Founded in 2003, the Fashion and Textile Museum is committed to presenting varied, creative and engaging exhibitions, educational courses, talks, events and workshops.
Presenting a diverse range of temporary exhibitions showcasing innovative fashion and textile design from around the world, the Fashion and Textile Museum explores the past, present and future of fashion and textiles.
The Museum’s work is recognised nationally and internationally, with exhibitions featuring designers, artisans, craftspeople, and artists from across Britain and abroad touring regularly across the UK and the world.
The origin of the Museum’s collection began when British design icon, Dame Zandra Rhodes founded the Museum in 2003. Armed with the desire to showcase 20th-century fashion, Zandra placed an open call for unique pieces. Since then, the Museum has continued to collect pieces which explore the narrative of fashion within this period.
The Museum’s collection highlights the changing face of contemporary fashion from 1947 to the present day. All items in the collection relate to the design and production of fashion and textiles, with a number of key garments from designers including Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Biba, Mary Quant and Vivienne Westwood.
Recent acquisitions include the archives of prominent fashion designers Wendy Dagworthy and Orla Kiely. Pieces from the collection feature regularly in the comprehensive programme of exhibitions, workshops and history of fashion lectures that the museum organises.
The museum collection provides an invaluable resource for students of fashion, textiles and tailoring, as well as cultural history. Researchers can conduct a private study of pieces in the collection by prior appointment, subject to availability. The Museum is also very pleased to lend pieces from the collection to other institutions.
Our education programme offers practical workshops, hands-on learning of textile and fashion-based skills, talks from academics, authors and specialists and digital skills training. Our experienced tutors teach specialist skills that are not readily available through traditional educational routes.
The Fashion and Textile Museum supports a wide range of independent specialists, including textile and garment conservators, design historians, freelance exhibition designers, set builders, graphic designers, textile and fine artists and designers. In addition, the Museum provides a meaningful volunteer programme, committed to training, encouraging and celebrating our volunteer team.