Sweden is one of the best countries in the world to see and study fashion and textiles. Their long and (relatively) stable political history and national pride are demonstrated in the early clothing they have in collections, particularly those related to royalty. Handicrafts are a huge part of Swedish culture, taught in schools and cherished as a valuable part of Swedish community. Clothing and textiles are incorporated into many museum exhibition exhibitions, and handicrafts such as weaving, knitting and embroidery are still seen as vital part of culture.
While not technically a dress museum, this collection of royal objects is vital to the study of historical dress due to their collection of garments from the 17th century. The museum itself was started by King Gustav II Adolph in 1628 after his decision to preserve the clothes he wore on his campaign in Poland, and is the oldest museum in Sweden. Their permanent exhibition displays a wide range of historical garments, and they have an extensive online database (only in Swedish).
While this museum isn’t focused on fashion, they do have long-term exhibitions showcasing clothing produced or worn in Sweden. The current exhibition, Power of Fashion, is on display from 26 Feb 2010 – 31 Mar 2015. They have quite a good exhibition (open-ended, on display from 2012) on jewelry, from their collection of over 1,000 pieces. Perhaps most unique is their “textile gallery” in the museum, where you can view objects from their textile collections such as historical lace, knitting, and other textiles. There are also clothing and textile pieces included in their exhibition on the Sami culture. Their clothing collection includes historical dress, folk costume, and contemporary fashion, some of which can be viewed online.
This museum has an impressive of historical military dress, beautifully displayed. Of interest are their life-like mannequins, presenting an unusually life-like presentation of war throughout history.
The Textile Museum includes both textiles and fashion. Their costume collection of clothing from 1870-1920 is well represented, along with Swedish folk costume. Textile items include early Coptic and ecclesiastical textiles, along with more modern examples of embroidery, patchwork quilts, blankets and rugs. Items showing developments of textile printing technology include textile mill products and fabric sample books. Work from contemporary fiber artists are included in the collection, especially those from or working in western Sweden. A unique component to the collection is their “Props-” or “Study” Collection, which is intended to be handled freely, and can be used, washed, and put on display without restrictions, which makes it possible for visitors to feel the textiles and clothing in a way that cannot be done with regular museum exhibitions. The TextilMuseet is a partner in the Textile Fashion Center, which includes the Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås as well as local textile related industry.
The Röhsska Museum’s fashion collection contains garments from the 1800s to the present day, and many of the greatest fashion designers of the twentieth century are represented. It also contains numerous accessories such as shoes, bags and jewellery. Each year, the museum works with temporary exhibitions in which fashion is presented in new contexts to stimulate interest in fashion from an artistic and historic perspective. Röhsska Museum wants to promote a deep and nuanced interest in fashion and works actively to collect archive materials, create networks and function as a meeting place for both creators of fashion and interested members of the general public.
This town has many attractions related to the famous Swedish painter Anders Zorn. The Textile Room was opened in 1993 to display the Zorn collection of local textiles and folk dress. The museum is small but showcases an interesting selection of both costume and handicrafts, and there are many garments available in drawers to see at close range. There is a small exhibition space devoted to local and contemporary handicrafts. Next to this museum is Gammelgård (Old Farm) an amazing collection of old Swedish buildings (some of them date from the 13th century!) transported from nearby countryside by Zorn, and include artifacts inside related to textile production such as combs and spinning wheels.
The Dalarna Museum in the city of Falun is one of the three most visited county museums in the country, and shows the industrial heritage of Falun and the province of Dalarna. The museum is a super-introduction to Swedish folk art, music and costumes, and has changing art and craft exhibitions, including a great regional collection of textiles, folk painting, and of course, the history of the famous dalarna horse.
For more information about historical and contemporary Swedish fashion and textiles, including translations for terminology, bibliographies, libraries, museums, schools, and exhibitions, see the website: