New York City’s fall edition of Fashion Week kicks off September 6, and that got us thinking: What sites do fashion-forward travelers visit? Here’s our round-up of a few favorite museums focused on fashion.
1. The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City
Students seeking college degrees in fashion come to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) for the best education in the field; museum-goers come to FIT’s museum for some of the best exhibits about the subject. FIT’s museum bills itself as “the most fashionable museum in New York City”; its permanent collection consists of more than 50,000 pieces (it’s particularly strong in avant-garde) and it has won numerous awards for its temporary exhibits that interpret larger cultural trends and current events in novel ways.
FIT’s museum is open to the public and admission is free. Be sure to check the museum’s events calendar, as numerous lectures, book signings, and special guided tours are scheduled monthly.
2. The Museum of Bags and Purses, Amsterdam
This museum claims to have the “world’s largest bag collection”: 4,000 bags, spanning 500 years of Western history. Among the museum’s highlights is the Normandie leather clutch, a wallet that was given to first-class passengers on the Normandie’s maiden voyage.
Admission is free if you have the iAmsterdam city pass, the Museumcard, or the HollandPass; otherwise, general admission for adults is €8.50.
Fancy making your own bag? Stick around for a DIY class at the museum or book a bag-making party, which will be led by a museum staff member.
Image: Effervescing Elephant
3. Fashion Museum, Bath & North East Somerset
Bath, England’s Fashion Museum (formerly the Museum of Costume) was founded in 1963 by the designer Doris Langley Moore; her own private collection became the basis for this museum’s permanent collection. Today, the museum is known for its timely exhibitions. Two current examples? “Jubilee: Dressing the Monarchy on Stage and Screen” and “Sport and Fashion,” which includes important uniforms from past Olympic Games.
Feel like dressing up? The Fashion Museum has a collection of “replica garments” you can try on. There’s the predictable Victorian dress, but also corsets, crinolines, and special costumes that reflect themes of current exhibits.
Image: Heather on Her Travels
4. The Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto
10,000 shoes representing 4,500 years of history, displayed in a four-story building. Those facts give you some sense of the scope of The Bata Shoe Museum’s collection. In the 1940s, museum founder Sonja Bata began collecting shoes from around the world, having developed an interest in footwear after marrying the son of a shoe manufacturer. Today, the collection on show at the museum represents shoes from cultures all over the globe: from Chinese silk shoes to Dutch clogs, and from shoes worn as armor to heels shown off by flappers.
Image: Charles Hoffman
5. World Jewelry Museum, Seoul
We’ve got clothes, purses, and shoes…now, we need something to gild the lily: jewelry. Seoul’s World Jewelry Museum should satisfy, with its collection of amber, precious metals, gems, and beads. Through its collection, the museum aims to fulfill its mission to “preserve, collect, and exhibit works of [jewelry]…and foster the understanding of history, society, art, [and the] spirit of various nations and tribes.”
Image: PG Palmer