Digitisation for the World’s libraries has been well underway for some years now, preserving the content of materials such as books, newspapers, microfilm and videotapes. Digitisation of such a wealth of information, imagery, video and historical resources means we can easily access archives from some of the most prestigious museums, newspapers, retailers and magazines in the World. As a bit of a vintage and tech nut i’m constantly researching such archives, whiling away the hours gathering fashion and photography inspiration. With this weeks launch of vintagefashionandart.com I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a few of my all time favourite digital archives. Here’s a look at a few Vintage Fashion Online Archive Resources…
Vintage Fashion & Art: A brand new website that boasts an extensive fusion of history and couture launched this week with a wealth of beautiful, designer vintage fashion exhibits from museum collections around the world.
You can now log on to vintagefashionandart.com to see the site’s extensive catalogue of designer dresses, fashion illustration and photography from museums around the world, including London’s V&A. The site promises to be regularly updated to keep the collections current and make the site an invaluable source of fashion history and knowledge as it brings information from a multitude of sources together for easily accessible reference.
Fashion students looking for inspiration from the early beginnings of modern fashion and bloggers alike will find an assortment of breathtaking pictures and museum archival detail.
Wanda Pepin, founder of the site, says: “I have loved fashion for as long as I can remember and became interested in fashion illustration as a way to express my own art and creativity. While researching the history of fashion and designers, I discovered that it was difficult to find articles and images as they were dispersed all over the internet. So, I decided to fill the gap in the market and have spent the last year researching, curating and designing the site.”
The site provides several ways to donate to museums to aid in preserving, collecting and exhibiting vintage fashion items. Vintagefashionandart.com also features a carefully selected array of vintage dresses for sale. The company has invited other quality reputable vintage collectors to sell on the site, giving vintage fashion collectors and vendors a central point from where they can research, sell, enjoy and collect fashion items. Visit Vintage Fashion & Art
Life Magazine & Google: LIFE Magazine is an American magazine that from 1883 to 1936 was published as a humour and general interest magazine. Over the years LIFE Magazine created an impressive variety of photography covering everything from fashion to politics. In 2008 LIFE Magazine teamed up with Google to create a digital photo gallery sorted by subject/ date, the archive is super easy to search and provides an endless source of inspiration from some of the World’s best photographers. Many images in this archive were never published in the magazine. Visit Life + Google
My Vintage Vogue: My Vintage Vogue began life as a personal flikr account with it’s creator personally scanning in images from her collection of old Vogue magazines, as the account grew in popularity so the website was born. You can browse an archive/library devoted to popular fashion from the 1920’s through the 1960’s with some of the most beautifully fashion photography of recent history. Visit My Vintage Vogue
Kays Catalogue Archive: World of Kays views 20th century social history through the prism of the catalogues of Worcester’s prestigious mail-order company, Kays & Co Ltd. At the heart of the World of Kays website is a database of 1500 high quality copies of images from the catalogues. You can view advertisements, products and illustrations which featured in the catalogue throughout it’s history. From the launch of the earliest ‘ready to wear’ clothing range in 1920, to the turn of the century in 2000, Kays’ catalogues demonstrate the growth of leisure time amongst the working classes, the increasing commercialisation of childhood and family life, the influence of ‘street style’ on the high street. They also provide a fascinating insight into the gender roles of the day. Visit Kays Catalogue
We’re living in an exciting age, the digital revolution is upon us! never before has it been so easy to access such a wealth of information. For researchers and students these archives will act as reliable point of reference. So, wether your bored on your lunch break, studying fashion, have your own clothing line or just like looking at pretty pictures, there’s such an array of inspiration held in these digital archives. Have a browse and let me know what you think, which is your favourite? are you happy about the introduction of digital archives or do you think they will detract from the joy and discovery of real immersive primary research?
‘History never looks like history when you are living through it’ -John W. Gardner