The First Fashion Exhibition on Staten Island – Staten Island Mode: Identity, Memory, Fashion – Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art at Snug Harbor, on view July 29 – December 31, 2023

July 12, 2023 | Staten Island, NY –  Staten Island Mode: Identity, Memory, Fashion, the first major contemporary fashion exhibition on Staten Island, is opening on July 29, 2023 at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art in Building C at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden. Visitors can learn more about this exhibition at

Staten Island Mode is a community-driven exploration of what people wear and why in relation to personal and local identity. The exhibition is a visual and material manifestation of memories and experiences of Staten Island collected and commissioned by guest curators Jenna Rossi-Camus and Alexis Romano, fashion researchers who grew up on Staten Island.

“We are thrilled to open Staten Island Mode at the Newhouse Center. Not only is it the first major fashion exhibition on Staten Island, it centers unique stories and objects of the community,” said Melissa West, Director & Senior Curator, Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art. “This project perfectly embodies Snug Harbor’s vision to be an incubator for bold and innovative art through residencies, exhibitions, and public programming. We invite visitors to explore the exhibition while contemplating their own relationships to fashion, history, and local culture.”

In a series of thematic installations of garments and photography, Staten Island Mode highlights dress as central to modes of being and practices of self-fashioning. The exhibition is not only a showcase of the variety and diversity of the dressed identities of Staten Islanders but also the outcome of a curatorial experiment whereby a series of open calls for participation generated an archive of the unexpected that inherently addresses broader questions about what it means to be a Staten Islander and how perceptions and lived realities differ.

The exhibition unfolds over four rooms that adopt different approaches to collecting and interpreting dress – honoring individual stories as well as the presence of fashion design and retailing on Staten Island. The different spaces invite visitors to consider the role that dress plays in their own lives and to reflect on the ways in which clothing is valuable in our closets, in our memories, and in spaces devoted to the display of art and design.

“The possibility of devising and executing a fashion exhibition as a tribute to my hometown has long been a personal and professional goal for me. The Staten Island Mode exhibition has provided me with the opportunity to reflect on my own relationship to the borough and its spaces, communities and styles. With the hindsight of nearly 20 years living abroad, the experience has been a sort of homecoming as well as a sartorial love letter to the place that engineered my interests in art, story-telling and fashion.” – Jenna Rossi-Camus, Co-Curator

“A Wu Wear T-shirt, a handmade hat, a prom dress, garments passed down from family members, and one’s personal photographs that capture memories of dress and place… in privileging and displaying these textures of life, Staten Island Mode challenges hierarchical narratives of what fashion is, and argues that everyday dressers are authors of fashion. People (who we’ve had the real pleasure to meet and work alongside) are at the heart of this exhibition, and that’s a powerful idea for fashion curation.” – Alexis Romano, Co-Curator

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog and a dynamic series of public events throughout its run from July 29 to December 31, 2023, including:

August 10, 7:00 PM – A History of Modern American Dress

Join fashion historian and cultural curator Fiona Tedds for a visual and material exploration of modern American dress, in cultural contexts, from the turn of the 20th century to Y2K. Fiona’s lecture will include an object viewing from her historical fashion collection before audience Q&A and discussion.

August 17, 7:00 PM – Old Fashioned Tasting

Join the SI Mode creative team for a drink tasting at the legendary Old Fashioned Bar at Sally’s Southern. We’ll sip and chat fashion in all our finery. Dress code encouraged: come wearing your interpretation of “Old Fashioned” clothing, whether that be your favorite vintage look, or last season’s hand-me-downs!

More information and events at

About the Curators

Alexis Romano is a writer, curator and lecturer of fashion studies, design history and visual culture. Her work explores 20th-century fashion and photography, women’s history and everyday, subjective aspects of dress. She is a faculty member at Parsons School of Design, as well as US Editor of WeAr Global Magazine and a co-founder of the Fashion Research Network. Her book Prêt-à-Porter, Paris and Women: A Cultural Study of French Readymade Dress, 1945-1968 was published by Bloomsbury in 2022, and she contributes regularly to fashion, arts and culture publications including Vestoj, Domus, and Disegno. She held a 2020-21 postdoctoral fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, and earned her PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.

Jenna Rossi-Camus is fashion curator, historian and artist from Travis, Staten Island; currently based in Margate, UK. She is an associate lecturer at University of the Arts London, where she teaches fashion history, theory and curation. She holds an MA and PhD from UAL London College of Fashion, where her practice-based doctoral research explored site-responsive exhibition-making as a strategy for the display of dress in historic buildings. Rossi-Camus has curated exhibitions including T-Shirt: Cult, Culture and Subversion (Fashion & Textile Museum London, 2018), Fashion & Freedom (Manchester Art Gallery, 2016) and Women, Fashion, Power (Design Museum London, 2014). Prior to pursuing curatorial work, she worked as a theatrical costume designer, vintage textile archivist and prop stylist for fashion advertising.

Jenna and Alexis both grew up on Staten Island but did not meet until 2011 while studying fashion history in the UK. A chance conversation in a London pub led them to discover their common origin and to begin to imagine the exhibition that would become Staten Island Mode.

Exhibition on view: July 29-December 31, 2023
Gallery Hours: Friday – Saturday: 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM | Sunday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art – Main Hall Gallery in Building C
Admission: $5 | Student/Senior: $4 | Snug Harbor Member: Free

Opening Day: July 29, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Opening Day Admission: Pay what you wish! $5-15 suggested | OPENING DAY TICKETS HERE

Staten Island Mode: Identity, Memory, Fashion is made possible through generous support from the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Staten Island Mode: Identity, Memory, Fashion is made possible by a DCLA Art Fund Grant from Staten Island Arts, with public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Staten Island Mode workshops for research and development (2022) were supported by a DCAPremier grant from Staten Island Arts, with public support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and NYSCA Future Culture Creative Placemaking Grant, and Humanities New York Vision/Action Grant. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this exhibition and website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art at Snug Harbor

The Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art is Staten Island’s leading incubator for bold and innovative art. Through exhibitions, residencies, performances, public art, and related public programming, we activate historical, architectural, and environmental connections throughout Snug Harbor’s 83-acre cultural campus in conversation with our contemporary culture. The Newhouse Center encompasses 15,000 square feet of space including the Main Hall Gallery, the oldest landmarked building on campus. The Newhouse Center promotes inquiry and advances scholarship through contemporary art subjects. The Newhouse Center was the flagship program when Snug Harbor opened as a cultural institution in 1977, and has served as a vibrant space for creativity, connection, and community for over 45 years.

Snug Harbor arts programming is made possible through generous support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, Humanities New York, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Con Edison – Arts al Fresco, Dance/NYC Rehearsal Space Subsidy, Howard Gilman Foundation and the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation.

About Snug Harbor

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is where art, history and nature converge. We offer dynamic programming in the arts, horticulture and agriculture for diverse communities and all ages, on our historic 83-acre campus. We envision being a locally impactful, globally renowned destination, true to our values of artistic vibrancy and community, inclusion and discovery, stewardship and conservation.

Snug Harbor is the result of more than four decades of restoration and development to convert a 19th-century charitable rest home for sailors into a regional arts center, botanical gardens and public park.  One of the largest ongoing adaptive reuse projects in America, Snug Harbor encompasses 26 historic structures, 14 botanical gardens, a 2.5-acre urban farm, wetlands, forests and park land on a free, open campus.  Snug Harbor is a proud Smithsonian Affiliate organization. Learn more at

All press releases can be found at

Additional photos available upon request.