All Museum public programs are canceled through August 31, 2020.

Please consider supporting the Museum, its art, and its programs with a gift to the MFA Fund.

Saturday, October 6, 2018
10:00 am–5:00 pm
Barbara and Theodore Alfond Auditorium (Auditorium G36)
Tickets can be picked up on the morning of the program from 10–11 am in the Huntington Entrance lobby.
Ticket Required

"Mass Fashion: Past, Present, and Future," a public symposium scheduled for October 5 and 6 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, explores the unique culture of fashion in Massachusetts. Speakers from academia, industry, and design discuss topics including the textile industry, immigration, technology, education, progressivism, and contemporary design.

Mass Fashion is a statewide collaboration celebrating fashion in Massachusetts. Through 2019, the Concord Museum; Fuller Craft Museum; Historic New England; Massachusetts Historical Society; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Old Sturbridge Village; Peabody Essex Museum; and The Trustees of Reservations will present exhibitions and events on fashion-related subjects.


October 5, 2018


10:30 am

Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Session 1: Industry

10:35 am

Chair, Pam Parmal, Chair and David and Roberta Logie Curator of Textile and Fashion Arts, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Massachusetts Textiles: Reinventing a Historic Industry to Serve Fashion, Craft, and Technology
Tricia Wilson Nguyen, Principal, Thistle Threads and Fabric Works

Industry and Art: The Development of New England’s Textile Manufactures
Diane Fagan Affleck, Retired Curator, American Textile History Museum

Heralding the Dawn of a Fabric Revolution
Tosha Hays, Chief Product Officer, Advanced Functional Fabrics of America


12:00 pm

Session 2: Education

1:30 pm

Chair: Chloe Chapin, PhD candidate, American Studies, Harvard University

Progressive Education in Boston and the Rise of Arts and Craft Jewelry
Nonie Gadsden, Katharine Lane Weems Senior Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Fashion and Slavery, A New Course in Fashion History
Jonathan Michael Square, Lecturer, Harvard University

Sustainability, Technology and Diversity in Contemporary Design Education
James Mason, Associate Professor of Fashion Design, Massachusetts College of Art and Design


3:00 pm

Session 3: Technology

3:15 pm

Chair: Petra Slinkard, Nancy B. Putnam Curator of Fashion and Textiles, Peabody Essex Museum

Innovation and Tradition: Making Shoes in Massachusetts, 1800-1900
Paula Richter, Curator for Exhibitions and Research, Peabody Essex

Collaboratively Crafted
Chris Wawrousek, Senior Creative Design Lead – New Balance Innovation Studio

From Repair to Shoe Designer: My Transition to the Footwear Industry
Chris Donovan, President, Chris Donovan Footwear

October 6, 2018

Session 4: Progressivism

10:30 am

Chair, Laura Johnson, Curator, Historic New England

Styling the American Suffragist: Fashion and Boston’s Battle for the Ballot
Raissa Bretaña, Fashion Historian

Butch Heroes: Clothing and Gender
Ria Brodell, Artist and Author

Recycled, Reclaimed, Sustainable Fashion: Less is More is Less…
Suzanne Watzman, Tamaryn Design


12:00 pm

Session 5: Immigration

1:30 pm

Chair, Christie Jackson, Senior Curator, The Trustees of Reservations

Fashioning Dress, Fashioning Identity: Irish Dressmakers and Milliners in 19th- and 20th-century Massachusetts
Wendy Gamber, Chair and Byrnes Professor, Department of History, Indiana University, Bloomington

Immigration and the Future of US Apparel Manufacturing
Brenna Nan Schneider, Founder and CEO, 99Degrees

Blending the Traditional and the Modern in Global Design
Zainab Koroma, Zainab Sumu Primitive Modern


3:00 pm

Session 6: Future

3:15 pm

Chair: Michelle Finamore, Penny Vinik Curator of Fashion Arts

Materials by Design
Jifei Ou, Research Assistant, MIT Media Lab, Tangible Media Group

Why Boston: Science, Art, and the Future of Fashion
Erin Robertson, Project Runway Winner Season 15, CEO of An_ERIN

Energizing the Fashion Economy in Massachusetts
Nicole Fichera,

Past Dates and Times

Friday, October 5, 2018

Tickets can be picked up on the morning of the program from 10–11 am in the Huntington Entrance lobby.


The symposium is sponsored by the Ann and John Clarkeson Lecture and Publication Fund for Textiles and Costumes.