What I do
I’m a fashion historian, which involves researching and writing and speaking about the historical context of clothing and dress. My work explores the historical, political, cultural and social meaning of clothing throughout history.
There are a number of strands to what I do. I am an Associate Lecturer at London College of Fashion, and have taught at other institutions including University for the Creative Arts. I write, mostly books, which have ranged from Nautical Chic – an exploration of the impact of the sea on our wardrobe – to The Fashion of Film, which looked at the impact of cinema on style. I regularly give public talks and lectures at institutions and museums throughout the UK, and I also broadcast my research, most recently the series A Stitch in Time on BBC Four.
Jobs in research
I work across a number of industries; within each of these there are a number of jobs.
I work closely with the museum and heritage sector when I give talks and workshops, and other professions here include curators, conservators and gallery assistants.
In publishing, jobs range from picture researchers to editors, as well as authors and other writers.
Many associate lecturers pursue full time positions within academia, which range from senior lecturers to professors.
In media and broadcasting there are many vital behind-the-scenes jobs from producers (in both TV and radio) to directors, camera work, sound technicians and editors.
I’ve always been really passionate about old clothes, from charity shopping with my mum as a child to working as the buyer for an international vintage clothing company, which I did in my 20s. I’m not a maker, but I study the craft of others, and the wider stories this can tell us about history, society and culture. My career developed somewhat organically, mixing together elements that I have always enjoyed – reading, research, objects – to eventually form a coherent whole.