Preserving History

Mount Mary University’s Fashion Archive consists of thousands of garments and accessories as well as fashion art originals and periodicals ranging from the 18th century to the present with a broad representation of 20th century fashions. It serves as an educational, scholarly, and artistic resource for students and the Milwaukee community.

The Fashion Archive features both couture and ready-to-wear garments from such fashion luminaries as Cristobal Balenciaga, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Norman Norell, Bonnie Cashin, Oscar de la Renta, Jean Patou, Karl Largerfeld and more.

Maintained by the University’s Fashion Department, the Archive is the only such resource in the Milwaukee area. Many items are one-of-a-kind museum quality pieces, appropriate for both exhibition and research.

Learn more about Mount Mary's Fashion Archive

Contributing to the Fashion Archive

Items presented for donation to the Fashion Archive are reviewed on a monthly basis during the academic year by a committee of faculty and staff members. The criteria for accepting donations include the following:

  • Condition: Items must be in good condition and complete, including all original elements such as slips, belts, and all pieces of an ensemble. The Mount Mary University Fashion Archive does not accept objects with obvious insect damage such as moth holes or objects made from animal fur due to storage constraints.
  • Provenance: Known history of ownership or construction for the item is available.
  • Historical significance: The item, donor, or original owner has connections to Mount Mary University or the state of Wisconsin.
  • Photographs: Availability of photographs of the garment being worn by the original owner.
  • Originality: The item is not a duplicate of something already in the Collection.

Fashion Archive
c/o Fashion Department
Mount Mary University
2900 N. Menomonee River Parkway
Milwaukee, WI 53222-4597

Donation Fillable Form

Questions? Contact: The Fashion Department

After the committee has reviewed the photographs and documentation, potential donors will be contacted to make arrangements for an in-person evaluation at Mount Mary University to determine final acceptance of a given item. Please allow several months to complete the entire evaluation process.

Fashion Archive Gallery