Costume & Textile Digital Libraries

Costume Research


Let’s start! 

  • Fashion and Costume Design Research in the UCLA Library

This one is a one stop website for a FULL list of the best of listed image and reference digital collection to use.

‘Welcome to the UCLA Library guide for researching fashion and costume design topics. This guide is intended as a starting place for researchers, pointing to tools, resources, and strategies for finding information related to fashion and costume design’. cited from website.

  • Digital Collections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries

Texts and images from the collections of the Costume Institute and the Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  • Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collection

‘Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collections is an online database that provides public access to digitized materials from the collections of the Margaret Herrick Library.  Currently, the database contains more than 6,500 items, including correspondence, photographs, early release fliers, full issues of rare periodicals, sheet music, lobby cards and movie star ephemera.  The database also includes complete copies of more than 450 Academy publications, dating back to the founding of the organization in 1927’. Cited from there website.

  • Worcester Art Museum

‘Artstor and the Worcester Art Museum are collaborating to release more than 20,000 images of artworks from the Museum’s permanent collection in the Digital Library. Founded in 1898, the Worcester Art Museum (WAM) is world-renowned for its 38,000-piece encyclopedic collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, prints, drawings, arms and armor, and new media. The works span over 5,000 years of art and culture. In addition to the Roman mosaic-laden Renaissance court and French chapter house, strengths of the permanent collection include collections of European and North American painting, prints, photographs, and drawings; Asian art; Greek and Roman sculpture and mosaics; and contemporary art. With its recent acquisition of the collection from the Higgins Armory Museum, WAM continues to diversify and expand its curatorial and programmatic offerings’. Cited from Artstors website

  • NYPL Digital Collections

‘Explore 691,450 items digitized from The New York Public Library‘s collections.This site is a living database with new materials added every day, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more’.Cited from there website

Free, online access to unique images, documents, & more. Topic Showgirls!

‘The Motley Collection of Theatre and Costume Design is a valuable source of documentation on the history of theatre and is housed in the Rare Book and Special Collections Library. It is a rare collection of original materials on the theatre comprising over 5000 items from more than 150 productions in England and the United States. These materials include costume and set designs, sketches, notes, photographs, prop lists, storyboards, and swatches of fabric. Cited from there website’. Cited from there website

  • Marquise – La Couturière Parisienne

Fabulous website full of resources and link.

  • The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

‘The department houses more than twenty thousand objects, representing more than one hundred cultures and two thousand years of human creativity in the textile arts. Particularly well represented are European Renaissance and European and American textiles, accessories and fashionable dress. The department has outstanding collections of Islamic, South and Southeast Asian, and Asian material, including two major Iranian sixteenth-century carpets—the Ardabil and the Coronation. Play a children’s game connected to Fashioning Fashion .’ Cited from there website.

  • Phoenix Art Museum

‘Feast your eyes on a collection comprised of more than 4,500 American and European garments, shoes and accessories. It houses important fashions from the 18th to late 20th centuries and emphasizes major American designers of the 20th century including Adrian, Norell, Galanos, and Claire McCardell; and European Designers such as Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent. Exhibitions that focus on clothing both as an art form and cultural phenomenon are rotated regularly, underscoring the significance of fashion as it relates to social and economic history. The Astaire Library of Costumes (included in the Museum’s Art Research Library) houses many rare books and prints relating to costume and textiles’. Cited from website.

  • Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology

It a know brainer, use it!

  • Les Arts Décoratifs

‘Les Arts Décoratifs is a private organization governed by the law of 1901 on not-for-profit associations and recognized as being in the public interest. It originated in 1882, in the wake of the Universal Exhibitions, when a group of collectors banded together with the idea of promoting the applied arts and developing links between industry and culture, design and production. For many years it was known as the Union centrale des Arts décoratifs (UCAD), but in December 2004 it changed its name to Les Arts Decoratifs while staying true to its original aims of safeguarding the collections, promoting culture, providing art education and professional training, and supporting design. An original, multi-faceted institution, Les Arts Décoratifs pursues the objectives it was given at the outset: “to keep alive in France the culture of the arts which seek to make useful things beautiful” and to maintain close links with industry, forging numerous partnerships with firms operating in various fields’. Cited from there website

  • ULITA – an Archive of International Textiles

‘ULITA – an Archive of International Textiles (formerly the University of Leeds International Textiles Archive) is housed in St Wilfred’s Chapel on the Western Campus of the University of Leeds. The purpose of the archive is to collect, preserve and document textiles and related items from many of the textile producing areas of the world for the benefit of scholars, researchers and the general public. ULITA is primarily a textiles archive, where items can be consulted by individuals and small groups by making an appointment.  An online catalogue can be viewed to see the major collections’. Cited from there website.

  • Internet Archive

‘Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more’. cited from website.

  • The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection

‘The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection contains approximately 13,000 objects. You can view over 9,000 of these objects online by searching the University’s Digital Collection. Objects in the collection span the globe and centuries, from archaeological textiles from South America to contemporary Scandinavian furnishing fabrics, from America’s crazy quilts to African masquerade costumes.’ Cited from webpage.



Hope these help in whatever you are researching into? As a note, once you open a main links to some. A host of other sources will open for you. Have fun and enjoy your research it is addictive.