Special Collections is more than the rare book unit of the FIT Library; it is a resource and study center for the fashion industry, fashion historians, and associated researchers including students from FIT's wide range of graduate and undergraduate programs related to fashion. With a collection size of 5,000 linear feet and over 3,200 titles, rare and important books and periodicals on fashion and textiles are housed, as well as unique oral histories and designer scrapbooks.
Our 360 manuscript collections include more than 500,000 works on paper from primarily American designers from the late nineteenth century through the 1980s. The work of the garment industry of New York's Seventh Avenue is heavily represented along with small samples of sketches executed for Broadway and Hollywood productions. Taken cumulatively, Special Collections' primary source research materials reveal developments which characterize the school of American fashion design in the first half of the 20th century.