Whilst we are developing a full web site of images of this collection, along with examples of critical research undertaken by students and staffs based around Collection objects, we offer here details of the aims and function of the collection and a preliminary sample of its highlights. Copyright permission to use images is freely granted to students and researchers for unpublished work. For all publications however, copyright permission must be requested. The exception to this is the Fielden Royle Textile Print Collection. See below for further copyright details.
This collection has been created for teaching and research purposes over the last twenty-five years, originally by Prof Lou Taylor, to match the content of, and to enhance the vitality of teaching methods in the University of Brighton's Faculty of Arts through introducing artefact handling as a teaching resource on BA Fashion and Textile Design, BA Dress and Design History and MA programmes. We place an emphasis in this teaching on material culture approaches to everyday design and clothing from the mid 18th century onwards. We also examine a range of world dress and contemporary issues of Fair Trade, tourism and sustainability and have a material culture interest in teaching aspects of the design, making, consumption, collecting, display and deterioration of clothing.
Our Teaching Collection therefore contains artefacts that relate to these programmes, including examples of everyday and even damaged artefacts that most museums would not accept – included badly damaged clothing from 1775 through to the 1930s. Artefacts have been both gifted and 'found' in junk shops and jumble sales. Thus the collection houses teaching-related examples of garments from the 1920s onwards made up in synthetic fashion fabrics (rayon, dacron, nylon, polyester, crimplene, elastane etc,). We have samples of dressmaker-made womens clothes from about 1860, British ready to wear dress from the interwar years onwards, dressmaker made clothes from the 1840s onwards, including white work children's dresses from the mid 19th to early 20th century, a collection of 1920-60 original mass production dress and shirting designs from a Manchester freelance designer and blouse and petticoat samples from Marks & Spencer's in the 1950s.
Our teaching-related world dress and textiles collection houses for example, some examples of African textiles: export print, strip weave, mud print from Mali, cotton prints consumed in Swaziland, indigo adire and strip weave collected in Nigeria in 1970, as well as tie-dyed and printed dress from Nigeria and Sierra Leone. We have 4 embroidered garments from India Pakistan purchased from John Gillow in the mid 1980s. We have a collection of dress and textiles from Poland, Hungary and Romania - mostly 20th and 21st century. For teaching issues of global tourism and local crafts, we have a small group of tourist textiles and garments of every quality from Guatamala, Thailand, Laos and Mexico, and Fair Trade garments and products and a group of global indigo blue print. The earliest garment we have is a damaged and badly altered white silk, embroidered dress originally made in about 1775 and the most recent is a US baseball cap made in China. We have some shoes, hats, fans, and some supportive catalogues, fashion magazines from the early 20th century and a group of family photograph albums dating from the 1850s to 1950s - all of which are used in teaching.
Lou Taylor has collected much of this over last 30 years from jumble sales, gifts, travels, and a few cheap purchases. We have received unwanted garments from Brighton, Worthing and Ditchling and Cirencester's Corinium Museums over the last 25 years - rejected either because the museums had similar garments or because the clothes were offered in badly damaged condition. We have had generous gifts from students, including a hat collection from the 1930s - 60s, a group of cotton prints from Swaziland, tourist-crafted textiles from Laos, whilst Veronica Isaac, PhD researcher, has enabled the donation of two large and key collections, the Hobart Collection of high quality ready to wear dress from 1920-50 and the Lovett-Turner Collection- containing a range of dressmaker and ready to wear dress from c1860-1920. Hannah Warwick helped us acquire the Concetta Trotta Collection of ready-to-wear garments, mostly crimplene and other synthetic garments, dating from from the 1950s and 60s.
We are interested in everyday clothing and textiles, in examples of these that museums often reject as 'too ordinary' or even damaged and in clothing and textile artefacts that relate to our School of Humanities teaching of dress, textiles and fashion history.
Prof Lou Taylor, 2013