Darnell-Jamal Lisby


Assistant Curator of Fashion

Darnell-Jamal Lisby joined the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2021. As the museum’s fashion curator, he develops projects rooted in fashion studies that connect with the institution’s comprehensive art collection. As a fashion historian, Lisby has a thorough understanding of the global history of fashion dating back to the 1300s. Notably, he has sought opportunities throughout his career to raise awareness around the intersection of Blackness and fashion studies from the 1800s to the present. Thus far at the CMA, he’s helped organize the museum’s iteration of The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion and curated the exhibitions Egyptomania: Fashion’s Conflicted Obsession and Korean Couture: Generations of Revolution. 


Lisby holds degrees from the Fashion Institute of Technology, including an MA in fashion and textiles studies: history, theory, and museum practice and a BS in art history and museum professions. Before coming to Cleveland, he worked at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, as the sole fashion historian on the curatorial team for the Willi Smith: Street Couture exhibition and as an education coordinator for advanced audiences organizing programming, including the museum’s first virtual—and best attended—symposium, “Fashion, Culture, Futures: African American Ingenuity, Activism, and Storytelling.” Before Cooper Hewitt, Lisby worked at an array of institutions in New York City, including the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 


He also taught in the Fashion Institute of Technology master’s program in fashion design, fortifying emerging designers with the historical knowledge they require to pursue fruitful careers. He has published extensively in academic and mainstream platforms, including the Fashion and Race DatabaseCultured Magazine, The Fashion Studies Journal, and Teen Vogue.