KCI collects and preserves Western costumes mainly from the seventeenth century to the present day, together with related undergarments, accessories, and other documents and items. Since its establishment, KCI has conducted research on these holdings and made its collection and research findings available to the public through exhibitions, lectures, publications, and digital archives.
KCI’s collection currently includes about 13,000 items of clothing from the sixteenth century to the present and about 16,000 documents. It also includes numerous items donated by fashion houses, designers, and collectors, such as Christian Dior, Paul Smith, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel. In particular, Comme des Garçons has donated approximately one thousand sets of clothing.
KCI views the pieces in its collection as both objects of study and items to be shown to wide-ranging audiences at exhibitions and other events. However, many venues are less than ideal environments for these items, so conservation specialists repair and reinforce them when necessary to enable them to withstand exhibition conditions.