Design your own fashion week at these museums and galleries
From gorgeous garments to intriguing materials, discover the stories behind our clothes at these fashion and textile museums.
Gather round, fashionistas.
Uncover the fascinating history of the fashion and textile industry at these fabulous museums and galleries.
Discover how textile design provides a unique insight into the lives and histories of communities over time, and follow the story of what we wear, from the production of fabric to the finished products hanging in your wardrobe.
Among these museums you'll find exceptional fashion collections, curious machinery and even a viewing gallery where you can see weavers at work.
Don't forget, there are lots more places to explore across the UK. Browse our full listings to find more inspiring museums to visit.
The home of contemporary fashion and textile design, the Fashion & Textile Museum in London hosts regular exhibitions exploring some of the most exciting designers and makers around the world, and offers a journey through the fascinating history of these intertwined industries. It was founded by legendary designer Zandra Rhodes, who made garments for the likes of Princess Diana and Freddie Mercury.
The oldest operational silk mill in England, Whitchurch Silk Mill is dedicated to celebrating and preserving the historic art of silk weaving. Exhibitions, events and interactive displays explore the 200-year history of weaving, and you can find silk gems on sale in the shop. Stopping for afternoon tea with river views is a happy bonus.
Home to the largest fashion collection in the world, the V&A is a treasure trove of everything from jewellery, costume, hats and wedding dresses to underwear and embroidery. The museum regularly hosts major fashion exhibitions, which have showcased Hollywood costume, African fashion and the menswear industry. See rare gowns, post-war couture or designer sunglasses in this fashion lover’s heaven.
Knitting has enjoyed a major resurgence in recent years, with the likes of Olympian Tom Daley championing working with wool. But while it may be trendy now, knitting actually has a long history as an ancient art form, dating as far back as the ancient Egyptian era. The Framework Knitters Museum charts the incredible 400-year story of framework knitting specifically, which inspired other industries such as the Nottingham lace trade.
Tucked away in a lovely corner of Cumbria, Farfield Mill boasts working looms, craft demonstrations and exhibitions uncovering the history of the textile industry. A beautifully restored Victorian wool mill, Farfield was a working mill for over 150 years.
The spectacular fashion collection at the Walker Art Gallery includes indoor and outdoor clothing, underwear, hats, shoes and accessories, as well as a stunning collection of Western European textiles shared with Lady Lever Art Gallery. You’ll also find embroidery, tapestries and home furnishings, some dating as far back as 1600.
You’ll find two floors of accessories, clothing and textiles at Blandford Fashion Museum, home to the coveted 'Cavalcade of Costume' collection. There’s a tea room and shop on site, plus exhibitions exploring stories of historic dress and textile trends between 1700 and the 1900s.
See contemporary weavers at work from the viewing balcony at Dovecot Studios – this unique space combines a working tapestry studio with a thriving art gallery. As well as collaborating with artists to produce everything from handwoven tapestries to gun-tufted rugs, the gallery hosts a range of fascinating exhibitions exploring clothing, embroidery, design and more.
Housed inside the former Cambrian Mills, Wales’ National Wool Museum reveals how Dre-fach Felindre in the Teifi Valley was once the centre of a thriving woollen industry. Peruse everything from locally made socks, stocking and shawls to cosy blankets and bedcovers, plus try your hand at ways of working with wool, including spinning and sewing.
Dive into the fascinating history of the Irish linen industry here – with demonstrations on hand-spinning and handloom weaving, plus lovely examples of historic linen costume and furnishings.
Explore the largest publicly owned collection from a luxury textile manufacturer in the UK at the Warner Textile Archive, which is housed in the original Warner & Sons mill in Braintree, Essex. You can also visit the nearby Braintree Museum, which features displays from the Archive.
The more you see, the more we do.
The National Art Pass lets you enjoy free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, while raising money to support them.