Fine and Performing Arts

Fashion Study Collection

The Fashion Study Collection at Columbia College Chicago is an exceptional collection of designer garments, fashion history, and ethnic dress. A hands-on, academic, and inspirational resource for students and the public, the collection was founded in 1989 and has grown to house more than 6,000 items.

The Fashion Study Collection is dedicated to the collection and documentation of Dress for study and exhibition. It supports teaching and learning across disciplines through the exploration of dress and its relationship to history, culture, art, design, business, and technology.

The Collection

The eighth floor is home to the Research Center and Vault. The Research Center offers access to books, magazines, journals, visual media and other reference materials, dating as early as the 1840s. General subjects addressed by the collection include fashion history, global dress, construction, and textiles.

The Vault contains about 6,000 objects of dress and adornment including designer, historic, and ethnic wear. The designer collection consists of garments by nearly 400 national and international fashion designers, with representations of designer samples, custom, and ready-to-wear pieces.

The historic collection consists of everyday and special occasion dress for women, men, and children dating from the late 19th through the 21st century. The collection also includes accessories, uniforms, athletic wear, wedding dresses, leather, and furs. It provides a visual history of fashion and cultural history of dress.

The ethnic collection consists of historic, contemporary, everyday, ceremonial, and traditional garments from around the world, accessories and textiles. Established in 1992, this part of the collection represents a wide range of cultures, materials, techniques, and embellishments.

Visit the Fashion Study Collection online database

Visitor Information

618 South Michigan Ave, 8th floor
Chicago, IL 60605

Faculty members, students, and researchers can contact us at 312-369-3251 for an appointment to view the collection. Although the collection is not open to the public, serious scholars may reach out to discuss a potential visit if they first check the database, provide specifics, and give a minimum of 30-days notice in advance of their proposed visit.

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