A guide to researching Australian and international fashion, designs, designers, industries, textiles and fabrics, patterns, tailoring, dressmaking, uniforms, accessories, and body art.
Fashion resources can be found through our online catalogue. For a quick overview type the word "fashion" into the search box. Click Search to see all items that contain this word somewhere in their catalogue record.
You can refine your search results using the facets to the right. For example, click on a specific subject heading such as "Women's clothing" to see a smaller number of results (shown in brackets to the right of the option).
You can refine by subject, type, date, creator, SLV collection, and more. Click Online Items at the top of the list for digitized and electronic resources that you can view without visiting the library (some may require a library membership). The SLV collection Find_on_shelf will show open access items.
You may have a specific area of interest such as 'Indian fabrics'. Use keywords that relate to your topic such as textile fabrics India. The results can be a starting point for refining your search. Then, once you have an item in your hands or on your screen, see what clues it can give you. If it’s a book or journal article check for sources and citations.
Magazines, periodicals or journals are excellent sources of current and historic images, news and context. We hold many magazines, both print and online. For a broad list search the catalogue for ‘fashion periodicals’.
For specific magazines search our catalogue for the title - for example Australasian textiles & fashion. For print magazines, the Availability section will list which issues of the we hold and how to access them. For digital magazines see View online for coverage.
We also have books about particular magazine. There are histories, for example, of everyday fashions from the 1930s to the 1960s that appeared in the Sears catalogs.
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.
For a quick online article search choose the Articles dropdown option next to the search box located at the top of any SLV webpage (including this guide). This will search across most of our databases. You can also search within databases for a more accurate search; see our A-Z list of Fashion & Costume databases. Articles can be accessed by anyone within the library, and from home by Victorian registered Library members.
General internet searches will find pages on many different aspects of fashion.
We Wear Culture is a collaboration between Google and 180 cultural institutions across 40 countries. Explore the stories behind what we wear through The Icons, The Movements, The Making Of and The Art.
338.4 Fashion Industry
391.009 Fashion - Social Aspects and history
646.1 Fabrics and Haberdashery
646.3 Style and Wardrobe Selection
646.4 Tailoring and Pattern-Making
646.6 Garment Care
677 Textile Manufacturing
746 Textile Arts
746.92 Fashion Design and Designers
The Library has a large range of digitised images.
Key photographic collections and photographers:
For images held at other libraries try the Trove image database, which searches across most Australian institutions. General internet searches will also return a vast range of images relevant to fashion.
Portrait photographs by Thomas Wright, c.1867-72, H2005.34/2964