Digital scholarship blog

Enabling innovative research with British Library digital collections

15 September 2023

London Fashion Week SS24: British Library x Ahluwalia

This year we will be continuing our collaboration with the British Fashion Council running our annual student research competition, which encourages fashion students to use the British Library collections in creating their fashion designs. Once again, we will start the collaboration with a fashion show produced by a leading designer. This year we are delighted to be working with Priya Ahluwalia. Earlier this year Priya worked with the Business and IP centre, contributing to the Inspiring Entrepreneurs’ International Women’s Day event, which discussed how we can best embrace and encourage diversity and inclusion in business.

On 15 September during London Fashion Week Priya will showcase her SS24 collection at the British Library. Following the show, Priya will lead this year’s student competition, focusing on the importance of research in design process. As a part of this competition students across the UK will create fashion portfolios inspired by the Library’s unique collections.

The previous collaborations with the British Fashion Council involved a range of exciting designers such as Nabil El Nayal, Phoebe English, Supriya Lele and Charles Jeffrey.

Photo of fashion event with Pheobe English (2021)
Phoebe English’s fashion installation at the British Library in 2021

 

The previous student work utilised the riches of the Library’s digital and physical collections, with the Flickr collection being especially popular with students. However, the inspiration came from many different directions - from art books, photographs and maps to the reading room bags.

This year’s student competition will be launched in October 2023.

Collage of different images of types of coats at the British Library including a man wearing a traditional Romanian winter coat, and a technical image detailing elements of a winter coat
From the winning portfolio of Mihai Popesku, Middlesex University student, who used the Library collections to research traditional Romanian dress

Update: there's been some great coverage in the fashion press (and social media), including this Vogue article that begins 'Priya Ahluwalia’s show purposefully took place at the British Library. More than just a venue, it tied into the theme of her work: bringing forgotten or untold stories about talented people to attention'.

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