I'm Lucy and within the History of Design I specalise in Fashion History.
My background has been in History BA (with Arts and Heritage Studies) from the University of Sussex, with a continual interest in fashion. My practice mostly focuses on the construction of social and personal identities through the medium of clothing and how this impacts the individual both emotionally and socially. The emotional aspect of my research was a continuation of my undergraduate dissertation, which explored the significance of touch within the Early Modern Period witchcraft trials. Whilst learning more about the trial and interrogation process during this period, I uncovered a research avenue that greatly interested me and enabled me to discover which aspects of fashion history truly fascinated me and that being the social design of fashion, rather than the production of clothing. Therefore, with this more unique approach to Fashion History, I was able to amalgamate my passion for history and fashion together and provided me with a specific focus that I still continue to this day.
Throughout my time at the RCA, I challenged myself to keep this focus on identity construction through clothing within all my research projects, but with a different narrative applied. An example of this approach, was through my object focused essay which explored the personal and social identities through Japanese kimonos within the Edo period and how the Westernization of this piece impacted the overall symbolism and legacy of kimonos. However, it was during the research of my thesis that I realised where my true research interests lie.
Whilst maintaining my focus on identity, I established my interest in LGBTQIA+ history within Britain and how clothing became a large part of their survival during harsh times, and how many continue to use the medium of clothing to express their true identities. I achieved this through the in depth investigation of The Rebel Dykes, a group of post-punk lesbians within 1980s London, looking specifically at their connections with leather, sadomasochism and punk. I discovered during the process of my dissertation that my goal throughout my career in design history is to shed light on alternative, or unknown, narratives and how individuals carve their way into the dominant discourse despite the many obstacles that stand in their way. It is through the focus on identity construction that I can gain access to these uncovered narratives and include their voice within my work. This is why I stressed the importance of oral history within my dissertation, as I wish to bridge the gap between the academic and those who are being written about. I wish to continue strengthening my oral history skills throughout my career and pursue my aim of researching alternative narratives with fashion history, through the lens of design history.