A guide to researching Australian and international fashion, designs, designers, industries, textiles and fabrics, patterns, tailoring, dressmaking, uniforms, accessories, and body art.
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.
Fashion ebooks in ProQuest and EBSCO: Enter your keyword then choose the ebooks filter next to the search box. These can be read online in your browser or downloaded to a device for between 1-7 days.
Fashion ebooks in other databases (includes Bloomsbury Fashion Library and DOAB) Search Articles then select Resource type: Books. Read online or save pages as a PDF.
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's digitised pictures capture fashion industry, shows, designers and everyday dress.
Key photographers and collections:
For a broader search try Trove - includes results from catalogues around Australia, including National Archives of Australia.
Australian women's weekly 1967 colour transparency. National Archives of Australia 5907402
In line with the stage 3 restrictions announced by the Premier, State Library Victoria closed on Thursday 9 July.
We will advise when there is any update to this situation.
Our Ask A Librarian reference service is still available to assist with your research inquiries.