry. In his spare time, he enjoys exploring his creative side through painting and conceptual art production. He splits his time between New York City and his Catskills hometown of Cairo, NY.

Rachel Kelleher (Content Advisor/Writing Support) Raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Rachel Kelleher is a fashion and textile historian who is deeply passionate about the research process. Her love of fiber arts stems from childhood quilting and fine art classes, utilized as powerful modes of creative expression. She recently obtained a BFA in History of Art and Design, with a Museum and Gallery Practices minor, from Pratt Institute. Past internship positions--as a Fashion and Textiles Research Assistant for the Peabody Essex Museum and Cataloguing Intern at the Phillips Library Archive--provided a deeper perspective on the detailed care that is taken to preserve a collection's garments, as well as the individuals who are responsible for maintaining the objects' longevity. Rachel’s future career interests include fulfilling a position i collections management for a private or public costume archive or a historic house museum. She hopes to travel to London and Tenterden, England to support her qualifying paper research analyzing the notable impact of actress Ellen Terry’s infamous elytra Beetle Wing Dress, designed for her role of Lady Macbeth in the 1888 Lyceum production.

Bridget Kerr (Education and Public Programming) Bridget Kerr is a proud Vermonter and a passionate fashion historian, curator, and researcher. She received her BS in theatre and French, and completed a transformative semester abroad in Paris. That experience, combined with time spent working with an antique textile dealer, encouraged her to pursue a MA in Fashion and Textile Studies. Bridget spent time as an Exhibitions Assistant at the Tang Teaching Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY where she also had the chance to curate a show of Salvador Dalí prints. She is currently working on her qualifying paper, which is a discovery of the life and work of American designer Marguery Bolhagen. With her MA, Bridget plans to pursue a career in museum fashion curation and fashion historical research. Her research interests include overlooked designers throughout history, the intersection of art and fashion history, and historic undergarments.

Celine Khawam (Research Manager/Lead Researcher) Celine is a fashion historian and textile design professional based in New York. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from Pantheon-Sorbonne University in Paris, France, and currently specializes in Fashion Studies, Textile Conservation, and Museum Practice at FIT, New York. Celine began her career as a textile designer creating home linens for couture fashion houses, including Polo Ralph Lauren, Hermes, Kenzo, and Givenchy. She also collaborated with local American designers. Her international experience, world travels, and enlightening interactions with artisans and artists shaped her passion for textile traditions and cultural heritage. Her research interests include historic garments, designers, and makers overlooked in fashion and textile scholarship. She is currently working on a qualifying paper focused on the French milliners of New York from 1930 to 1968.

Sarah Jayne Klucken (Design Coordinator) Sarah Jayne is enthusiastic about the creative arts and their many forms. She has an undergraduate degree with a focus in Music and Film from Hampshire College. She is fascinated by visual media, specifically human decoration, which has drawn her to vintage clothes and jewelry fabrication. The history of fashion is her current focus: her final thesis topic is Menswear History which will culminate in an exhibition proposal including multimedia examples. Originally from Vermont, she now resides in the woods of New York with her cats, dog and partner.

Megan O’Brian (Research Manager/Lead Researcher) Originally from south Florida, Megan O’Brian received her BA in Art History from New College of Florida in 2021, where she focused her research on representations of femininity and dress in 18th- century Rococo painting and Surrealism’s influence on fashion in the 1930s. Her long-standing interest in fashion and cultural history has driven her to pursue a career in textile studies and collections care. She has held internships within this field at institutions including the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and Blue: The Tatter Textile Library. At FIT, her coursework relies heavily on conservation and collections management, and her most recent areas of interest include home-sewing, paper patterns, and mending practices in the early 20th century. Megan most enjoys hands-on work, and plans to conduct a conservation treatment on a historic garment for her upcoming qualifying paper.

Elizabeth Pamboukian (Graphic Designer) Elizabeth Pamboukian earned her BFA in Fashion Marketing and Management with double minors in Fashion Journalism and Business Management and Entrepreneurship from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2020. During and after graduating from SCAD, she began her career in various roles within fashion, creative strategy, marketing, writing, and cataloging at an auction house. She currently specializes in luxury, rare, and vintage handbags at Madison Avenue Couture. Elizabeth enrolled in FIT’s Fashion and Textile Studies MA program to expand her career into curation and vintage fashion. Her most recent research focuses on plus-size fashion and size inclusivity in 20th-century and contemporary fashion. Elizabeth currently lives in Brooklyn with her dog Anoush and also runs a small freelance illustration business called Rappers As Food where she embraces her other passions of music and art.

Lucinda Pelton (Conservation Advisor/Liaison) Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Luci learned to sew at a young age, and continued experimenting with various fiber and visual arts during and after earning her BA in Art History from Hunter College. Her interest in textile conservation was sparked while working in antique Persian rug restoration, where she loved the marriage of art history and hands-on work. Since going back to school to study chemistry, and subsequently enrolling at FIT, Luci has held conservation internships in private practice in San Francisco as well as The Ukrainian Museum in New York City, gaining experience in costume and textile conservation, wildfire and other disaster recovery techniques, and collections management in museum settings. She hopes to become a textile conservator, where she can use research and hands-on techniques to conserve historic pieces for future generations.

Karri Vaughn (Conservation Advisor/Liaison) Karri Vaughn began her career in chemistry and left to pursue art conservation. She spent the summer of 2022 as a graduate intern at the Saint Louis Art Museum, carrying out a ten-week treatment to remove rubber cement from an 18th century palampore. She is currently an intern at the Textile Conservation Lab at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine where she enjoys being surrounded by large tapestries. When not working, Karri enjoys knitting, painting, weaving and watching cheesy movies.

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