Why We Collect

September 8, 2023

Mellány Sánchez, curator of the installation Objects of Permanence, is joined by Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Jessica Gonsalves, co-owner of Lower East Side vintage store Procell, and Kathryn Lloyd, Vice President, Programs & Interpretation at the Tenement Museum for a discussion about how and why we form collections, and the role of garments in community storytelling.

Co-presented with the Tenement Museum.

You may view the panel discussion in its entirety here: Why We Collect?

Image by Sarah Mechling


About Mellány Sánchez

Mellány Sánchez is a creative director from the borderlines of Queens and Brooklyn. Studied and passionate about the history of her city, community, and their futures, she works to honor these legacies through her ongoing mixed- and multi-media curatorial hero research project Aquí Me Quedo. She has also worked in wardrobe styling, brand direction and consulting. Sánchez received her Bachelor of Science from New York University in Media Culture and Communications.

About Valerie Steele

Valerie Steele is director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology where she has organized more than 25 exhibitions since 1997. She is the author of more than 30 books and is the founder and editor in chief of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, the first scholarly journal in Fashion Studies. As author, curator, editor, and public intellectual, Steele has been instrumental in creating the modern field of fashion studies and in raising awareness of the cultural significance of fashion. She was listed as one of “The People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry” in the Business of Fashion 500.

About Procell

Procell is a destination boutique in the Bowery neighborhood of downtown Manhattan that carries a unique mix of vintage streetwear, sportswear and designer ready to wear. For over a decade, its founders Brian Procell and Jessica Gonsalves have professionally sourced vintage reference and inspiration for many of the industry's top fashion designers and brands.

About Kathryn Lloyd

Kathryn Lloyd is the Vice President of Programs and Interpretation at the Tenement Museum, where she develops museum programming and educator training to explore social issues through personal experiences, and to connect people to each other through interpretation of the past. Most recently, she led the project team that developed the museum’s newest tour, Reclaiming Black Spaces, and collaborated on the launch of the museum’s virtual program initiative. Prior to joining the Tenement Museum, she worked in Education at the Brooklyn Historical Society and taught English as a Second Language

About The Tenement Museum

The Tenement Museum tells the stories of working-class tenement residents who moved to New York City from other countries and other parts of the country between the 1860s and the 1980s. While textbooks often overlook the stories of ordinary people, Tenement Museum tours immerse visitors in the tenement hallways, kitchens, and parlors where families carved out new lives. Visitors can view restored apartments from the 19th and 20th centuries and walk the historic neighborhood to learn the stories of generations of immigrants and migrants who helped shape the American experience. The museum is available by guided tour only. Each tour focuses on a specific theme and takes visitors to different areas of our two historic tenement buildings or neighborhood. The Museum also offers public programs, curricula, and a digital crowdsourced exhibit, Your Story Our Story to continue the conversation, using our stories as points of departure to connect the past to present.