How I Store My Fashion Archive

How I Store My Fashion Archive

I have been collecting clothing my whole career, so people ask me all the time how I store my fashion archive, especially the really special vintage pieces. The truth is I've moved a lot over the years and I haven't always had a perfect system. That said, there are a few things I ALWAYS try to do.

First, I store most of my dresses, jackets and clothing on rolling racks, hanging on razor hangers. I like to get the tallest racks available for gowns and dresses since anything long that touches the floor can be damaged if a rack rolls over the fabric. I also wrap many of my pieces in clear, extra long dry cleaner bags. This way, the bottom of the bag can be tied-up so the fabric doesn't drag on the floor.

Of course, many experts recommend not using plastic and instead, storing pieces in breathable cotton or canvas bags - which I do for some items...But I really like to see the clothing so the clear bags work best for most of my archive. 

I am especially careful with fabrics that can snag like knit or tweed, all leather (since it can get scratched) and anything that has embellishments like sequins, rhinestones, beading or grommets. All of these types of pieces get their own garment bag - or clear plastic covering. Also, same rule for anything white or in really pale shades, I wrap all light colors to keep them safe.

Also, I've learned the hard way that patent leather can color transfer. So any laminated handbags or patent leather trench coats or heels, I always put them in dust bags or covered in something. If you have a white patent leather clutch leaning on a red leather bag, the patent leather can absorb the dye. I've found the only way to fix discolored patent leather is to dye it a darker color.

Recently, I discovered The Wardrobe (@thedigitalarchivist), an amazing service in Los Angeles that many design houses use to preserve their archival collections. They store everything in temperature controlled spaces, in acid free cloth garment bags, in a totally controlled environment. I use this service for really special vintage pieces that have delicate fabrics that can deteriorate over time.

Whether your collection is big or small, taking care of your favorite fashion pieces can keep them in your rotation forever!  

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