The European Fashion Heritage Association has been established in 2014, following a successful project co-funded by the European Commission, in which for the first time both public and private archives and museums across Europe gathered together to share online their rich heritage of historical clothing and accessories, contemporary designs, catwalk photographs, drawings, sketches, magazines, catalogues and videos.
Since then, the Association has grown attracting more than 50 European fashion institutions, from small private museums to large national institutions, coming from 15 European countries, united in the objective to unlock and give free access to the unique and vast fashion heritage of Europe. We believe that this growing network we have created will strengthen our European identity and unlock the full potential of our shared fashion heritage for creatives, scholars and fashion lovers alike.
The Association has now become an international hub, in which fashion GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums), brands, researchers and creatives can share experiences and best practices in the field of digitisation, open access, co-creation, reuse and valorisation of fashion heritage resources, contributing to the digital transformation in the sector and supporting the preservation and valorisation of tangible and intangible heritage connected to textile and fashion.
The Association operates also in the broader landscape of the European digital cultural heritage, contributing as the fashion thematic aggregator to Europeana, Europe’s platform for cultural heritage funded by the European Commission that brings together and gives access to millions of digital heritage objects coming from cultural institutions all across Europe, and it is also an active member of Culture Action Europe and of the European Heritage Alliance, and it’s an official partner of the New European Bauhaus.
We believe that uncovering and sharing the vast wealth of fashion heritage assets stored in public and private museums and archives across Europe will empower these institutions, raising their visibility and connecting them with new audiences, allowing, at the same time, the full valorisation of our shared fashion heritage for work, for study and for fun, fostering a more inclusive, diverse and creative society and supporting the preservation and valorisation of craftsmanship and the related intangible heritage connected to textile and fashion, which hopefully can inspire and foster a more sustainable and fair future for the whole sector.
We have created a lively and growing network of fashion heritage institutions and we have built and made freely available the largest and richest digital fashion heritage repository online. These are both our core assets that we have to nurture and valorise.
Since 2014, we have gathered and engaged a thriving network of fashion heritage institutions, professionals, scholars and enthusiasts. This network actually counts more than 50 institutions coming from 15 European countries and includes several heritage professionals and scholars. Our network members represent both public and private institutions, ranging from big public museums to small private ones, and include also brand archives. For a full list of our partners click here.
The digital repository
In collaboration with our network, we have created the largest and richest fashion heritage digital repository actually available online. There we collect and give public access to more than one million high-quality fashion digital objects, ranging from historical dresses to accessories, catwalk photographs, drawings, sketches, videos, and fashion catalogues that can be freely accessed, shared and reused by everybody. We share this wealth of digital fashion heritage assets on Europeana, the pan-European platform at the centre of the common European data space for cultural heritage, that gives access to millions of digital heritage objects coming from cultural institutions across Europe, acting there as the fashion and textile thematic aggregator.