About our project

This project will pilot the Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection and an accompanying Open Education Resource (OER). The project is a collaborative venture between the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) and Zandra Rhodes Studio and is funded by JISC as part of their Content programme between November 2011 and January 2013.

The collection was officially launched at the Fashion and Textile Museum in March 2013 by actress Joanna Lumley:

Zandra Rhodes trained at one of UCA’s founder colleges, the Medway College of Design, and was made UCA’s first Chancellor in 2010. She is among the most famous and recognisable names in British fashion over the last fifty years and her work includes the design of haute couture dresses for clients such as Elizabeth Taylor, Freddie Mercury, and Diana, Princess of Wales, to more recent work for Anne, Princess Royal, Helen Mirren, and costume design for opera.  She has played a key role in establishing the UK as a leader in both the global fashion industry and in fashion education.

The Digital Study Collection will provide unique open online access to images of 500 of the designer’s most iconic and landmark costumes.  These will be selected out of thousands of garments by Zandra Rhodes and will cover her creative career from the late 1960s to the present day.  From this substantial collection of intriguing and innovative fashion designs, 25 key works will be chosen to build an OER with the aim of embedding it in learning and teaching. These 25 captivating digital images will be enriched by primary and secondary source material in digital format.

This unique Digital Study Collection will be hosted by the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) at UCA.  The VADS national image repository currently brings together a total of approximately 13,000 textile and fashion-related items from a variety of collections, with a single search mechanism.  These collections have been digitised for use in learning, teaching, and research (out of a total of over 120,000 visual arts images held by VADS on behalf of 300 collection holders). The OER will be launched on the Jorum repository of learning and teaching materials.

Both resources will promote educational and research opportunities for the emergent and future generation of fashion and textile designers. They will open up free global access to this invaluable cultural and fashion heritage.