A Mats Gustafson illustration for Valentino, 2000.

The Department of Special Collections and College Archives (SPARC) is a unit of the Gladys Marcus Library at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

Special Collections is much more than the rare book and designer archive division of the FIT Library. It is a highly-specialized repository of primary source research materials related to the fields of fashion and design, and a rich resource for the fashion industry and scholars of design history, including FIT’s own fashion-centric graduate and undergraduate programs.

The more than 3,200 titles housed in Special Collections have been vetted for their rarity or importance in the fields of fashion, textile, costume and interior design.  The collection includes 1,600 linear feet of books, periodicalsoral histories and designer scrapbooks as well as over 300 unique manuscript collections that contain more 500,000 works on paper, many of which are original designer sketches.  The manuscript collections are especially strong in their documentation of American fashion design from the late nineteenth century through the 1970s, Broadway and Hollywood costume design and the history of New York City’s own Seventh Avenue garment district.