Mentor Elise By Olsen founds a global fashion institution in Oslo

A new kind of library for the 21st century

Founded by Polimoda mentor Elise By Olsen, the International Library of Fashion Research opened its online doors on October 15th, 2020. The digital institution focuses on making space for intellectual discourse by creating a flourishing environment for curation, education, archival practice and public engagement in fashion.

With a foundation including over 5,000 pieces of printed matter from the past 45 years, Elise By Olsen, founder of Wallet magazine, dreamed up a contemporary global library of books, magazines, lookbooks, show invitations, illustrations and ephemera by the likes of Steven Mark Klein, Acne Paper, Andrew Leon Talley, Araki, Comme des Garçons, Corinne Day, Dries van Noten, Helmut Newton, Hermès, Issey Miyake, Joe’s, Jurgen Teller, Karim Sadli, Koto Bolofo, Larry Clark, Maison Martin Margiela, Marfa Journal, Mario Sorrenti, M/M Paris, Nan Goldin, Nick Knight, Pharrell Williams, Purple Fashion, Raf Simons, Ren Hang, Rick Owens, Rizzoli, Steven Meisel, Supreme, T Magazine, Vanessa Beecroft, Versace, Visionaire, Willi Smith, Yohji Yamamoto and more.

With this digital project, By Olsen is both redesigning and rethinking the potential of a traditional library while also preserving fashion's printed culture. “International Library of Fashion Research will become the world’s most comprehensive repository of specialized fashion research and contemporary fashion publications,” shares Elise By Olsen, Director and final-year Undergraduate in Fashion Art Direction mentor. “We will fill a much-needed gap in the preservation of and critical engagement with fashion’s printed culture at an institutional level, and build a free, globally accessible resource for fashion researchers, industry professionals, and amateur enthusiasts.” 

Photo by Akram Shah. Courtesy of the International Fashion Research Library

On October 15th, the International Library of Fashion Research opened online and features a digital database of the full permanent collection, a video talk series as well as an editorial component curating pre-existing content. The online space is a one-of-a-kind research resource within fashion, art and media, and an inclusive place to cultivate cultural discourse through fashion.

What's more, Polimoda has entered an official educational partnership with the institution alongside other global fashion schools such as Central Saint Martins, Parsons School of Design and Oslo Metropolitan University. 

The library is scheduled to open physically in the new National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo, Norway in 2021.

Congratulations to our Polimoda mentor Elise By Olsen!