A guide to researching Australian and international fashion, designs, designers, industries, textiles and fabrics, patterns, tailoring, dressmaking, uniforms, accessories, and body art.


In her book Fashion: a very short introduction Rebecca Arnold tells us that:

Although fashion has remained an essentially collaborative process, in terms of the number of people involved in its production, it came to be associated with the idea of a single individual’s design skills and fashion vision.

She refers to Rose Bertin (1747-1813) who created designs for people like Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) as the most famous early example of an individual who became known as a fashion designer.

The modern fashion industry started with Charles Frederick Worth in London. 

In Australia, designers and labels include G.H.V. Thomas, Suzanne et Cie, House of Shave, Lucy Secor, Charlotte Fifth Avenue Gowns, Haskin House, Shareen, Mr Simon, Elvie Hill, Prue Acton, Georges, Phillipa Gowns, and many more.

Catalogue searches

Bruce White dressmaking at Melb Tech H99.201/1675

For books on particular designers, search for their name, for example:

Databases and archives

The Library has several extensive fashion databases. These can be accessed within the Library by anyone, and outside the Library by Victorian registered Library users.

From our Pictures Collection


Fashion designer Elvie Hill, H2011.2/3184