Fashion and textile Museums have really inspiring exhibitions with garments made by the world’s most talented designers and from exquisite fabrics. They can be great places to find inspiration for your next sewing project and give you ideas for pattern hacks to incorporate classic fashion style designs in your DIY wardrobe.
We’ve chosen our favourite top 15 fashion and textile museums from around the world so wherever you live or go on holiday, make sure you visit to see their latest exhibitions and famous costume and designer collections. Do share your favourite local fashion and textile Museums at the end of this post for others sewists to discover. Also while you’re out and about across the globe, don’t forget to check out our Fabric Shop World Map so you can do a bit of retail therapy too!
UK fashion and textile Museums
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A Museum) in London is one of the most famous Museums in the world and leading in art and design. Popular exhibitions recently have included Alexander McQueen, which was outstanding and you will also find other designers in their permanent collections. Check out the latest exhibitions here and explore more than 75,000 individual textile and fashion objects in the collections.
London Sewing Machine Museum, London
A hidden gem in our part of London, the London Sewing Machine Museum has no less than 600 machines on display! Free entry and open one Saturday a month for anyone who lusts over vintage sewing machines, this is the one for you!
Fashion and Textile Museum, London
The Fashion and Textile Museum, London regularly exhibits inspiring fashion collections on themes such as the Jazz Age, Riviera swimwear style and Liberty Fabrics. It also hosts a number of creative workshops and courses to learn more about the exhibitions and sewing, textiles and art.
Fashion Museum, Bath
The Fashion Museum in Bath has world-class collections of both modern fashion and historical costumes. Highlights include the the History of Fashion in 100 objects and their current exhibition exploring the use of Lace in fashion, where you can design your own patterns.
Fashion and textile exhibitions in Europe
Musée Galliera, France
Musée Galliera in Paris, France exhibits temporary fashion collections from 1950s fashion to Balenciaga.
Christian Dior Museum and garden, Granville, France
The childhood home of Christian Dior houses the designer’s famous collections and the gardens are thought to have inspired many of Dior’s scents.
Gucci Museum, Italy
The Gucci Museum in Florence, Italy charts a 90 year history of the Florentine fashion house exhibiting clothes, accessories and world famous pieces such as the Jackie handbag.
Cristobal Balenciaga Museum, Spain
In Getaria, Spain, the Cristobal Balenciaga Museum has permanent and temporary collections highlighting the important role in the history of fashion and design of Balenciaga.
Textile Museum, Switzerland
The Textile Museum in St. Gallen, Switzerland has a special collections textile library of samples and patterns from Swiss Companies. They also have regular exhibitions including contemporary displays, the latest being focused on Fashion Fashion.
Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Italy
Mode Museum (MoMu), Belgium
Founded in 2002, the Mode Museum in Antwerp, Belgium exhibits contemporary fashion collections from designers of the eighties and nineties.
Exhibitions to inspire your sewing worldwide
Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York City
The Museum aims to advance the knowledge of fashion and through world renowned exhibitions explores controversial and ambitious exhibitions. The Museum houses over 50,000 garments from the 18th Century to present day. Discover the current exhibitions here and the permanent collections here.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute
Reopening in 2014, The Costume Institute has a collection of over 35,000 costumes and accessories from around the world from the fifteenth century to present day. It also organises two exhibitions a year.
The Kyoto Costume Institute, Kyoto, Japan
The Kyoto Costume Institute hold exhibitions on different themes in fashion with major exhibitions looking at how fashion has evolved. They also conduct research in this field, looking at how clothing has changed in society over time.
The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada
The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada has over 13,00 shoes and shoe artefacts celebrating style in footwear from Egyptian sandals to platforms, covering an impressive 4,500 year history of shoes! There is a permeant exhibition All About Shoes and three temporary exhibitions.
What’s your favourite fashion Museum?
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