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  • Parsons 66 West 12th Street New York, NY, 10011 United States (map)




Colour continues as a major force in both fashion and interior textiles, announcing trends through a hue, well ahead of time. The red carpet has seen an array of dresses line up in monochrome, from white to lilac and yellow and most recently in green; however colour in design goes much deeper than mere fads - its essence can retell the anthropological roots of humankind through textiles and natural pigments that trace back millennia. 

As part of New York Textile Month, the 2019 Talking Textiles Conference hosts a line-up of acclaimed international speakers revealing the knowledge and techniques behind the most inspiring of fashion and interior fabrics. Whether adventurously hunting natural dyes around the globe, researching sustainability through vegetal waste and undyed fibres, or brightening up our lives with the most vivacious tales of red, yellow or pink - both history and contemporary culture are a treasure-trove of inspiration for understanding the shape of colour.

09:30 welcome

09:40 NEW YORK TEXTILE MONTH with LIDEWIJ EDELKOORT Trend Forecaster & Dean of MFA Textiles, Parsons / The New School

10:20 BRIGHT COLOUR with LIZ COLLINS Artist & Designer

10:50 TRUE COLOUR with KEITH RECKER Writer & Trend Consultant

11:30 touch break & book signing with Keith Recker

12:00 NATURAL COLOUR with MARÍA ELENA POMBO Founder, Fragmentario

12:30 NO COLOUR with SARA HEALY & JESSI HIGHET Farmer, Buckwheat Bridge Angoras / Weaver, Friends of Light

01:00 touch break

02:00 PINK with VALERIE STEELE Director & Chief Curator, The Museum at F.I.T.

02:30 YELLOW with RILEY JOHN DONNEL Creative Director & Co-Founder, UMEWE

03:00 RED with ELENA PHIPPS Lecturer, World Arts & Culture, UCLA & Senior Museum Scholar, Metropolitan Museum of Art

03:30 2019 Dorothy Waxman International Textile Design Prize Finalists & Announcement with Philip Fimmano & Dorothy Waxman presented by Stacey Gerbman from Mohawk Group

04:00 approximate end 

* program subject to minor changes



LIDEWIJ EDELKOORT is one of the world’s most renowned trend forecasters. Li is also a curator, publisher, and educator as a dean at The New School, where she has established a MFA Masters in Textiles (2018). Examining the connection between art, design, fashion and consumer culture, she is a pioneer of the forecasting profession and offers insight to leading brands and textile mills. Li is the recipient of numerous accolades including being inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame in 2017. She is the founder of New York Textile Month and continually strives to promote textile education and awareness.

LIZ COLLINS is an artist who draws from the materials, processes, and techniques of fiber and textile media. Employing a range of materials, she incorporates vivid palettes and dynamic patterning to create work that varies in scale, from the object-based to the immersive and architectural, and straddles the divides between the functional, the decorative, and the expressive. Embracing optics, textures, colour, and dimensionality, Collins recreates her experience of the world as a place of stupendous wonder and cosmic energy. Collins has had solo exhibitions at the Tang Museum, LMAKgallery, BGSQD, and Heller Gallery in New York; AMP in Provincetown, MA; and the Knoxville Museum of Art. Liz received a BFA and MFA in Textiles at RISD in 1991 and 1999.

KEITH RECKER is President and Co-Founder of HAND/EYE. He currently consults in trend and colour forecasting for Pantone and London-based WGSN and has a highly specialized colour consulting practice called Chromosapien. His background is in the design industry, including being the VP of Home Furnishings at Bloomingdale’s Direct and the Director of Folio Home at Saks Fifth Avenue, amongst other endeavours. His new book True Colors is about artists who create colour from natural materials and about the historical importance and environmental sustainability of this practice. Deep conversations with twenty-eight artisans from every part of the globe reveal their wisdom, traditions, and know-how—and suggest that we ignore what they know at our peril. Traditional approaches to making colour offer sustainable options to a fashion system badly in need of them and memorable cultural narratives to a world hungry for beauty and spirituality. True Colors provides an immersive visual experience and an inspiring travelogue of personal stories and practical information from artists who are leaving their mark on the world.

MARÍA ELENA POMBO is the founder of Fragmentario, a research platform that seeks to start conversations about time, culture and collective consciousness. For over 5 years, she has researched natural dyes, with the intention to reimagine them in a modern context by using photography, video, sound, performance and immersive installations. Pombo is based in Brooklyn where she works on self-initiated and commissioned projects. Her work has been shown in the USA, across Europe and Japan and featured by the New York Times and Forbes. She was worked with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the New York Botanical Garden, HBO, BMW/MINI USA, Parsons School of Design, Lululemon and Melissa Shoes. She studied Fashion Design at Parsons School of Design and Engineering in Venezuela and in France. This diverse formation informs her work, which is at the intersection of art and science. With her work, Pombo hopes to inspire others to question and create.

SARA HEALY is the co-owner and farmer of Buckwheat Bridge Angoras: a small, family owned and operated farm located in the mid-Hudson Valley of New York State. The farm raises Angora goats and Cormo sheep. The fibre from these animals is processed on the farm using solar and wind power in a cottage industry size mill. The only animal fibre the farm uses for its products is from its own animals. Buckwheat Bridge practices sustainable agriculture and provide its animals with pastures to graze and the feed used is grown and harvested locally (within 5 miles of our farm).

JESSI HIGHET is a textile artist, soft goods fabricator, and teacher. She studied textiles and clothing design at Parsons. Her personal work is an experiment in tactile and visual meditation and a collaboration with soft materials. Jessi is part of friends of light, a Hudson Valley collective that develops and produces jackets woven to form for each client. They partner with small-scale fibre producers to source our materials, and with spinners to develop our yarns. Each jacket is the expression of the collective knowledge of the people involved in its creation. friends of light’s  business is structured as a worker cooperative and organized around cooperative principles and values. Jessi’s collaborators at friends of light are Mae Colburn, Pascale Gatzen and Nadia Yaron.

VALERIE STEELE is director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she has personally organized more than 25 exhibitions since 1997, including The Corset: Fashioning the Body, Gothic: Dark Glamour, A Queer History of Fashion, Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Color and the currently showing Paris, Capital of 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. Steele combines serious scholarship (and a Yale Ph.D.) with a rare ability to communicate with general audiences. She is author or co-author of more than two dozen books, including Paris Fashion: A Cultural HistoryWomen of Fashion and Fetish: Fashion, Sex and Power. Her books have been translated into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. As author, curator, editor, and public intellectual, Valerie Steele has been instrumental in creating the modern field of fashion studies and in raising awareness of the cultural significance of fashion. Described in The Washington Post as one of fashions brainiest women and by Suzy Menkes as “The Freud of Fashion”, she is listed as one of The People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry in the Business of Fashion 500 (2014-present).

RILEY JOHN DONNEL is an award-winning artist, activist, creative director and (art)reprenuer, who seeks to inspire Optimism and promote radical new forms of positive social change. He worked as a freelance advertising and marketing director for numerous federal organizations and foundations focused on helping urban youth in crisis— through which he developed an interest in the cultural impact of marketing, as well as the social power of style and design. Throughout the early ‘90s Riley was a celebrated art and fashion director (producing marketing strategies and materials for such companies as Bombay Sapphire, Knoll, BCBG, Canon, Jaguar, Levi’s, Birkenstock, Vueve Clicquot and Esprit), while simultaneously working with community support programs for troubled youth. In 1993 he won a California State Senate award for his human rights efforts. Riley owned Surface magazine for 15 years and served as editorial director for nine of those years. Riley retired from Surface and continues to work on innovative art, design and cultural projects through the filter of Optimism and the intention of making a positive impact. 

DR. ELENA PHIPPS (PhD Columbia University, 1989) is an independent scholar and curator. She worked at the Metropolitan Museum of art for over 34 year as Senior Museum Conservator (1977-2010) and as the co-curator and author of the exhibition and catalogue The Colonial Andes: Tapestries and Silverwork 1430-1830. Her recent publications include Cochineal Red: the art history of a colour (2010 Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press) and Looking at Textiles: a technical terminology (2011, Getty Publications).  She was a co-curator of the exhibition The Interwoven Globe: textiles and trade 16th-18th centuries, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2013) and guest curator for the exhibition The Peruvian Four-Selvaged Cloth: ancient threads/ new directions at the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles (2014). Elena is also the past President of the Textile Society of America, (2011-2014). She has been teaching for the Fowler Museum and the WACD department since 2011 and is a Senior Museum Scholar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Earlier Event: June 27
S/S 2021 "Green Wave" Preview