Rachel is Professor of History of Dress and Fashion (since 2008). On completion of her BA degree course (history) at the University of Cambridge, MA degree course in History of Dress (Courtauld Institute of Art) and PGCE (University of Bristol), she spent a short time in fashion retailing (knitwear), successfully completing the Marks & Spencer Graduate Management Training. She joined the Arts University in 1999 as course leader for BA (Hons) Fashion Studies focusing on the history, theory and practice of fashion. She completed her PhD in 2003. In 2008-9, Rachel was awarded a TQEF industry secondment at New Look Retailers towards research into sustainable and ethical retail practice. Rachel is the author of books, articles and reviews and regularly delivers her research at conferences.
Academic Visitor, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge (2009) Visiting Professor, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London (2012-14)
- Member of the Costume Society (Trustee, Executive Committee and Chair, Education Sub-Committee, 2000-2003); Trustee, Association of Art Historians (2000–2003)
- Museum of English Rural Life (University of Reading) Research Fellowship (2012–2013)
- AHRC Research Leave (2005–2006)
Rachel’s main research interests are the history of dress and textiles from the eighteenth century to the present, with a particular emphasis on the history of working-class dress and the retailing of fashion. Recent research explores visual and literary sources for the exploration of how the study of clothing can inform our understanding of past and present societies both from the point of view of how dress is produced and consumed as well as from the perspective of how it is understood in relation to discourses of representation and for the elucidation of broader cultural contexts and motifs.
Current research is focused on a forthcoming book with Bloomsbury on the relationship between the history of dress and social class.
A successful collaborative bid was made jointly with University of Bath to Great Western Research for a fully funded PhD studentship, “Fashioning Sustainable Solutions”. PhD awarded to the student in 2012. 2010: gained SEDA qualification (Staff and Educational Development Association), ‘Supervising Postgraduate Research’.
Current Research Students:
Katherine Coates: “Regulating Fashion? Assessing the ‘Impact’ of the British Utility Scheme (1941-1952) on the Retailing and Consumption of Clothing”
Rachel Jackson: “Tracing a Methodology: Drawing and Remaking in the Context of Historical Textile and Dress Collections”