For those who know about the concept of archival work, how would you describe it? And how would you define the difference between a historian and an archivist?
Being a fashion historian means knowing precise details and trends from previous collections/periods in fashion history and being aware of significant moments from past brands/designers in collections. While being an archivist means knowing how to properly preserve and store an item to hold and even appreciate its value. The term archivist is used loosely today, unfortunately. But before I could even be admitted to my M.A. program, I had to take college-level chemistry. Real archivists understand collections management rooted in science and know that the environment is key to maintaining the quality of the pieces. It’s why I opened my very own facility in Los Angeles: Wardrobe West. It’s truly the ‘backstage’ of a museum with climate control, air filtration, light control, 24-hour security, custom racking, etc., and I’m proud to say it’s the first archival facility opened by opened a museum-trained archivist.
What exactly is the archival process? Why is it important?
The archiving process entails photography, cataloging, asset digitization, and proper storage based on the particular construction and materials of a garment or accessory. For my company, we created our proprietary software, The Digital Archivist, to physically and digitally archive items and make it easy for our clients to browse, search, and request items from their collections while keeping them in a museum-quality space. The concept of archiving, especially with The Wardrobe, is so important because we help maximize your items’ life and value and unlock hidden value by helping you leverage your collection for profit.