V&A to launch new textiles archive

104,00 contemporary and ancient objects

The V&A will open a new centre to showcase its outstanding collection of textiles.

The collection will feature over 104,000 objects: from ancient scraps of textiles and medieval tapestries, to Elizabethan hoop skirts and contemporary pieces by today’s catwalk greats.

So whether your tastes are (very) vintage or terrifyingly cutting-edge, there’ll be something to whet your fashion appetite.

The incredible archive will be housed at Blythe House in Kensington Olympia, where the V&A’s archive of Art and Design is located, and will open on 8th October 2013.


The collection has been made possible thanks to a generous lead grant from The Clothworkers’ Foundation and contributions from other benefactors.

Clothes will be housed in floor-to-ceiling glass cabinets, and fashion scholars will be able to take a well-upholstered seat in the public study space to view the textiles at close range, with staff and reference books on hand to help understand every stitch.


Martin Roth, the V&A Director, said: ‘This development at Blythe House reflects our commitment to making the V&A’s collections available to the widest possible audience to inspire designers and help researchers.’

‘We want visitors to have the same experience studying fashion and textiles as they do when viewing fine art’.

Fashion will continue to be displayed in temporary and permanent galleries at the V&A.

We reckon a whirl through the archives could be a more bank-balance friendly way of getting a weekend fashion fix than shopping.

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