ART-CHERIE: Inspiration from online archives

Clothing and textile archives are fascinating places. Although, as a fashion historian, you might expect me to visit archives as part of my research, they’re also very useful places for designers to look for inspiration. Even more so now that many museums have extensive online catalogues with images, available from anywhere in the world! But it’s not always easy to know how to make best use out of these resources; when faced with a massive online archive and an empty sketchpad, where do you even begin?

For the last two years, researchers at London College of Fashion (UAL) have been working with institutions in Belgium, Italy and Greece on a project called ART-CHERIE which ‘aims to promote and explore the use of digital fashion archives and heritage by shaping vocational training and developing e-curricula to train EU fashion designers to work with online archives to improve their designs.’ The first two units of this online learning tool are now complete, and they will be launched and demonstrated at a lecture afternoon in central London next month.

“These units will help designers to explore and use digital archives effectively and creatively in their design process. Both units illustrate how to access digitized collections for inspiration, and gaining skills for technical know-how and historical information.”

The Underpinnings Museum was asked to be a part of this lecture afternoon and so I shall be going along to explain how (and why) we created an online museum dedicated to the history of underwear. In addition to my presentation, there will be an introduction to the ART-CHERIE research project, a talk on the heritage of the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, and a pilot testing of the womenswear and embroidery online units. If you’re at all interested in fashion/textile design, online archives or dress history, I do hope you can come along!

The ART-CHERIE lecture afternoon is taking place on Thursday 13th December 2018, 3.00-6.00pm, at London College of Fashion, 20 John Prince’s Street, London W1G 0BJ. You can reserve a free ticket via Eventbrite.