Digital Heritage

Opening textile and costume archives

Textile and Clothing archives can be an important source of inspiration for the design of contemporary collections. Unfortunately, however, there have been huge losses of industrial archives due to de-industrialization together with a substantial lack of a culture of conservation in the industry. Fortunately, some more structured companies have maintained their historical archives, but in most cases these are poorly accessible, ending up as unproductive clutter.

Today, this material – sample books and data sheets, in the case of textiles – - is of great value. By preserving the manufacturing memory of the area and of individual companies, it contributes almost unconsciously to the preservation and transmission of the 'know-how' and the enormous wealth of tacit knowledge of a T&C district. Above all, when it is properly stored, catalogued and digitized, making it available for consultation both internally and third parties, it can represent a significant resource for designers.

Who's involved

To fully exploit this potential, ‘heritage marketing’ can increase the added value of a T&C collection. Linking a contemporary product with archive materials – either through a faithful reproduction or a free interpretation - can greatly contribute to the construction of the value chain of the product itself, distinguishing it as "unique" compared to the global offer, resulting from decades or even centuries of history.

Through this approach a company can highlight its cultural heritage to partners and target customers, as part of a wider collective heritage. Heritage marketing is in fact a strategic factor for the revitalization and success of historic brands. Companies can boast a glorious on which to build communication campaigns and even create ad hoc collections with a high intangible value.

Goals and targets

In this Business Case, TCBL will build the capacity of enterprises to catalogue and digitize fashion and textile archives of T&C companies and exploit them to increase the added value of their products.

Further Reading

A special issue of the TCBL_zine is under preparation for this business pilot. To access the Call for Papers for the issue on Digital Heritage, click here.

Contact Info

For further information on the Digital Heritage Business pilot, contact Besnik Mehmeti.