The Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection was created through a collaborative project between the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) and Zandra Rhodes Studio and was 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 studied at one of UCA's founder colleges, the Medway College of Design, and was made the University's first Chancellor in 2010. She is among the most famous names in British fashion over the last fifty years and her work includes the design of haute couture dresses worn by icons such as Diana, Princess of Wales, Elizabeth Taylor, and Diana Ross.
The Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection provides unique online access to images of 500 of the designer's iconic dresses and garments, for use in learning, teaching, and research internationally, by fashion historians, fashion and textile designers, and fans of Zandra Rhodes's work alike. These were selected out of thousands of couture pieces designed by Zandra Rhodes, which are held in her private archive at her fashion studio in London. The digitised garments cover her entire creative career from the late 1960s to the present day, with particular focus on her landmark collections of the 1970s and 1980s.
This unique Digital Study Collection is 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. A total of over 120,000 images are held by VADS across a range of creative arts subject areas.
A number of contextual open educational resources (OERs) were also developed through the Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection project. This includes video interviews with Zandra Rhodes about the inspiration behind key, favourite garments selected by the designer. The project has also released video tutorials in which the designer and her specialist studio team demonstrate some of the techniques involved in creating a handmade Zandra Rhodes couture piece. Filming at the Zandra Rhodes Studio was made possible with support from the UCA Creative Fund.
The project has also opened up online access to a unique, comprehensive, and previously unseen series of fashion drawings from the 'Zandra Rhodes Style Bibles.'
These 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.