Alex Clayden

Alex Clayden


The totality of my academic career was spent studying the ancients, whether Egyptian or Roman, until I shifted into textile history with this project. My research is a monographic study of British-American artist-craftsman Marian Clayden, whose innovations in surface design, fiber art, wearables, and fashion were seen on stage, screen, and runway throughout the latter half of the 20th century in the United States. I inherited her personal collection of materials from her art and career, and am working to study her unfortunately understudied artistic approach, design principles, and fashion excellence. Clayden’s work can be found in the Met, the V&A, the deYoung, and the Smithsonian Museum as well as in the archives of Los Angeles, Osaka, and the White House. Her sense of style and the support network around her saw her go from a wartime, widowed, working-class Lancashire household to New York Fashion Week and red carpets by the end of her career. She also happens to be my grandmother.

I have a decade of experience in the financial sector as a senior leader in regulatory compliance, and am also an experienced charity trustee with oversight over educational and artistic charities. I am combining my professional experience with my love for learning to drive this project forward, which will combine huge amounts of unpublished materials from Clayden’s personal collection with oral interviews from her contemporaries, business associates, employees, and friends. I hope to enrich the existing body of fashion and textile history by providing the academic world with this material, and to lead it into the future through the Marian Clayden Foundation.

Website: Marian’s personal website | The Marian Clayden Foundation

Research interests

  • Body culture
  • Performance studies
  • Post-colonialism and Post-war globalism
  • Feminism and social history
  • Art and fashion history of the 20th century
  • Racial and class history in dress


  • MA Ancient History, University College London
  • BA (Hons) in Classics/History (Double Major), University of California, Santa Cruz