Inspiration for the #EuropeanaChallenge - Europeana Fashion’s highlights

The Europeana Fashion team introduce some of the platform's highlights as inspiration for the second #EuropeanaChallenge

4October2016Comment

The Europeana Fashion team introduce some of the highlights of Europeana Fashionand tell us about the platform’s great search functionality. Europeana Labs are collaborating with Europeana Fashion on the launch of the recent Europeana Challenge dedicated to fashion.

The Europeana Fashion platform brings together more than 800.000 fashion objects from more than 35 public and private archives and museums from around Europe. Ranging from historical dresses to accessories, catwalk photographs, drawings, sketches, videos and fashion catalogues, the collection is rich and diverse, allowing any sort of project – including those we hope to attract to the recently launched Europeana Challenge - to find inspiration in its many items.

Digital presentations of fashion objects are a big part of the collection, covering a wide timeframe and focusing primarily on western fashion. The quality of the content provided by Europeana Fashion’s partners (eg high resolution with lots of metadata) makes it possible to really dig into some wonderful and often forgotten historical items. Interesting embroidery techniques, unexpected materials, motifs and fascinating details can attract generalists interested in learning something about historical fashion but can also inspire new generations of designers to weave together past and present.

Waistcoat embroidered with coloured silks, silver and silver-gilt thread, made 1610-1615, altered 1620. Courtesy Victoria & Albert Museum, England. CC BY SA.

Browsing on the portal, it is also possible to encounter many fashion plates, which were the main ‘voices’ for the diffusion of trends and fashion knowledge during eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Plates range from clothing to accessories and often depict social gatherings and occasions: held together in magazines, they showcase the variety and possibilities of fashion at certain periods of time in history, and can be read as testimonies of the narrative power of fashion itself.

Prints from the journal ‘La Saison’. Belgium. Courtesy ModeMuseum Provincie Antwerpen, Belgium. Rights reserved - Free access.

Fashion photographs are also a big part of the collection, ranging from catwalk snaps to editorial and more ‘artistic’ images. These pictures can be seen as useful references for research; for example, they provide interesting ways in which accessories and clothes can be presented in advertising, in time becoming icons capable of creating desire.

Collage of women’s accessories, photo by Kerstin Bernhard. Courtesy Stiefsen Nordiska Museet, Denmark. CC BY NC ND.

The material on the portal can be browsed through facets (powerful search filters) that are designed to make it possible to easily browse and search the collection in depth. The search can be filtered by provider, designer/maker, object type, material/techniques, colour and – a new facet much appreciated by users - date (or period). Find out more about searching Europeana using the custom facets of Europeana fashion.

On Europeana Fashion we regularly promote the diversity of our content, producing Themes, Pinterest Boards, Tumblr curations and also original pieces of writing that serve as guidance for those interested in fashion both as passion and as academic discipline. The Europeana Fashion blog discusses the content of the portal and tells stories about interesting objects that are part of the collection. It is therefore a useful platform to learn how to go about finding themes and find inspiration in this unique collection of fashion-related items.

If you are applying to the second #EuropeanaChallenge you have until 31 October 2016 23.59 (CET) to explore and be inspired by Europeana Fashion’s collections. Search for reusable datasets and find out more about the Europeana Challenge on Europeana Labs.