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Staying Connected: Fashion history from home

Fashion exhibition
Fashion exhibition
‘The World of Anna Sui’ exhibition, from the Fashion and Textiles Museum’s blog
Written by
Leah Gouget-Levy
Published date
10 September 2020

LCF's Archives and Curatorial Assistant, Leah Gouget-Levy, has put together a list of archival collections, exhibitions, short videos and podcasts for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own screen.

Although museums, archives and libraries may remain closed for the time being, there are still plenty of ways to access and learn about fashion history. I’m really happy to share with you here some of the online resources that I have been enjoying during lockdown.

Fashion Collections and Exhibitions

Fashion and dress collections around the world have been adapting the way they work and the resources and services that they offer. It’s a great opportunity to explore some of their online offerings and there is a wealth of material out there – if only you know where to look! A few of my highlights include:

The Museum at FIT

The Museum at FIT have created a handy ‘Stay Connected’ page where you can easily browse a list of digital resources including online exhibitions, talks on YouTube and their collections. You can visit ‘Power Mode: The Force of Fashion’ or, for a limited time only, their 2016 exhibition ‘Black Fashion Designers’.

Westminster Menswear Archive

The Westminster Menswear Archive has an eclectic collection of menswear garments from the past century, from a German military parker to a Maison Margiela trench coat. You can search for these here, or follow the Archive on Instagram, where they regularly post items from their collection.

Fashion and Textiles Museum

While they have been shut, the Fashion and Textiles Museum have been busy on their blog, delving into their exhibition archives, and sharing tutorials and interviews with creatives. Read about ‘The World of Anna Sui’ or learn how to dye fabrics using nettle.

Fashion History Videos

Something that I have really enjoyed during lockdown has been watching short fashion history video series. A number of these have popped up over the last few months and they provide great introductions to new subjects. For example:

The Museum of London’s Fashion Alphabet series is a fun way to discover their collection and learn about the history of particular objects, beginning with ‘A for Hardy Amies’.

Kate Strasdin is a Senior Lecturer in the History and Theory of Fashion at Falmouth University, and her Instagram TV series gives a fascinating insight into her research, including into the wardrobe of Queen Alexandra.

Dress historian and vintage fashion aficionado, Amber Butchart, provides an entertaining exploration of dress history through her own wardrobe in her Instagram TV series, ‘Dirty Laundry’. In previous episodes she has discussed the history of house coats and stripes.

Fashion History Podcasts

I have also found podcasts to be a great way to keep engaged. Bande à part, the weekly podcast from Rebecca Arnold (Courtauld Institute of Art) and Beatrice Behlen (Museum of London), covers a whole range of fashion-related topics. The friends discuss films, exhibitions and books through the lens of dress.

In the Museum at FIT’s Fashion Culture podcast, museum staff explore new perspectives on the histories and cultures of fashion, including the relationship between ballet and fashion, and the cult of the designer.

Fashion Culture Podcast 

And of course, I could hardly talk about podcasts without mentioning LCF’s Sartorial Stories, hosted by Susanna Cordner who interviews industry figures about their relationship with fashion in their careers and personal lives. Recent guests include Nabil El Nayal and Funmi Fetto.

While there’s loads more out there to be discovered, I hope that this selection provides some useful and fun ways to keep connected and inspired.