The collection includes a stunning range of British and international printed, woven and embroidered textiles from the 18th century to the present day. E. Y. Johnston, textile designer and Chair of the Board of Governors of the College, donated his own personal collection of textiles from India, Turkey and China. The Sarah Mitchell collection includes beading, embroidery and lace which she created and collected.
Additional highlights include embroidery from Guizhou province in China, early 19th century silks from Spitalfields weavers Stone and Kemp, woven Indian ikat, Spitalfield silk fabric from the wedding dress of James Watt's aunt, and beautiful lace curtains from Ayrshire company Alexander Morton.
As well as textiles, the collection includes a range of printed material relating to the textile industry. These include dress and knitting patterns from the 1930s to 1980s, colour trend guides from the British Colour Council and Bilbille, articles and publicity material about the Scottish textile industry.