Calvin Klein's apartment
Calvin Klein’s apartment (Photo: Courtesy of @DISCO_ART_DECO)

We really do have the whole world in our hands. Aesthetically pleasing pictures, relatable zodiac memes and hilarious reels aside, Instagram can be a source for digital conservation and archiving. Below GRAZIA explores some of our favorite archival Instagram accounts that focus on fashion, culture, design and the in-between.


Run by designer Jonathan Alexander, this Instagram account lets you live out your Studio 54 dreams. Archiving sexy, stylish interiors of the 1970s and 1980s — Disco Art Deco is a crash course in late 20th century modernist furnishings, lighting and design: Think Halston’s iconic all-red Olympic Tower office, or the artwork of Mel Odom.

Grazia: Where did the inspiration for creating this account come from?

Disco Art Deco: Inspiration from this account came from my interest in vintage gay erotica and my passion for interior design. I started to imagine the overlap between queer culture and the design work being produced by those people at that time. What were the designers doing during their off time? What kind of extracurricular activities were they getting into?

As a designer, has curating this account informed your design practice and/or aesthetic?

This research has definitely informed my current aesthetic. I seek out pieces that defined this era, and I don’t mind if looks too much like a set piece. It’s all about the fantasy for me. It was all about the fantasy back then too.

While also archiving iconic modernist design and designers you’re also, in a way, preserving queer culture, right? 

As queer people we are free to imagine our own reality in a lot of ways. I hope I’m playing a part in preserving this history. AIDS took away so many incredibly creative individuals and I feel a responsibility to keep their memory alive and celebrate their work.

Favorite room or favorite chair?

My favorite room? Anything at 55 Rue de Babylone (Yves Saint Laurent’s Paris apartment). YSL + the finest pieces of Art Deco=a no brainer.


Created by fashion writer, curator and PhD candidate, Rikki Bryd, the Black Fashion Archive is a digital archival space dedicated to fashion history across the Black Diaspora. She features archival fashion editorial images, vintage Black Fashion, cultural advertisements, and sourced images of Black people in everyday life — Bryd and her team have created a vital platform in preserving the impact of Black fashion and style.

How did the idea for this archive account come about?

When I’m doing research, I come across a lot of images that aren’t necessarily related to a project I’m working on (or that I won’t use in the final iteration of my project). So, I created Black Fashion Archive to share those images and engage with people with similar interests.

Beyond just pictures you’re offering critical historical context to the images. How do you curate the content?

There are a few ways: Sometimes, it’s literally just images that I’ve come across recently in the many online archives that I visit. Other times, I add historical context to something happening currently (for example, if a celebrity passes or someone pays homage to a historical moment or person). I recently brought on an intern, Julian Randall, and he and I have been creating packages for certain events or holidays. Recently, we did a package on fashion looks in Oscars history and another one for Mother’s Day.

Do you have a personal fashion archive or fashion print media archive yourself? 

A few years ago, I inherited my maternal grandmother’s family photos, so that’s become an archive for me that I enjoy going through. My mother’s a fashion designer (Roi & Rik) so I keep a box of items she’s designed over the years, as well. Other than my family archive, my home is filled with archival items such as a hot comb, Afro pick, Ebony and Jet Magazines.

Favorite moment in fashion history?

I’ve been getting this question a lot lately! Ha. I’ve been reflecting on Air Force 1s a lot lately. I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri, so when Nelly debuted the song “Air Force 1s,” it was really a fun moment for youth in the city and the shoe became a cultural item we could sort-of lay claim to and that connected us. Some years ago, they resurfaced as a hot item to wear, and I was always annoyed because, like most things, I was like “Black people made them cool first.”


This account perfectly captures the essence of the nightlife of yesterday. We’re talking cultural events thrown by queer Black and Latinx people — raves, warehouse parties, iconic house records, throw in some disco and vintage ballroom footage — and you’re instantly transported back to the party scene of times past.

How did the idea for this account come about?

The idea for the account was inspired really by my friends. Most of the content I post are videos I’ve been collecting for years, from my likes or favorites playlists on YouTube, or videos I’ve ripped and saved that no longer exist on Youtube or Vimeo. So when my friends come over I show them the videos I’ve been collecting and they recommended that I start an Instagram account and share all this stuff. I also started this account in February (of 2021) as my way of celebrating Black History Month.

Your archive spans many different subsets with it all tying back to dance/house music and queer culture. How do you curate this account?

I try to hit different categories with posts from different perspectives but as you mentioned it all in some way ties back to queer culture — so my usual post cycle is: clubs and raves, the dancers, the actual songs/tracks, the DJs, ballroom pictures and videos, club kids, classic party flyers, as well as the party culture of New York, Chicago, and Detroit, in general. Sometimes it’s really just posting content as I discover it.

What’s a club-specific era you wish you could have experienced?

Without a doubt Paradise Garage (an iconic New York Discotheque in the late seventies and eighties).

Favorite house record?

Adonis–“No Way Back”


Taking its name from an iconic line from Tyra Banks’ early aughts competition show, ‘America’s Next Top Model’, “HBTMIF” is the passion project of fashion writer Olivia Dent. Dent uses the platform to explore a mix of post spotlighting contemporary Black fashion from today and yesterday, editorials photographed by Black photographers, archival runway footage, and curated segments focusing on important cultural fashion products.

When and why did you feel the need to create this archival account?

At the beginning of quarantine last year just like everyone else, I had the most down time I’ve had in years. Kim Daniels (TheKimbino on Instagram) posted fashion research related activities to do during quarantine. I’ve always loved fashion and as I started to do more research I wanted a place to house everything I loved and stumbled upon.

You achieve this really strong mix of giving context to current contemporary fashion while also interjecting cultural fashion history moments. How do you curate this?

History always repeats itself. I’m a strong believer in you’ll know where to go when you know where you’ve been. I pull current fashion moments from current events — AKA what everyone is talking about on Twitter — so people can be in the know and give flowers to those who are still here. For fashion history moments, I usually start on Pinterest and do a deep dive on images that catch my eye.

Do you have a personal fashion archive or fashion print media archive yourself? 

I’m currently working on both! My personal fashion archive is coming along slowly but surely. My fashion print media archive grows by the day, if a Black photographer does a great magazine cover I’ll most likely pick it up and I love coffee table books too.

Favorite moment in fashion history?

So hard there are so many! One of my favorite fashion moments is probably during the VH1/ Vogue Fashion Awards in 1999 when Lil’ Kim presented Lee (Alexander) McQueen with an award and he bows to her and tells everyone she’s his idol. Black women are the blueprint!


Fashion historian and archivist Tianni Janae’ has carved out a niche for her documentation of Black fashion history in general but more specifically her preservation of fashion from the 90s and early aughts. Archive Alive is a massive platform that expands across multiple social media channels — IG and Twitter — that explores archival fashion editorial images, digital scans from now defunct Black fashion magazines, iconic photoshoots of Black stars and the expansive style contributions of iconic fashion figures.

You cover a large scope of fashion history but you have the 99s/00s on lock. What makes that era so special to you?

The 90s/00s era is so special to me because it parallels the mid-1960s space age and youthquake era. Both eras experienced monumental advancements in technology across industries which directly influenced their aesthetics but in the 90s/00s, there’s an excess of wealth and the evidence of diversity and inclusion is far greater. We also see Black creators begin to actually have equity in their respective industries i.e. the surge of the “urban” market and “ghetto fabulous” aesthetic.

Not only does the account cover fashion but the breadth of music and culture as well. How do you go about curating the page?

Generally, I post what I don’t see elsewhere on the internet, people I feel that deserve to be highlighted, and moments in time that evoke emotion. On a curatorial level, I live for a color story and that is determined based on how I feel.

Most prized possession in your personal fashion/fashion print media archive? 

I’ll give 2: Soul by Thierry Le Gouès. It’s the most expensive book I own and is the first book I purchased on the out-of-print market and the other is Interview Magazine, the November 1999 issue covered by Lil’ Kim. I absolutely stan Kim and after I purchased this issue, I noticed it skyrocket on the market so I caught a major steal.

Favorite moment in fashion history?

Stephen Burrows was the only Black designer in the Battle of Versailles and the never-before-seen representation of Black models en masse!