Competition with the British Fashion Council

Embroidered silk handkerchief case
India Office Archive: Embroidered silk handkerchief case

The fourth British Library x British Fashion Council (BL x BFC) competition will launch in autumn 2020.

We’re taking the competition online this year, with contributions and valuable input from a range of leading designers streaming live to you via two interactive masterclasses.

The webinars will feature contributions from leading designers, British Library and British Fashion Council representatives and previous winners of the British Fashion Council X British Library fashion research competition.

Topics will include how to access and use digital resources for fashion research, diversity and inclusiveness, and Positive Fashion and students will be asked to design a digital portfolio referencing inspiration from across the Library’s digital collections.

The masterclass webinars and the fashion research competition is part of the British Library's continuing partnership with the British Fashion Council. The partnership highlights the importance of research for fashion designers and students, including how the UK national collections can enhance fashion education and business.

If you are studying fashion at one of the institutions in the BFC Colleges Council please contact your course leader for further details.

Recordings of the webinar series will be available here after the live broadcasts.

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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.

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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.