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The past that is becoming the present

The importance of digitising business archives and museums. The case of the fashion industry

A good business culture that has put itself on show, whilst taking advantage of the tools for digitalisation that are now available. This is what has happened in the past few months, as the economic and social system has felt the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Alongside the dissemination of knowledge, recent events have provided an opportunity to better assess – in a process that is still ongoing – how much more needs to be done to make more efficient use of new technologies for the dissemination of business activities.

An analysis of what has taken place in the fashion sector has been carried out by Chiara Pompa (researcher at the Department of Science for the Quality of Life at the University of Bologna), in her work “La memoria ‘estesa’ della moda. Come valorizzare l’heritage aziendale con la tecnologia” (The ‘extended’ memory of fashion. How to enhance corporate heritage with technology), which appeared a few weeks ago in ZoneModa Journal.

Her study begins with the observation that in the last few months of lockdown and social distancing – essential measures for countering the spread of Covid-19 – the fashion world has opened the doors of its digital databases, sharing its cultural heritage with the online community. This is a sign of a great corporate culture that is accessible to all, but also of initiative, explains Chiara Pompa, which is “able to provoke reflection on the accessibility of fashion archives, as well as on the uses that can be made of these.”

Pompa analyses the events of recent months from various perspectives. Indeed, while the digital opening of the archives has served to provide useful information on the progress of digitisation, it has also highlighted the limited use of so-called Extended Reality in the corporate archives and museums of the “fashion system”, which has adopted this technology mainly in B2B and B2C retail.

As such, beginning with an analysis of the current state of affairs, Chiara Pompa attempts to trace potential paths for future research projects in this field, with a view to enhancing and facilitating access to fashion heritage through augmented and virtual reality technologies. This would also result in a greater appreciation of the usefulness of business archives and museums which, when properly understood, can serve not only as “historical collections” but also (and above all) as “living workplaces”, at the disposal of businesses and more.

La memoria ‘estesa’ della moda. Come valorizzare l’heritage aziendale con la tecnologia  (The ‘extended’ memory of fashion. How to enhance corporate heritage with technology)

Chiara Pompa (Università di Bologna)

ZoneModa Journal. Vol.10 No.2 (2020)