Fashion Drawings & Sketches in the Collections of FIT and the New York Public Library
A new frontier in fashion information delivery and digital collaboration.
This digitized collection of thousands of fashion drawings and sketches produced by André Fashion Studios between 1930 and 1941 is the result of a partnership between the Picture Collection of The New York Public Library and the Special Collections & FIT Archives of the Fashion Institute of Technology Library. The partners aimed to virtually unite a collection of spectacular quality and historical significance that is physically divided among the two institutions and, as an equally important goal, to leverage open-source technologies to create a prototype of a fashion information and image portal that would provide access to costume and fashion-related resources held by various New York City educational and cultural heritage institutions.
This site is the initial realization of that broader goal, and brings into focus a group of materials that have until now been accessible mainly to researchers. The collection consists of original, hand-colored and reproduced fashion drawings from André Studios, one of a small number of competing design studios that created fashion sketches to sell to clothing manufacturers in the United States and Canada on a weekly basis. Pearl Levy Alexander and Leonard Schwartzbach were partners in André, with Pearl creating the designs and Leonard acting as the salesman. André specialized in children’s coats, and ladies coats and suits, and produced about 20 sketches a week for most of the year, beginning in 1930 and ending in the early 1970s. The site showcases the first decade of the firm’s output, up until the beginning of World War II, an oeuvre of significant proportions providing unique insight into fashion trends for women and children during the 1930s. Click here for more information about André Studios and the fashion industry in New York City in the early decades of the 20th century.
The collaborative digital project “André Studios 1930-1941: Fashion Drawings & Sketches in the Collections of the Fashion Institute of Technology and The New York Public Library” was supported in part by funds from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) through the New York State Regional Bibliographic Databases Program.
The Department of Special Collections and FIT Archives (SPARC) is a unit within the Gladys Marcus Library of the Fashion Institute of Technology SUNY in New York, NY. SPARC's mission is two-fold; regarding Special Collections, it acquires, preserves, and provides access to a wide range of primary research materials in original formats and across many languages and geographical spectra. While all acquisitions support one or more curricula offered at FIT, a majority of the holdings relate to fashion, costume, and textile design and history. Regarding the College Archives, SPARC acquires, preserves, and provides access to college records permanently-scheduled or of enduring value created in the course of college business by administrators, staff, faculty, and students. These efforts support myriad goals in and across FIT units as well as research from those outside the FIT community.
The NYPL Picture Collection was founded, and continues to serve, as a circulating visual resource for the needs of New York City’s general public, students at all grade levels, and the professional artistic community which includes art students, artists, advertisers, costume and set designers, historians and historical researchers.
Comprised of illustrations from books, newspapers and magazines as well as photographs, prints and postcards, the collection numbers over one million images arranged in approximately 12,000 alphabetical subject headings ranging from abacus to zoology. An alphabetically arranged personality section houses images of actual people including political figures, actors, criminals and beauty queens. A royalty section consists of images of kings, queens, princesses, princes and their families arranged alphabetically by country and date or name.
Digital Picture Collection – Over 40,000 images from the Picture Collection’s Reference Files, most dating from 1923 and earlier, form a popular component of NYPL’s Digital Gallery. The largest part of the digital collection, funded by an IMLS grant in the early 2000s, is the Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection, which digitized our most popular heading from the Reference File, including African American History, animals, armies, birds, costume, insects, music, New York City, palaces and punishments. Each year, The Picture Collection embarks on a new digital project of 1200 to 2000 images, sometimes with the help of small grants. In the past four years we have digitized historical postcards from New York City, images from ancient cultures, children’s book illustrations and holiday postcards. A table of contents to the collections and informative collection guides enhance each digital project.
André Fashion Studios between 1930 and 1941 is a product of multilateral cooperation among a group of talented and creative individuals working at New York Public Library and the Special Collections & FIT Archives of the Fashion Institute of Technology.
The copyright in all of the images on this website are owned by either The New York Public Library or the Fashion Institute of Technology. Images downloaded from this site may be reproduced only for personal, educational, or research purposes. Written permission and payment of fees is needed for any type of editorial or commercial use.
For NYPL credited images, please visit our web page to obtain permission and/or obtain 300dpi TIFF files: www.nypl.org/permissions
For FIT credited images, please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +18.104.22.16885.