This is a collection of 8425 fashion design drawings produced by Creators Studios, a New York City Seventh Avenue fashion business that marketed ready-to-wear designs to clothing manufacturers across the country on a subscription basis beginning in 1957 and throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The plates thus span three decades that were pivotal in American culture--showcasing the distinctive cuts, colors and fabrics that transformed fashion at the time--and comprise a unique resource for fashion historians and aspiring designers. Stored for many years in a warehouse in bound volumes and loose sheets, the designs of the company were eventually donated by its last owner to several New York City educational institutions with substantial connections to the fashion industry, including The New York Public Library and Fashion Institute of Technology. A previous collaboration between the latter institutions resulted in the digitization of a substantial portion of sketches from Andre Studios, an earlier competing firm taken over by Creators Studios in the 1970s (see website, André Studios 1930-1941: Fashion Drawings & Sketches in the Collections of FIT and the New York Public Library).
“Not yesterday’s but tomorrow’s fashions today.” This somewhat ponderous tagline from the company’s promotional literature encapsulates the raison d’etre of the sketch, or croquis, subscription service offered by Creators Studios and its competitors: to supply sketches informed by current and upcoming fashion trends that would help manufacturers and other industry professionals stay ahead of anticipated consumer demand. Very little is known about the business practices of these firms, but it is likely that copying and adapting existing couture and department store designs comprised a significant part of their production process. A house staff of artists culled ideas from runway shows and other fashion venues, which they then drew from memory or from quick sketches made on the spot. One such artist recalled, “My first boss sent me out to sketch numbers in Hattie Carnegie’s window [a famous boutique on Manhattan’s East 49th Street]. I spent a lot of time working out in the cold. I got so that I could sketch with the pencil and paper hidden in my pocket.”* Focused entirely on women’s garments, Creators Studios each week mailed subscribers a “complete line of fashion sketches” depicting women’s coats, dresses, sportswear and suits. These, the company claimed, “will give you all the latest fashion trends, details, trimmings, fabric suggestions, etc.” as well as provide “a current and over-all trend of the industry.” Creators studios closed its doors in the early 1980s.
*Ash, Agnes. "Florida Children's Wear: It's all in the Family at Palm Island." Women’s Wear Daily Aug 07 1972: 24.