When Valerie Steele talks about fashion, you’re as far as you can get from hearing nonsense. With a Ph.D from Yale, she is author and co-author of over 20 books (among which Fashion Designers A-Z – The Collection of the Museum at FIT, Fashion and Eroticism, Paris Fashion, Women of Fashion, Fetish: Fashion, Sex and Power, The Corset: A Cultural History, Gothic: Dark Glamour) as well as contributor to essays and other publications, she has triggered the birth of the modern field of fashion studies and constantly raises awareness on the cultural significance of fashion.
As the Director and Chief Curator of The Museum at FIT – Fashion Institute of Technology, she has organized more than 20 exhibitions since 1997, including The Corset, London Fashion, Gothic: Dark Glamour; Shoe Obsession, Daphne Guinness, A Queer History of Fashion, and Dance and Fashion. She is also founder and Editor-in-chief of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, the first peer-reviewed scholarly journal in Fashion Studies.
All of the above may lead one to think that in a fashion conversation Ms. Steele would outshine us mere mortals, rattling off complicated words and leaving us clueless.
Quite the contrary. She is a scholar with the rare ability to simplify knowledge, making it understandable for everyone. When she talks there appears to be a strong desire to always make herself well understood not just from her peers, but from everyone around her.
We had the great honour of having her in the ITS 2016 Fashion & Accessories Jury and we could not but notice her constantly positive attitude, her kindness and radiance. One of the most special moments during the event was having her visit the ITS Creative Archive where we had the opportunity to interview her (extracts can be seen in our teaser video).
Among the things she told us during the interview we really loved the image she gave of ITS: “It’s like a magnetic force here, you’re drawing all of these needles, zooming from all around the world to you, it’s really inspiring”. And as a fashion historian and curator we knew she would be excited about the ITS Archive: “I am amazed by the archive, it’s really a treasure house. There’s so much talent and inspiration in here, I want a lot of people to see this, especially fashion students around the world because it’s a totally inspiring place. The ITS Creative Archive is a unique and valuable resource, because it contains looks from a range of international designers at the beginning of their careers. Works from a designer’s earliest collections is incredibly rare, and of great interest both historically and in terms of providing inspiration to today’s fashion students. The Archive deserves financial support from the fashion industry, in order to preserve and showcase a valuable resource”.
Words like hers strengthen our belief in the unique heritage the ITS Creative Archive represents and the importance it holds for the entire creative industry.
Teaching creativity. Interview with Ike Rust, menswear tutor to former ITS winners.
13 February, 2023
In the twenty years of ITS Contest rarely have we seen such consistency in training young designers that would be then be selected as finalists by the ITS Jury, a first…
ITS Contest names that ring a bell.
Craig Green, David Koma, Liam Fahy and Lee Matthews in the ITS Arcademy Collection.
12 January, 2023
In the history of contemporary fashion, documented through the perspective of the ITS Arcademy Collection, there are designers who made history. Interestingly, it’s not always names that made it through to…
One Collection, infinite stories: Religion. Looking at the religious elements of the ITS Arcademy collection.
05 December, 2022
Looking for either controversy, beauty, culture or symbolism, it is no mystery why fashion drives inspiration from religion. They are undeniably intertwined: religions and religious orders have dress codes and use…
Handling the History of Contemporary Fashion Evolution. Interview with the head of our Collection team, in charge of handling the ITS Foundation’s archival patrimony.
04 December, 2022
Stepping into a museum space can often feel like everything’s stuck in time, frozen. As if it were a place where not much happens, other than cleaning and occasional moving of…
ITS Finalists nominated at The Fashion Awards 2022. Demna, Matthieu Blazy and Chopova Lowena among the nominees of the Oscars of Fashion.
28 November, 2022
Assigned annually in London by the British Fashion Council, The Fashion Awards might seem like they’ve only existed since Craig Green won Designer of the Year in 2016. But the ceremony…
Sketching, the Aitor Throup way.
A chat about drawing as a daily therapy with ITS 2006 winner Aitor Throup.
15 November, 2022
“Aitor Throup is an Argentinian-born British artist, designer and creative director.” This is the only sentence that sounds vaguely complete about what Aitor is. All attempts to pin down every aspect…