An Archivist by Any Other Name

MARA Blog

Published: March 21, 2016 by Anna Maloney

David Casavant, a 25-year old stylist and fashion archivist, has a large collection of vintage items from high-profile designers. Using eBay and vintage clothing stores to grow his assemblage, Casavant transformed his collection into a business, renting pieces to celebrities, including Kanye West and Rihanna, for as much as $1,000 a week. If the content of his fashion archive is unique on its own, his business approach to collection sharing is even further outside traditional archival practice. Although it is not uncommon for archives to charge compensation fees to fulfill reproduction and research requests, such a high cost drastically prohibits access to archival items. Should personal collectors who use the label ‘archivist’ participate in the ethical and professional standards of the established community? Could more niche archives benefit from adopting a profit-driven management approach?

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