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Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts

Uncommon Threads Symposium to Offer ‘Fashion & Footwear’

12th Installment of Popular Event
Coming to Campus March 2-3  

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology and the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts present Uncommon Threads: Fashion & Footwear, the annual textiles symposium, March 2-3.

Now in its 12th year, Uncommon Threads is offered to the community as part of Florida Tech’s focus on the textile arts. Featuring lectures and talks from renowned scholars and industry insiders, the event allows arts patrons to expand their understanding and appreciation of textile scholarship.

For 2017, Uncommon Threads will host Elizabeth Semmelhack, senior curator of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, home to 13,000 artifacts spanning 4,500 years of footwear history.

Recently named by Fashion magazine as one of five “game-changing fashion curators,” Semmelhack’s research focuses on the construction of gender in relation to dress with a particular interest in the history of footwear. Most recently she curated Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels (2015) and the blockbuster traveling exhibition The Rise of Sneaker Culture (2013) under the auspices of the American Federation of the Arts.

Semmelhack will present a free public lecture, “Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 2, in the Gleason Performing Arts Center on the Florida Tech campus. This illustrated talk explores the fascinating history of the sneaker from the nineteenth century to the present and considers the cultural impact of sneakers in America.

Reservations are not required for this free lecture. Parking is available.

At 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 3, Semmelhack will present, “To the Point: The Short History of the High Heel,” followed by a champagne reception, three-course luncheon and an artisan showcase highlighting local artists featured in the Ruth Funk Center’s gift shop. This event is in the Hartley Room of the Denius Student Center on the Florida Tech campus. Tickets, with limited availability, are $75 per person. Valet parking will be available. Presenting sponsor for the event is Nita Grisham. Rita Moreno serves as honorary chair.

Semmelhack has been featured in articles and interviews in many publications, including The New York Times, Vogue, Elle, InStyle, W Magazine, Forbes,, The New Yorker and GQ. She has authored a number of books, catalogs and academic articles including Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels (2015), Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture (2015), and Heights of Fashion: A History of the Elevated Shoe (2008). Her forthcoming book, Shoes: The Meaning of Style from Reaktion Press, will be released in the fall.

For more information or to make luncheon reservations, contact the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at 321-674‐8313 or


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