Our collections are for everyone. Let them be a springboard for your fashion research and join the fashion designers, students and researchers who have already been inspired.

Case studies

…I use my experience of travel to try and develop something real and honest, and most importantly to create beauty within my design.…

Joint winner of our 2019 fashion competition Victoria Lyons tapped into the resources of the British Library to develop a photographic series on which she modelled a set of fabrics.

…While visiting the British Library in search of inspiration, I found myself fixating on examples of intricacy and intimacy seen throughout the building. …

Joint winner of our 2019 fashion competition Andrew Froud from the University of Brighton took inspiration from the Library’s collections to design his set of textiles.

…Fashion as an art form is a powerful voice and should allow its participants, designers and wearers alike to celebrate life and personality.…

Fashion student Cristiana Alagna from Ravensbourne University used the Library’s photography collections and depictions of 18-19th century clothing to inspire her own set of textiles.

…I was delighted that it was possible to flick through manuscripts, missals and Books of Hours from the past centuries through the British Library’s online catalogue.…

Louise Desoeuvre from Bath Spa University used the British Library to research Renaissance paintings and WW1 photographs to design a garment inspired by religious and military dress.

…My concept was a fashion collection which focused on expressing the beauty of imperfection, lived experience and individuality through textiles.…

Alanna Hilton was the winner of a competition run by the British Fashion Council in collaboration with the British Library and fashion house Teatum Jones to create a fashion portfolio telling a story inspired by the British Library’s collections.

…Elisabeth Nilsson came to the British Library to research prototypes for her autumn/winter Once Upon a Time fashion range, during her final year of a Fashion BA at the University of the Creative Arts in Epsom.…

Elisabeth Nilsson came to the British Library as part of her research for a competition to create a fashion portfolio telling a story inspired by the Library’s collections.

News stories

Catch up on The British Library Conversation for London Fashion Week

21 October 2020

Our collaboration with this year's digital London Fashion Week, The British Library Conversation, is now available to watch online, containing a frank discussion on the fashion industry today.

Fashion masterclass showcases Library’s collections

6 December 2018

As part of our second fashion research competition in November 2018, designer Nabil Nayal took part in a research masterclass to share his experience of researching at the Library.

British Fashion Week comes to the British Library

20 September 2018

Fashion Designer Nabil Nayal participated in an exciting collaboration with the British Library to raise awareness of the potential of its vast resources to inspiring fashion researchers and design students.

Library and British Fashion Council unite for fashion project

6 September 2018

The British Library and the British Fashion Council are pleased to be working on a joint project to inspire fashion students to use the British Library archive.

More news stories

Explore more

  • Business & IP Centre

    Access expert advice and support on working for yourself and setting up your own fashion business. This could include business planning, finance, market research and intellectual property, as well as a programme of events, networking and one-to-one advice.

  • Apply for a Reader Pass

    Access the British Library’s collections in the Reading Rooms by registering for a Reader’s Pass. Remember to bring two forms of ID when you come to register!

  • Browse our catalogues

    Our Explore catalogue is your first port of call to help you identify what collections you might wish to see. For more specialist collections such as manuscripts, bookbindings and sounds, use our various other catalogues.

  • Flickr archive

    Explore more than 1 million of the British Library’s images on Flickr.

  • Instagram

    View regular updates about our collections and the stories behind them.

  • Visual arts

    Our visual arts collections include paintings, drawings, prints and photographs.

Blog posts

Batik designs in a Javanese manuscript: Serat Damar Wulan

Monday, November 28, 2022

Serat Damar Wulan (MSS Jav 89) is probably the earliest surviving fully illustrated Javanese manuscript, and is full of lively and humorous scenes of everyday life in late 18th-century Java. In this guest blog Dr Fiona Kerlogue examines the clothes...

A day in the life of Ronke Jane Adelakun, co-founder of Cultureville

Friday, November 11, 2022

This month we are following the co-founder of Manchester-based African-inspired fashion brand, Cultureville, who specialises in hand-crafted clothing and accessories that feature bold African wax prints in contemporary designs. We'll hand over to Ronke Jane to find out what a...

Celebrating small businesses this festive season

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Small businesses in the UK have had a lot to contend with in the last few years, however, the UK’s brilliant independent retailers are among the most hardy in their sector. Figures from the Local Data Company have revealed that...

E-resources: magazines and comics

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

This month’s e-resources blog explores five wonderful resources offering full-text access to a wide variety of magazines and comics. Please note: all of these resources can be accessed remotely with a British Library Reader Pass. Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive, 1880-2015...

More blog posts