A dress historian and curator, I have worked with a wide range of dress and textile collections. These have included the Goldsmiths Textile Collection, Leeds Museums and Galleries designated costume and textile collection, the collection of the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles, and Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service. I curated exhibitions, facilitated audience engagement and events and led on collections management and documentation projects. Before working as a specialist costume curator I worked in libraries, in the exhibitions department at the Victoria and Albert Museum and taught fashion history and theory.
My AHRC funded doctoral research project ‘Fashion for the High Street: The Design and Making of Menswear in Leeds 1945-1980’ revealed the often overlooked but highly significant role of the Leeds multiple tailors in the history of British men’s clothing and fashion. These companies included the national chains of Montague Burton Ltd (now Arcadia) and Joseph Hepworth & Sons (which became Next in the 1980s). The study took a dress historical approach combining object study, oral history and personal accounts, company archives and trade literature to look at the design, production and consumption of the men’s tailoring made by the Leeds multiples. The research was undertaken in collaboration with Leeds Museums and Galleries.
The history of menswear and masculinities is the main focus of my research. I am particularly interested in the use of methodologies such as object study and oral history to reveal the richness and diversity of men's experiences and relationships with their clothing in the past. My research also investigates the relationships between design, production and consumption of fashion and clothing with an emphasis on mass produced and everyday dress.