Knowledge Matters blog

Behind the scenes at the British Library

1 posts categorized "Fashion"

23 October 2020

British Library at London Fashion Week 2020

How can the UK’s national collections enhance fashion education and business? The Library’s continuing partnership with the British Fashion Council is highlighting just that.

In a recent collaboration for this year’s digital London Fashion Week, designer Nabil Nayal and fashion journalist Sarah Mower MBE filmed The British Library Conversation, and reflected on change in the fashion industry and education and the need for a deeper and more authentic research process underpinning fashion ideas and businesses. Filmed at the Library, they discussed the importance of sustainability and diversity in fashion practice and the importance of using national collections like those of the British Library to underpin creative and change processes.

A woman wearing a garment based on painting.

Like many other industries fashion has been severely disrupted by COVID-19 whilst also facing an urgent need to address issues highlighted by Black Lives Matter and the increasing speed of climate change. It was in this spirit of change that we approached this year’s Fashion Week, working again with Nabil, who showcased his Spring/Summer 2019 collection at the British Library in September 2018.

A woman wearing a garment based on illumination from a book of hours

Having forged his links with the British Library while working on his PhD focusing on Elizabethan fashion, Nabil discussed the changes he is now making as a Course Leader for MA Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear at the London College of Fashion. He also reflected on his personal and creative journey and in particular how the British Library’s Syrian collections and his conversations with Daniel Lowe, Curator of Arabic Collections, helped him to embrace his own heritage in his fashion practice.

A woman wearing a garment based on a manuscript.

The Library’s participation in London Fashion Week was also an opportunity to announce that we will continue to hold the BL x BFC Student Fashion Competition, this time around to be held fully online. The competition will be launched later this autumn and will be supported by a series of online masterclasses featuring a UK fashion designers and experts, Library staff, students, journalists and influencers addressing key topics affecting the fashion industry.

You can catch up on The British Library Conversation: Fashion Disrupted with Nabil Nayal and Sarah Mower MBE on the LFW catch up channel or on YouTube.

You can find out more about the BL x BFC Student Fashion Competition at

Article by Maja Maricevic