Fashion-Focused Digital Resources: Apps and Podcasts


Many lists of top apps for mobile devices can be found online, but none rate apps relating to historical fashion–likely because apps that focus on this aspect of fashion are few, and are not usually bestsellers in app stores. I’ve done some digging for you, and found a number of apps and podcasts that cover fashion and textile history. Most of the apps are from museums and were designed for learning, while the podcasts will keep you entertained and informed. Did I miss your favorite? Let us know your recommendations in the comments.

Apps for Apple and Android devices

Europeana Apple and Android
I highlighted Europeana’s digital archive in last month’s post. From the description: The Europeana Open Culture app lets you explore hand-picked and beautiful image collections from some of Europe’s top cultural institutions. You can browse, share and download for free more than 350,000 high-resolution images.

Fashion in Antwerp Apple and Android
From the description: Tour through Antwerp’s fashion world, past and present. Separate tours guide you through fashion and textiles in Antwerp’s history; the rise of the avant-garde and the Antwerp Six; contemporary fashion; hands-on craftsmanship and where to spot the city’s most stylish residents. 

Fashion@ISGM Apple and Android
A companion app for the exhibition Carla Fernández: The Barefoot Designer: A Passion for Radical Design and Community, which “explored the traditions and techniques of indigenous Mexican artisans and how they can be applied to modern fashion and styles.”

Gaultier: His Fashion World Apple and Android
The Gaultier app provides extra content related to the exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk that showed last year at the Brooklyn Museum and the Barbican. Includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the curators.

Malmaison Costume Android
An introduction to the costume collection at the National Museum of the Château de Malmaison, including Empress Josephine’s court dresses and accessories. The costumes are not on permanent display at the Museum, and this app aims to make them accessible to all.

1stdibs Apple
Browsing the exorbitantly priced, museum-worthy pieces for sale on the online antique shop 1stdibs is my guilty pleasure. Their new app was just released last week. Now I know how I’ll amuse myself next time I’m standing in line.


A History of the World in 100 Objects
I was introduced to this podcast in a textile history class. Segments of interest to fashion historians include #19, “Mold Gold Cape,”#24, “Paracas Textile,” #50, “Silk Princess Painting,” #87, “Hawaiian Feather Helmet,” plus many for decorative arts scholars.

American Fashion
Described as a “weekly conversation about the fashion industry” with special guests, several episodes turn to historic fashion. In #30, Phyllis Dillon, researcher for the upcoming documentary Dressing in America, “talks pre-historic textiles, the rise of ready to wear garments in America, and the history of Jewish immigrants in the garment industry.”

On this public radio program, American historians and callers discuss U.S. history. Check out the episodes “Counter Culture: A History of Shopping” and “American Apparel: A History of Fashion.” You can also check the broadcast schedule if you want to listen live.

Colonial Williamsburg Past & Present
From the descriptionSince 2005, “Past and Present” has taken you behind the scenes to meet interpreters, chefs, tradesmen, musicians, historians, curators, and more. 

Costume Café
An in-depth look at historic costumes in many areas of the costume design industry, from the perspective of practitioners and scholars.

Frock Flicks
Hilarious takedowns of “Hollywood’s attempt at historical costuming” in period films and TV shows. Though, I don’t think networks like Showtime or HBO ever claimed to care more about accuracy than hotness.

Stuff You Missed in History Class
HowStuffWorks turns to lesser-known, “strange” stories in world history. Episodes of note are “Rose Bertin: The First Fashion Designer” and “Missed In History: House of Worth.”

Talking Design
From RMIT University in Australia, design experts are interviewed, including fashion photographers, interior designers, and more.

Thread Cult
A great mix of academic and contemporary fashion reviews and discussions. From the description: Journalist and sewing blogger Christine Cyr Clisset interviews master craft people and creators in the home sewing, textile, and fashion communities.

Voices on Cloth
From the description: Voices on Cloth features presentations from luminaries in the textile and fiber arts. Recorded live at the Maiwa Textile Symposium, held in Vancouver Canada, the presentations are from an international collection of writers, travellers, craftspeople, and artists.

Image credit: Women and Technology Project

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