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Milla Jovovich by Juergen Teller, 1994@a_r_c_h_i_v_i_s_t

The Instagram documenting eight years of fashion research

See inside designer Laura Edwards’ brain with @a_r_c_h_i_v_i_s_t, @dazedfashion's Instagram of the week

Image enthusiast Laura Edwards is the creative eye behind @a_r_c_h_i_v_i_s_t, an Instagram she created to share a rich bank of research that’s been eight years in the making. A fashion designer by day (working in London for brands such as McQ and Christopher Kane), in her spare time Edwards scours her collections of rare imagery stored on a hard drive and acquired over her design career. Sourced anywhere from vintage magazines to old books, the visuals are presented in themes – from polka dots to leopard print, her current fascination. 

What and who is A_r_c_h_i_v_i_s_t?

Laura Edwards: A_r_c_h_i_v_i_s_t is me putting up some of my favourite pictures and influences over fashion, art and film through a series of themes.

What motivated you to start the account?

Laura Edwards: I already had a personal account that has a lot of nonsense on it that I love – lots of Lil’ KimMariah Carey and Paris Hilton! I wanted something a bit more representative of what I like on a professional level that I could use as an outlet for research and that is fun for me to do and an indicator of my taste.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

Laura Edwards: It varies. I try and keep it broad to keep it interesting but I’m sure there are certain things that I always circle around like certain models and photographers that I love and lots of late-90s and early-00s vibes.

What’s your design background and how has it influenced A_r_c_h_i_v_i_s_t?

Laura Edwards: I’ve worked at McQ, Markus Lupfer and Christopher Kane and each designer has a very different aesthetic. My design background influences things on a certain level, in that I’m constantly sourcing imagery for my work, but A_r_c_h_i_v_i_s_t is just a very personal selection of things I love.

How important is research and the sourcing of images to your design process?

Laura Edwards: I think it’s the most important bit! Fashion is so fast these days that you need a constant feed of imagery and inspiration to feed the process.

How do you source images for the account?

Laura Edwards: I try to go through old books and magazines as often as I can. I also have a hard drive full of all my research – about eight years’ worth – and I am constantly adding to it. It’s organised into different categories, so when I want to do a theme I send myself a load of photos and then add a few more.

You post in groups of research or themes. How do you decide what theme to focus on? How does one transition into the next?

Laura Edwards: I usually decide the day before I change and it’s pretty random. There are also a lot of images that don’t get used because I don’t want the themes to go on for too long and get boring, so at some point I will repeat but there are still loads to go before then!

Who are your favourite designers, photographers, artists?

Laura Edwards: It changes a lot, especially designers as it depends on the collections. I will always love certain fashion moments like Nicolas Ghesquière for BalenciagaMargiela (by Martin Margiela), Helmut LangHussein Chalayan and early McQueen, but I liked Balenciaga this past season too. Also CélineProenza Schouler and I’m really into Ports1961 at the moment. My favourite photographers are Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Mark Borthwick, Corinne Day, Elaine Constantine, a bit of Michael Thompson and many more.

In terms of artists I love James Turrell, Marina Abramović, Barbara Hepworth, Tracey Emin, Louise Bourgeois, Yayoi Kusama, Rossetti, Pina Bausch... There are loads, which is why it’s good to do the themes – it makes me think about artists to fit in with them and reminds me of why I love them.

Favourite fellow Instagrammers?

Laura Edwards: @andrew_vowles, @raven__smith, @artgarments, @somewhereiwouldliketolive, @ettoresottsass.