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

Gold and the alchemy of Intellectual Property

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Our obsession with one metal has inspired some of the greatest art and creativity in history. Why are we so enamoured with it? Gold is rare, malleable, remoulded and reinvented into countless forms, throughout many different cultures and civilisations. It...

Learn more about Living with Machines at events this autumn

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Digital Curator, and Living with Machines Co-Investigator Dr Mia Ridge writes… The Living with Machines research project is a collaboration between the British Library, The Alan Turing Institute and various partner universities. Our free exhibition at Leeds City Museum, Living...

BIPC Style Guide

Friday, February 18, 2022

As London Fashion Week A/W 2022 comes to a close today, we’re feeling like it's about time to update our wardrobe! Stuck in a rut with your wardrobe too? Maybe you're feeling inspired to create runway pieces at home? From...

E-resources for Women in the United States

Monday, February 7, 2022

This fourth instalment of our Americas e-resources blog series focuses on women in the US, both historic and contemporary, but may also prove a useful starting point for exploring women’s lives and experiences in other parts of the Americas and...

More blog posts