The Fragility of Fashion: Couture Storage
From the beginning, UOVO’s diverse client base of individuals, groups, and organizations have come to us with needs varying from memorabilia cataloging to the long-term storage of antique furniture, and UOVO is always equipped and expertly-trained to service the requirements each industry and medium.
The fashion community, for example, has found exciting successes in aligning their preservation needs with our best-in-class services. We now work with a number of fashion icons, designers, and couture houses, and in all store some 50,000 garments.
Fabric is more delicate than many fine art materials, and so can benefit from the climate and humidity control that our buildings provide. The carefully-controlled environment can extend a garment’s lifetime significantly, protecting it from the damaging effects of light, pests, moisture, and more. In the high-end fashion world, in particular, this becomes crucial as iconic artists and designers inspire new generations with their creative thinking. After Oscar de la Renta bowed out of the fashion industry before his death in 2014, his brand’s CEO, Alex Bolan, knew how critical it was to sustain his collections, which graced the runway for over five decades. He states, “We need to preserve our heritage, our legacy, and history.” Precisely that reasoning is what brought de la Renta’s entire archive to our Long Island City facility, where it is one of many distinguished fashion collections stored in a secure, climate-controlled private room.
At UOVO, every storage space comes with an appointed account manager, each of whom is equipped to handle the particular requirements for designer clothing storage. These highly trained professionals arrange every aspect of the fashion storage process: from collection of the garments, to securing them in the clients’ private unit, to future transportation and viewings. Account managers can even arrange the digitization of a collection, resulting in an image-based digital archive.
While digital archives are integral in the fashion world, they are no substitute for the real thing. To get a full sense of how a garment was created, it is essential that the collection is accessible for interaction. While at other facilities clients can request which items they want to see and have it brought to them individually, at UOVO clients are able to enter the storage unit to sketch or catalog amid the entire collection as a live working space.
Looking to the future, physical and digital archives are what will keep a brand’s legacy alive, in an age when more fashion designers and couture collectors are realizing the importance of protecting their narratives. UOVO is home to everyone from independent collectors with archives of couture pieces to large corporations; our doors are open to any fashion designer and couture house that needs a secure space to safeguard their archives.
The future of fashion depends on creating a physical and digital archive to tell the story of brands across generations. To do that, pieces need to be preserved, yet accessible.