What is fashion conservation?

I am asked 'what is fashion conservation?' more than any other question!  Conservation is the act of preserving an object, or place, in order to slow down degradation as much as possible, ensuring its longevity.  There are many disciplines of conservation in the heritage world, such as paper, paintings, sculpture, ceramics and textiles.  Fashion conservation is just another that comes under the larger umbrella of textile conservation. 

I love the variety of materials that I encounter in fashion conservation.  I work on costumes and accessories with all sorts of materials, from cotton, silk, wool, synthetics through to metal thread embroidery, plastic, leather, fur, feathers, wood, or even wax, so a textile conservator has to have a wide knowledge of how all of these materials are made and degrade, and especially when they are part of the same object. 

Working in conservation covers a great mixture of history, craft, science and art and this is why it is such a fascinating career- it combines all of my interests and I consider myself very lucky to do a job that I love!