Rachel is Professor of History of Dress and Fashion (since 2008) and currently Head of Research Development. On completion of her BA, MA degree courses and PGCE, she spent a short time in fashion retail, successfully completing the Marks & Spencer Graduate Management Training. She joined AUB in 1999 as course leader, BA (Hons) Fashion Studies, responsible for a new degree in 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.
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 a variety of visual and literary sources for 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 and 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 concerned with 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’.