Lead Forensics

Preserving high-end fashion

Most garments bought by UK consumers are not designed to last a long time. Popular high street fashion brands Crew Clothing and Karen Millen make quality clothing that will last many years. However, these clothes are not expected to be worn in a hundred years’ time.

High-end fashion by designers Christian Dior, Virgil Abloh and Thierry Mugler has been exhibited in the Brooklyn Museum as it is regarded as art. There is a move to preserve collections by top designers for future generations to see. To meet the demand for archiving luxury brand clothing, USA art storage company Uovo has acquired Garde Robe, a high-end clothing storage company. Its general manager Brennan Lowery said:

“I want every single American designer to store here.”

The Garde Robe warehouse stores over 40,000 items, including shoes, garments, and bags. Many of them are from fashion brands, but some private individuals pay for items to be stored.

When a garment arrives in the warehouse, it is inspected for damage and stains and then photographed to add to a viewable digital archive. A less than pristine garment may need to be dry cleaned before being protected by acid-free paper and folded into a box or hung on heavy duty garment rails. Shoes are stored in translucent plastic bins.

To preserve the garments in good condition, the warehouse is kept at 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% humidity. However, garments won’t last forever, and all textiles eventually break down, but preserving them in a climate-controlled warehouse significantly slows down the ageing process.

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