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London College of Fashion: The Woolmark Company

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History and Context

Photograph of a man wearing an evening suit, Waltener, 1963

The International Wool Secretariat, now The Woolmark Company, was established in 1937 to undertake research and the global promotion of wool. To that end, they built up a large library of promotional photographs and accompanying press releases which they generously donated to the London College of Fashion in the 1980's when they relocated and were short of space. The two thousand or so black and white photographs date from the 1940's through to the early 1980's and capture both the fashion of the time and the style of photography.The press releases, which in some cases are still attached to the photographs, give additional information about the garments, designers/manufacturers, the photographer and any points of interest reflecting the promotional style and language of the time.

Photograph of a woman wearing a Harella suit, L. Harris (Harella) Ltd, 1956

In the main, the photographs were issued by the I.W.S. London office, but some were issued by offices in France, Germany and the United States which reflect the international scope of The Woolmark Company.

Initially the collection consisted of a selection of around 400 digitised images, chosen because they represented the breadth of the collection and a detailed press release was still attached. The photographs were also chosen to give a balance of menswear and womenswear. This small collection was added to with the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, and includes over 2000 further digital images. These additional images include many more famous designers, and also increase the span of the whole collection into the early 1980s. A further addition in 2011 increases the coverage of ready to wear garments and brings the total to well over 4,000 images.

Copyright and permitted uses

Photograph of a woman wearing a black jersey dress with striped tie, Marlborough, 1967

The images and metadata presented in the Woolmark archive are copyright of the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. They may be used for private research and study purposes only. Enquires should be sent to contact details below:

University of the Arts London
London College of Fashion Archives
20 John Princes Street

Enquiries regarding permission to reproduce the images must be sought from the Woolmark Company:

Legal Services Team
Australian Wool Innovation/The Woolmark Company
Level 6, 68 Harrington Street,
The Rocks, SYDNEY NSW 2000
Tel: +44 7502 105 032

Image credits



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