SPARC Digital – FIT’s Special Collections and College Archives Digital Platform

SPARC Digital is a platform created by FIT’s Special Collections and College Archives (SPARC) to showcase their rare and unique materials in digital form.

Fashion plate from Les Idées Nouvelles, 1927
Screen shot of SPARC Digital Record for Fashion plate from Les Idées Nouvelles, 1927

Featuring images from dozens of collections comprised of original fashion sketches, photographs, illustrations, and historic fashion plates, it includes examples of women’s wear, menswear, children’s wear, millinery, footwear, jewelry, and costume created between the 18th and 20th centuries. Significant collections include the Bergdorf Goodman archives, Frances Neady Collection of Original Fashion Illustrations, Halston Hats sketches, Jerry Miller Shoe designs, Joseph Love Children’s Wear sketches, Helena Rubinstein Foundation photographs, and many more.

One of the more exciting features of SPARC Digital is the ability to search and browse the collection by color. Faceted searching is also available, allowing users to drill down into their search, narrowing the results by medium, subject, format, creator, and collection

With the goal of making the collections more accessible online, SPARC is continually adding content and will be prioritizing material that is in the public domain to encourage our users to creatively re-use our collections. Where possible, SPARC has reviewed material and has included a rights statement in the metadata associated with each item. This rights statement indicates whether a researcher may or may not reuse an item and the permission needed to do so.

Cornell University Library Acquires the Recently Closed American Textile History Museum Collection

“A massive collection documenting the U.S. textile industry is set to become one of Cornell University Library’s largest acquisitions ever. The collection, from the Osborne Library at the recently closed American Textile History Museum (ATHM), is expected to fill eight or nine tractor-trailers when it arrives in Ithaca this spring. It comprises around 90,000 books, periodicals, manuscript collections, photographs, textile sample books, tintypes, glass plate negatives and trade catalogs that tell the story of the textile industry in New England and across the country.”

Read more about this here.

Link to Cornell University Library website here.

Symposium: Dressing New York: Identity and Experience 5/13, 12-6pm NYC

Students in the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Fashion and Textile Studies Master of Arts program have organized a daylong symposium that takes place on Saturday, May 13, 2017 from noon-6 p.m. Details below, hope to see you there!

FIT FTS 2017 Symposium jpg



The Annual Research Symposium of the Fashion and Textiles: History, Theory, Museum Practice Program at FIT’s School of Graduate Studies

A commercial and cultural capital, New York is the center of the American fashion industry, home of fashion innovators in design, production, and retail. Creators of both luxurious custom clothing and ready-to-wear sportswear have found a place in New York, as have the retailers who marketed and sold these items and the journalists who authored the fashion news for the American public. Yet the New York dress experience goes beyond the industry, encompassing a diversity of expressions of individuals and subcultures, all drawn to the energy of this place of extremes.

In this symposium, students in FIT’s MA program in Fashion and Textile Studies will present papers on a range of topics, investigating New York dress in the 19th and 20th centuries. From issues of gender and dress reform to design milestones and triumphs of the mainstream fashion system, New Yorkers reimagine and reinvent themselves through dress.

The Fashion Institute of Technology hosts Second Annual Int’l Women’s Day Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

women_and_tech_011317The Gladys Marcus Library is proud to be hosting FIT’s Second Annual International Women’s Day Wikipedia Edit-a-thon as a MOMA Art+Feminism satellite event. Unlike last year’s event, which was limited to the FIT Community by dictates of an internal grant, this event is open to all. There are two ways to participate:

  • Come to Gladys Marcus Library between 11 and 5 on March 8th, 2017 (guest list entry required for non-FIT folks)
  • Contribute remotely and log your updates/creations on our Wikipedia Meetup page

Either way, we ask you to RSVP via our Facebook Event page. If you are a seasoned Wikipedian, you can also sign in under the Attendees section of the Wikipedia Meetup page.

Here are some good reasons to participate:

  • Wikipedia needs more diversity of editors for a better balance of article topics, including in the areas of fashion, textiles, the apparel industry, communication design, and women of note in general.
  • Fashion, costume and textile coverage in Wikipedia is is highly uneven and needs more input from professionals and scholars in the field.

For examples of articles that need updating and creating, please see the Suggested Pages to Edit section of our Wikipedia Meetup page. And if you have suggestion of pages that need work, please post them here.

If you have any question please feel free to e-mail me, Helen Lane, at

ICYMI: DH Project “Introducing American Fashion”

“Several librarians at UCLA and at least one from Yale University helped UCLA Prof. Miriam Posners’ undergraduate Digital Humanities students with research related to their projects this quarter. The projects are now live and gathered together at: Take a look: many are arts related and each project is so impressive!”*

Below is a link to a fashion project:

Introducing American Fashion: Examining the Development and Commodification of Style in America


*(Posted by Janine J. Henri, Architecture, Design, and Digital Services Librarian at the UCLA Arts Library to the ARLIS listserv)

Must See: Fall Exhibitions

There are several must see exhibitions this fall and I wanted to share a few with the group. These are listed in order by the date in which they end.


Man Mode: Dressing the Male Ego

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Museum

August 2, 2016 to December 23, 2016

Ego! It comes across loud and clear through a man’s wardrobe. Boldness and confidence translate into strong silhouettes, dominant colors, and militant embellishment. Victorian aesthetes were impeccably tailored, showcasing mastery of sartorial connoisseurship. The educated gent’s prowess for art and sportsmanship were revealed through his neckwear and shoes: Ascot or bow tie today? Wing-tips or spectators? Embracing innovation–cutting-edge textiles and space-age silhouettes–meant a mid-century man could inhabit out-of-this world concepts. Modern hipsters pair straight-off-the-runway fast fashion with vintage or eco couture to express a calculated interest in fashion. From the bedroom to the ballroom and the office to the outfield–male egos demand attention! ManMode: Dressing the Male Ego presents three centuries of menswear from the FIDM Museum collection.

(Photo and exhibition details:


Gold and the Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

July 19, 2014 to January 8, 2017

This dazzling exhibition focuses on the Museum’s world-class collection of jewelry from Ancient Nubia (located in what is now Sudan). The Nubian adornments housed at the MFA constitute the most comprehensive collection outside Khartoum. As the conduit between the Mediterranean world and lands south of the Nile Valley, Nubia was known for its exotic luxury goods—especially gold. “Gold and the Gods” focuses on excavated ornaments from an early 20th-century expedition by the Museum with Harvard University, dating from 1700 BC to 300 AD, including both uniquely Nubian and foreign imports, prized for their materials, craftsmanship, symbolism, and rarity. “Gold and the Gods” includes more than one hundred treasures, including a gilt-silver mummy mask of Queen Malakaye and the famous Hathor-headed crystal pendant. The MFA is the only US museum able to mount an exhibition devoted solely to Nubian adornment drawing exclusively on its own collection.

(Photo and exhibition details:


Whirling Return of the Ancestors: Egúngún Masquerade Ensembles of the Yorùbá

Rhode Island School of Design Museum

July 15, 2016 to January 8, 2017

Whirling Return of the Ancestors celebrates the rich and varied artistry of the ensembles worn in Egúngún masquerades—performances that celebrate the power and presence of ancestral spirits among Yorùbá peoples of West Africa. In this installation, works on loan from Brown University’s Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology are presented alongside a magnificent, newly commissioned ensemble from Yorùbá artisans in Benin.

Crochet Coral Reef: TOXIC SEAS

Museum of Arts and Design

September 15, 2016 to January 22, 2017

Crochet Coral Reef: TOXIC SEAS celebrates the tenth anniversary of the “Crochet Coral Reef” (2005–present), an ongoing project by sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim and their Los Angeles–based organization, the Institute For Figuring. Mixing crocheted yarn with plastic trash, the work fuses mathematics, marine biology, feminist art practices, and craft to produce large-scale coralline landscapes, both beautiful and blighted. At once figurative, collaborative, worldly, and dispersed, the “Crochet Coral Reef” offers a tender response to the dual calamities facing marine life: climate change and plastic trash.

(Photo and exhibition details:


The Secret Life of Textiles: Animal Fibers

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

August 15, 2016 to February 20, 2017

The second in the Secret Life of Textiles exhibition series, this installation features works of art made from the most important animal fibers—wool, hair, silk, and feathers—by numerous cultures throughout history and in different regions of the world. The objects on view include fibers from sheep, camelids, goats, yaks, horses, cows, and other small animals; silk filament from cultivated or wild silk worms; and feathers.

The exhibition includes a rich selection of reference materials reflecting the transformation of animal fibers through the use of technology. It also reveals the expertise of conservators in fiber identification using advance microscopy.

(Photo and exhibition details:

MoMA Releases Free Online Archive

The MoMA recently announced that they have released a free online archive that goes back to their first exhibit in 1929. The archive includes over 3,500 exhibits and over 30,000 exhibition images.

In addition to the new archive, the museum also has over 70,000 pieces of art available to view online for free.

You can view the new archive here.

You can view the individual pieces online here.