Dec. 23, 2020

Name: Hayden Lees Cubas 

Major: Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice MA ’22

The Pivot: Cubas was disappointed when the pandemic disrupted her internship; then an online version proved just as valuable. And she’s loving FIT’s virtual fitness classes.

I want to ask about your studies, but first: I hear you’re way into FIT’s online gym classes. 

Yes! Initially I was nervous to try the new format, but now I’m a regular. At first I kept my camera off during classes. But eventually I got more comfortable with it; the instructors can support you more that way. Plus the camera acts like a mirror, which feels more like I’m actually back at the gym. And it’s motivating to feel like someone will notice if I don’t show up for my workout.

Cubas says, “My favorite exhibition that I’ve uploaded to FIT’s Digital Image Library [FITDIL] is The Women of Harper’s Bazaar, 1936-1958, organized by FTS students in spring 2016. It was an exploration of the collaborative relationship among Carmel Snow, Diana Vreeland, and Louise Dahl-Wolfe during their time working together at Harper’s Bazaar.Here’s my favorite image from the set. It shows a Claire McCardell wool jersey swimsuit and a Dahl-Wolfe photograph of Betty Bridges modeling the garment in Rio de Janeiro for the May 1946 issue. I saw the photo in a lecture last semester in my History of 20th Century Fashion class. When I came across this installation shot, I was immediately struck by the image — but now, it was accompanied by the garment itself!” (Image credit: The Museum at FIT: The Women of Harper’s Bazaar, 1936–1958 installation view.)

What’s the advantage of virtual? 

My gym reopened, but I’m not comfortable going back yet. Instead I’m doing FIT’s Sculpt & Burn, yoga, and Pilates classes at home. The Athletics department is also sponsoring a virtual fitness challenge with prizes this month. It’s a daily survey that asks about your health habits (mental and physical) so you can try to improve them. There’s a box you can check if you’re struggling with something, and they’ll respond with helpful tips. I’ve noticed working out helps alleviate pain and stress from working at my computer all day and lifts my spirits.

Do you need any special equipment?

No, the instructors plan the class so you won’t need any. You just use your body weight. It’s very accessible.

You planned your collections management internship before the pandemic. What happened?

I always thought I’d be doing my internship on-site, so when COVID hit, I was devastated. But now I have a remote internship with FIT’s Digital Image Library. I’m cataloging and adding metadata to images from the annual exhibitions by the Fashion and Textile Studies program, so I’m particularly invested in the content. My supervisor and I chat on Slack, and we meet virtually. If I was at the FITDIL office doing this, I’d be working on a computer there, so it’s translated well.

How do you plan to use this training? 

The goal is to work in a museum or private collection, helping to evaluate which objects can be shown safely, and designing storage and display solutions using archival techniques. Collection managers are advocates for objects.