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Special Collections & College Archives

Special Collections is a highly-specialized repository of primary source research materials related to the fields of fashion and design.

This Libguide shares a selection of collections from our archives that are created by or include BIPOC designers and artists. (BIPOC = Black, Indigenous, People of Color.) Notable featured persons include Stephen Burrows, Patrick Kelly, Willi Smith, Norma Kamali, Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto, Youssef Rizkallah, Jamel Shabazz, Antonio Lopez, and Eric du Juan. 

Stephen Burrows collection, 1969-2012

Stephen Gerald Burrows was born on September 15, 1943 in Newark, NJ. He attended the Philadelphia Museum College of Art from 1961-1963 and then attended the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T) from 1964-1966, where he graduated with a degree in fashion design. Successfully selling his garments to his friends or the "commune" as he referred to them, he co founded "O" Boutique in 1968 on Park Avenue South.Burrows' use of color, color combinations, and fabrics was unheard of at this time. Burrows was influenced by rhythm and dance-inspiring garments with a softer, slimmer silhouette that moved with the body and as a finishing touch, he created the "Lettuce Edge", which is still in use today. In 1970, the fashion industry took notice of Burrows' innovative designs, where he was hired by Henri Bendel and given a boutique named "Stephen Burrows World". In 1973, Burrows was chosen to be a part of a collaborative fashion benefit between the United States and France at the Palace of Versailles, where Burrows and American fashion became an international sensation. Following his success, Burrows received the Coty award in 1973, 1974 and 1977.  Burrows later left Bendel to open his own business on seventh avenue, marking his hiatus from the fashion industry until 2002. On February 13th, 2002 "Stephen Burrows World" reopened at Henri Bendel, reintroducing Burrows into the fashion world. In 2006, Burrows received the CFDA's Board of Directors Special Tribute after 40 years as a designer. 

This collection contains fashion sketches (originals and digital facsimiles), fashion photographs, and press/promotional materials documenting the career of Stephen Burrows in the fashion industry from 1969-2012. There is a gap of press materials from 1990-2000 when he left Henri Bendel to open his own business on seventh avenue. His fragrance named, Stephen B., is briefly documented in photographs, press, and a silver wave necklace solid perfume.  Ephemeral materials such as personal photographs and an E.R.A ribbon are also a part of the collection. 

Youssef Rizkallah sketches collection, undated

Youssef Rizkallah was an Egyptian fashion designer. He attended the Academy of Arts in Cairo, Egypt for two years and the Ecole de dessin appliqué and the Ecole des arts decoratifs in Paris. After apprenticing with Jacques Griffe for six months, he returned to Cairo in 1954 where he established a couture house under the label Rizkallah. His clients included the Egyptian royal family and wives of the diplomatic corps. In 1963 he emigrated to the United States and worked for Universal Studios in Los Angeles. In 1967 he moved to New York where he joined Malcolm Starr International, and in 1970 he took over the designing for the Malcolm Starr couture collection. With the financial help of Ben Shaw and later Joseph Weinstein, Rizkallah established his own collection under his name. His ready-to-wear lines appeared in Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Bonwit Teller, B. Altman, Lord & Taylor, and others.

This collection is comprised of Youssef Rizkallah's sketches for womenswear and menswear (1956 - 2004).

Jamel Shabazz photographs collection, 1980-2010

Jamel Shabazz was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of fifteen he picked up his first camera and started to document his peers. Inspired by photographers Leonard Freed, James Van Der Zee, and Gordon Parks, he was marveled with their documentation of the African American community. In 1980 as a concerned photographer with a clear vision he embarked on a mission to extensively document various aspects of life in New York City, from youth culture to a wide range of social conditions. Due to its spontaneity and uniqueness, the streets and subway system became backdrops for many of his photographs, which have since been exhibited internationally in museums and galleries.

Shabazz has volunteered with a wide range organizations centered on inspiring young people in the field of photography and social responsibility. In addition, he has been a teaching artist with the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, the Bronx Museum’s Teen Council youth program, The International Center of Photography, Friends of the Island Academy, and the Studio Museum in Harlem’s Expanding the Walls Project. He has lectured at the Fashion Institute of Technology, The International Center for Photography, The Brooklyn Historic Foundation, Haverford College and Parsons New School of Design. Shabazz is the author of 5 monographs and has contributed to numerous others. 

Biography source

SPARC holds fifty color and black and white photographs by Shabazz. Inspired by the photographic documentation of African American communities by James Van Der Zee and Leonard Freed, these photographs represent urban street fashion primarily in Brooklyn and Manhattan between 1980 and 2010. Most photographs have a date and location noted on verso. Locations include Harlem, Soho, Lower East Side, downtown Brooklyn, Flatbush and Ft. Greene.

International and indigenous styles of headwear scrapbook collection, circa 1400-1800

Created in 1933, this scrapbook collection consists of black and white line drawings of men's and women's headgear from Eastern and Western cultures from ancient periods through the 1700's. Many pages of images accompanied by handwritten descriptions of images.

Balinese costume plates collection, undated

This is a collection of hand-painted plates of traditional festive and everyday Balinese costume.

Nina Hyde collection, 1914-1996

Nina Solomon Hyde was born Nina Solomon in 1932 in New York City. She attended Smith College and was accepted at NYC Law School. She left NYU and went to work at McCann-Erickson (advertising), the Maidenform Brassiere Company, Women’s Wear Daily, and the Tobe Report. In 1961 she married Lloyd Hyde and moved to Washington D.C. There she worked for the Washington Daily News and then the Washington Post. Hyde worked as the fashion writer at the Washington Post from 1972 until her death in 1990. She received the Eugenia Sheppard Award for outstanding fashion reporting from the Council of Fashion Designers in 1988, the Aldo Award from the menswear industry (the first lifetime achievement award given by that group), the Georgetown University Bicentennial Medal, and the rank of chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters from the French culture minister in 1989. Hyde died in Washington D.C. from breast cancer, and the Georgetown University Medical Center established the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research in her honor.

This collection consists of files kept by Washington Post fashion writer Nina Solomon Hyde (1932-1990).  Hyde worked at the Post from 1972 to 1990, and most of the content lies within these dates. However, some material refers to events prior to 1972 (including items from Hyde’s previous job at the Washington Daily News) and it appears that the files were maintained after her death, as there are items dated as late as 1996. Most of the file subjects are fashion designers, although some famous models and personalities are included, as well as general topics related to fashion.  The major fashion personalities of the period are covered, as well as younger, lesser known designers. Most of the items in the collection relate to the fashion press (articles written by Hyde and others, photographs taken by reporters, notes and correspondence representing day-to-day work), or to fashion publicity (materials found in press kits such as photographs, biographical information, press releases, and other forms of promotional writing). There are also a number of original designer sketches, copies of sketches, advertisements, and related items.  The majority of the content is related to women’s clothing, but there is some information about men’s wear, children’s wear, and accessories. Many of the items are undated, so the dates listed for each folder reflect dates found by the cataloger, and may not fully represent the content.  The collection is particularly strong for Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, First Ladies (Nixon through Clinton), the punk movement, Geoffrey Beene, Fendi, Calvin Klein, Princess Diana, Valentino, and articles written by Eugenia Sheppard. 

Alan Rosenberg collection, 1980-2012

Alan Rosenberg is an art and design historian and curator. He is also the proprietor of Alan Rosenberg - Works of Art, an occasional gallery that exhibits fine and applied art of the 20th century. He holds a Masters of Arts degree in Museum Studies/History of Applied Arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Hunter College and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Fashion Design from FIT. Alan Rosenberg was the son of Robert Rosenberg, a ribbon, sequin and lame yarn manufacturer and Lisa Clerc Stokes Rosenberg, a showroom model. Robert Rosenberg's grandfather David Jonah Rosenberg founded the ribbon manufacturing business in the early 20th century.

This collection contains brochures, catalogs, postcards, invitations and other promotional materials relating to 72 fashion designers collected by Alan Rosenberg covering the years 1980-2012. Includes women's wear and menswear, including activewear, bathing suits and undergarments. Includes store catalogs such as A & F Quarterly, Abercrombie and Fitch, Barneys New York and Bloomingdale's; mail order catalogs such as Go Softwear, International Male and Undergear and fashion designer catalogs and ephemera.

Designer runway slides collection, 1980-1989

This collection consists of photographic slides documenting runway shows by brands Andrevic, Avjard, Beretta, Biagotti, Bis, Byblos, Cadette, Callaghan, Castelbajac, Ceruti, Chanel, Chloe, Complice, Coveri, Girbaud, Hechter, Hermes, Kansai, Lagerfeld, Khanh, Missoni, Oaks, Paulin, Pimms, Popy, Sitbon, Soprani, Sportmax, Sterlind, Tarlazzi, Tattarachi, Thomass, Touche, Ungaro, Valentino, Ventura, Westwood, World's End, Yohji Yamamoto, St. Laurent and Zuccoli, dating between 1980-1989.

FIT College Archives: Black Rap

Black Rap was an FIT student run publication out of the Student Development office in the 1970s.

Antonio Lopez in the Frances Neady collection of original fashion illustrations, 1913-2019

The Frances Neady collection of Original Fashion Illustrations was established in 1984 to honor its namesake, an inspirational teacher of fashion illustration. The collection encompasses over a century of fashion art. Its earliest example, a watercolor by Pierre Brissaud for Gazette du Bon Ton, is dated 1913; its most recent donation is by contemporary artist Ruben Toledo. Among other stars represented in the collection are Eric (Carl Erickson), René Bouché, Dorothy Hood, George Stavrinos, and Antonio (Lopez). Donations to the collection come from artists, collectors, and industry professionals. The donated works fulfill criteria established by the Neady Collection Advisory Board, which acknowledges artists who exhibit high standards of draftsmanship and esthetic quality, demonstrate an individual approach, possess technical virtuosity, have worked for high-end magazines, stores or corporations, and have earned the admiration of their peers. The Frances Neady collection’s mission is to encourage and facilitate research by students and industry professionals in the art of fashion illustration. The collection presents a graphic record of the art’s evolution since the 1910s. In addition, it provides a vivid cultural and visual reflection of its time.

Yumiko Itoyama collection, 1895

Yumiko Itoyama is a Japanese hat designer based out of both New York and Tokyo. Itoyama immigrated to New York in 1981, and founded her brand two years later. She returned to Tokyo and founded a business and school in 1989. From 2008-2012, she taught at Tokyo Heisei University Junior college. Her millinery works have appeared in Vogue and WWD, She has also published three books on hat making: Selfish Hat, 1999, To Make a Hat, 2001 and Talkative Hat, 2003.

This collection contains 7 design sheets, 1 sketch, and 2 advertisements related to Yumiko Itoyama's millinery designs.

Marimekko collection, 1967-1979

Marimekko Oy, established in 1951, is a Finnish textile and clothing design company renowned for its original prints and colors. The company designs and manufactures high-quality clothing, interior decoration textiles, bags and other accessories. 

The Marimekko collection includes sample books of pattern designs, textile swatches, pictures of modeled garments, fashion catalogues for different seasons , leaflets, a brochure, a few photographs and promotional items.

Vuokko Oy sales and promotional materials collection, circa 1970-1975

Vuokko Eskolin-Nurmesniemi, born in 1930, is a Finnish textile designer. Vuokko studied ceramics at the Institute of Industrial Arts (Helsinki). She worked at Marimekko Oy in the 1950s.  Vuokko was responsible for the "Jokapoika Shirt" pattern that defined the classic Marimekko design. Vuokko's dresses worn by Jackie Kennedy during her husband's 1960's presidential campaign,  increased Marimekko's popularity in the USA. In 1960, she left Marimekko to establish Vuokko Oy. After the first company closed in 1988, Vuokko Nurmesniemi Oy was established in 1990. Her store is currently located in Esplanadi in central Helsinki, where she is an active textile and ceramics artist. In 2007, a retrospective exhibit dedicated to Vuokko Nurmesniemi took place at the  DESIGNMUSEUM (Helsinki). She received the Lunning Prize for design in 1964 and the Kaj Franck Design Prize in 1997. 

The Vuokko collection consists of materials dated 1970 as well as undated (circa 1975). It includes Vuokko style and model guide, two (2) advertisement leaflets and a presentation folder. Both A4 leaflets present "Vuokko idea" in design - simple over complicated in both textile patterns and clothing silhouette. Both leaflets feature similar  photographs of models wearing Vuokko clothing. Leaflet dated 1970 is tri-fold in English, the undated leaflet from the same campaign as the folder is in Dutch and bi-fold. The Vuokko style and model guide is in twenty-four (24) loose sheets, underneath each garment drawing, the name of the garment, fabrics and retail price in Finnish Marks are indicated. Some of these garments are pictured in the leaflets described above.

Azzedine Alaia photographs collection, Spring 1984

Born in Tunisia in 1939, Azzedine Alaia lied about his age to gain entry into École des Beaux-Arts in Tunis. In 1957, he relocated to Paris, working initially in the tailoring atelier at Christian Dior and later Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler. In the 1970s, Alaia opened a small atelier in his Paris apartment, which catered to socialites and celebrities. His first ready-to-wear collection debuted in 1980 and he quickly garnered a reputation for body-conscious silhouettes. Alaia currently lives and works in Paris, where he retails his work via a semi-private retail boutique.

This collection contains three black and white photographs of models  showing suits from Azzedine Alaia's Spring 1984 collection.

Comme des Garçons postcards collection, circa 1987 - 1997

Founded in 1969 by Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garçons initially focused on women's denim, growing to over 100 stores in Japan in the 1970s.  In 1981, she expanded her company to Paris, where her designs took a turn for the avant garde, in her words “designing from shapeless, abstract, intangible forms, not taking itno account the body." Kawakubo, herself, is not a fashion designer in the traditional sense, instead functioning as the creative director of a close-knit collective who execute her ideas.  Other designers to have produced under Comme des Garçons sub-labels include Junya Wantanabe and Kei Ninomiya.  In addition to stand-alone retail stores, Comme des Garçons  also owns Dover Street Market in five cities around the world, which in addition to Comme des Garçons products, also retail other high-end ready to wear labels.

This collection is comprised of six postcards and  four large posters for Comme des Garçons, two of which advertise the firms collaboration designing dance costumes for Merce Cunningham.

Comme des garçons promotional materials collection, circa 1999-2012

Comme des Garçons is a Japanese fashion label founded and headed by Rei Kawakubo in Tokyo and Place Vendôme in Paris.

This collection contains printed Comme des garçons promotion materials dating to circa 1999-2012.

Eleanor Lambert collection, 1943-2003

Born August 10 1903 in Crawfordsville, IN, Eleanor Lambert attended the Chicago Art Institute before moving to New York in 1925 with her first husband Willis Connor. She soon found work with publicist Franklin Spear and brought in new clients from the New York art world, representing both artists and institutions. She was involved with the founding of both the Whitney Museum of American Art and MoMA in the late 1920s and early 1930s. By 1935, she was sufficiently established and branched out on her own, forming Eleanor Lambert, Inc. The marriage to Connor was short-lived and Lambert married Hearst newspaper executive Seymour Berkson in 1936, with whom she had her only child, William in 1939. During the 1930s, her professional attentions shifted away from art and towards the American fashion industry. She helped establish the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1937 and established the New York Dress Institute in 1939, serving as director until 1962. When the International Best Dressed list was suspended during WWII, Lambert appropriated it, running it until 2002 when she turned it over to Vanity Fair. In 1941 she created the American Fashion Critics Awards (aka the COTY Awards) and launched the first New York Fashion Press Week in 1943. Long associated with the Costume Institute, Lambert established the annual Party of the Year fundraiser, the precursor to what is now the Costume Institute Ball. In 1962, Lambert was instrumental in the founding of the American Art Dealers Association of America and created the Council of Fashion Designers of America. In 1964, she launched a syndicated newspaper column on fashion "She". It was renamed "Eleanor Lambert" in 1982 and ran until the time of her death. Over the next several decades, Lambert received numerous awards and recognitions for her dedication to the American fashion industry, notably the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. At the age of 99, Lambert shuttered the doors of Eleanor Lambert, Inc. She passed away at the age of 100 in 2003.

This collection is comprised of the papers and records of renowned publicist Eleanor Lambert. It is organized into six series: 1. Columns 2. Designers 3. COTY Awards 4. CFDA Awards 5. American Designer Series 6. Miscellaneous. Columns series: This series contains columns and materials pertaining to columns written by Eleanor Lambert. The columns here were issued as her syndicated "She" columns which were started, according to John Tiffany, in 1964. The column was renamed "Eleanor Lambert" in 1982. The column ran until the time of her death in 2003. Designers series: This series contains the files Lambert kept on designers, both client and non-client. AFCA/Coty series: This series contains press materials, photographs, correspondence and miscellaneous ephemera related to the American Fashion Critics Awards sponsored by Coty, Inc. CFDA: This series contains press materials, photographs, correspondence and miscellaneous ephemera related to the Council of Fashion Designers of America. American Designer Showings series: This series contains records, correspondence, photographs, color slides and press materials pertaining to the American Designer Showings. Miscellaneous series: This folder contains Lambert's files on miscellaneous events and celebrities and includes miscellaneous photographs and press materials.

Eric de Juan sketches collection, 1927-1989

This collection consists of over 2500 sketches by designer Eric de Juan, from 1927 through 1989. The sketches include several done for Josephine Baker in 1949, as well as sketches from de Juan's two years spent as the in-house designer for the Bergdorf Goodman custom salon. Some sketches from the Bergdorf Goodman custom salon have swatches attached.

Have a question or comment about these guides? Contact: libraryreference@fitnyc.edu