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What were you doing in 2010?

Thinking about which fashion design school you’d like to attend? DIY-ing your prom dress? Dreaming of a fashion empire?

Building your fashion empire?

Amit Sood was working for Google in 2010 and dreaming of an empire of his own making. He was taking advantage of Google’s “20 percent time,” which allowed employees to to spend 20 percent of their time on personal projects which may ultimately benefit the company. And while Sood had little interest in fashion, he did have a vision which would one day make inspiration accessible to fashion designers worldwide.

Sood wanted to digitize the world’s most famous works of art for all to access. He kickstarted the Google Art Project, an initiative which would make cultural artifacts from museums worldwide available to millions of internet users.

Now called the Google Cultural Institute, this non-profit arm of Google houses works of art ranging from the Dead Sea Scrolls to Chagall’s ceiling at the Opéra Garnier on a platform called Google Arts & Culture.

But fashion designers, listen up.

As if great art works weren’t enough inspiration, Google is now partnering with over 180 cultural insitutions (including the Metropolitan Musuem of Art’s Costume Institute and the Kyoto Costume Institute) to bring 3,000 years of fashion to the masses.

Google’s fashion initiative is called We Wear Culture, and you won’t believe the depth of resources it provides for designers.

Say you would like to create a collection inspired by the Punk Era. Get images, videos and music straight from the source at the British Film Institute through We Wear Culture.

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Walk the streets of London, see the sites and hear the sounds of life as a punk in the late 70s/early 80s.

Need to see a Dior ball gown up close? Why not visit the Kobe Fashion Museum in Japan? View gowns (and without fighting crowds), virtually.

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Explore the Kobe Fashion Museum at your own pace.

And have you ever heard of or seen a Romanian body-coat? Thanks to We Wear Culture, you can get up close and personal with traditional garb from across the world.

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Study your own heritage or learn about the culture of others through with access to slideshows from museums like the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant.

While We Wear Culture is a treasure trove of inspiration for designers, it’s launch couldn’t be more timely as researchers study how we work. The consulting firm McKinsey & Co. recently estimated that in the United States, 30 percent of job growth now comes from algorithmic work, meaning work that comes with a set of instructions or steps to follow to complete the job—think barista takes order, barista writes customer’s name on cup and hands cup to another barista to make your latte. The remaining 70 percent of job growth comes from heuristic work or work that is completed by experimenting with many possibilities in order to reach a solution.

Think about the fashion industry over the past decade or two and how many pattern making jobs have been automated due to advancements in technology. Algorithmic work can be outsourced or automated, a key reason for the decrease in this type of job growth vs. heuristic job growth. Heuristic work, on the other hand, is work that is artistic, empathic, original. Hueristic job growth is good news for fashion designers who do this type of work everyday. And the better news? We now have an additional resource in We Wear Culture to keep our creative banks full.

One final note. Curious about the history behind the lace featured in the header of this blog? Take a look here for the full story on the history of embroidery from Eastern Switzerland. Thank you, We Wear Culture. And thank you, Amit Sood, for your vision.

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Kara Laricks is a regular contributor to the University of Fashion. She’s also a New York based women's wear and accessories designer. As the first winner of NBC's Fashion Star, Kara has designed collections for H&M, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue. Her masculine meets feminine line, Kara Laricks, debuted at New York Fashion Week in 2012 and her S/S 2013 collection sold exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue. Kara's designs have been featured on the Today Show and HBO's True Blood as well as covered in Women's Wear Daily and on Kara holds Master's degrees in both Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Kansas and in Fashion Design from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. An educator turned designer, Kara is dedicated to supporting emerging designers and inspiring others to follow where dreams lead.