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John M. Flaxman Library SAIC School of the Art Institute of Chicago

How to Use the Fashion Resource Center

Banner reading "Visiting the FRC"

The following FRC procedures are in place to organize and maintain its growing collection, as well as efficiently meet the diverse needs of SAIC’s community in a welcoming and supportive environment. More information about the FRC is available on their website:

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Hours + Location

Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Closed on the weekends and SAIC holidays

7th Floor, 36 S Wabash Ave (Sullivan Building)

Scheduling an Individual or Class Visit

Schedule your visit here.

  • Appointments should be scheduled at least 24 hours before, to allow FRC staff enough time to prepare for your visit.

  • Each appointment is for 1 hour and you may schedule back-to-back appointments to accommodate multiple groups.

  • When making an appointment please specify which garments, accessories and/or print materials we can set aside for you ahead of time. You can also provide us with a theme or materials of interest and FRC staff can make suggestions and pull items aside for your consideration.

  • The collection can be searched in the following ways:

    • The FRC’s Online Database for garments and accessories.

    • The Flaxman Library Catalog for FRC books and look books.

    • You may also contact FRC Director Alex Aubry at to schedule a time to select items prior to your visit. On the day of your visit, items will be set aside and placed on a movable rack or dress forms per your instructions.

    • Faculty will also receive a list of selected items with active links to their page on the database. This document can be shared with students on Canvas and the FRC will also maintain a folder of faculty selections for future reference.

  • In order to allow faculty and students to actively engage with collections and provide the space for proper and safe handling of items, we limit groups to 10-12 at a time. This means larger classes will have to be divide into two groups, in keeping with Library + Special Collections standard practices.

  • Please arrive on time for your scheduled visit and not go over your allotted time, to allow FRC staff to prepare for the next appointment.

  • The FRC’s director and staff are available for research consultations during scheduled visits.

What to Expect During Your Visit

  • When entering the FRC individuals must sign in, as we maintain a record of all visitors entering the space.

  • All visitors must leave bags, coats, markers/pens, food and liquids outside the FRC and sign in at the front desk.

Policies and Procedures

This information will be shared with Fashion Department students, and we appreciate faculty reiterating these procedures to maintain expectations.

As a Special Collection, all items are non-circulating and must remain in FRC for use by our community. The Flaxman Library can assist in obtaining circulating copies of materials needed. FRC Items checked out in the past should be returned.

The FRC offers visitors scanning services. Patrons may select pages or chapters from books during their visit, which FRC staff will scan and email to them the same day. If a scanning request is placed after 4pm on Friday, they will receive their scans on Monday.

Additionally, B/W copy machines are available on the 7th floor, which also scan in color, as well as the color copier on the 12th floor of the Sullivan Center, are available for non-FRC copying activities.

The work of organizing and maintaining the FRC’s growing collection continues within a small space. Group or individual browsing should not take place in the FRC’s wardrobe to ensure the collection remains organized and to avoid damaging items. If a faculty member prefers to come in and select items from the wardrobe prior to a visit, they must contact FRC Director, Alex Aubry (, to arrange a time and date to meet, as items may have been moved to a new location on the upper racks.

The FRC is a dedicated research space and should not be used to hold meetings. You may reserve the Fashion Department’s conference room or studio space for this purpose.

Other Requests
FRC Director, Alex Aubry, is available to assist with any requests or resources that fall within the FRC’s procedure.


During studio classes, the FRC will be open for faculty and student walk-ins to briefly reference items in the collection during open hours and include no more than five individuals. If there the FRC is full during a walk-in, you will be asked to return at a later time.

  • Please stop by FRC Director Alex Aubry’s office first to indicate which materials you are looking for, to assist with retrieving items that may have moved to a different location in the FRC.

  • FRC walk-ins are meant to support learning and instruction during studio hours, and should not be used for group or individual visits requiring 30 minutes or more. For the latter, you may schedule an appointment.

  • The same expectations for scheduled visits apply to walk-ins.

Additional Resources for Instructors

  • Prior to visiting the FRC, we advise faculty to share the FRC’s comprehensive orientation video on Canvas (or screen it in class). It provides the same information that would be included during an in-person visit. FRC visits should be used for research or instructional purposes.

  • You can also provide students with a link to the FRC's website, which includes links to the resources mentioned here.

  • The website also includes our growing selection of faculty instructional videos illustrating construction and draping techniques using examples in the FRC’s collection.

  • The FRC's Online Resource Guide can be shared with students on Canvas. It contains links to additional fashion related resources available to our community through the Flaxman Library, such as the Berg Fashion LibraryWWD, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar digital archives, and the Fashion Video Archive. A copy of the guide is provided to faculty and students at the beginning of each semester. You may also request a copy from FRC Director, Alex Aubry (

  • FRC Director Alex Aubry, also offers visually immersive zoom lectures illustrating different approaches to research using FRC materials. Please contact Alex to schedule a 1 hour zoom lecture for your class (