Dr Jade Halbert
- Position: Lecturer in Design Studies
- Areas of expertise: design history; fashion history; costume history; manufacturing and production; modern British history; fashion studies; material culture
- Email: J.Halbert@leeds.ac.uk
- Location: 1.67 Clothworkers Central
- Website: Twitter | Googlescholar | ORCID
I am a historian with interests in the histories of manufacturing and mediation in fashion, costume, and textiles. Concentrating on oral histories and other first-hand accounts from the workroom and the wardrobe, my research is focused on recovering the unwritten histories of making with emphasis on the transmission of manual expertise across a range of production contexts.
My ESRC-funded PhD, ‘Marion Donaldson and the Business of British Fashion, 1966–1999’ (University of Glasgow, 2018) interrogated the history of the post-war fashion industry taking the fashion business, Marion Donaldson as its central case study. By prioritising oral histories in its primary evidence, it offered a more complex but also contingent understanding of British fashion than has previously been possible, enabling a recontextualization and reconsideration of hitherto undervalued cultures of production and manufacture.
I have continued to develop this work, publishing award-winning research on black markets in fashion factories, cultural economies of knitting, and the development of amateur retail networks in 1960s Scotland. From 2019 to 2020 I was an AHRC/BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker. In this role I have written and presented a range of radio content including The Sunday Feature episode ‘The Endless Demise of the High Street’ and two episodes of The Essay: ‘Not Quite Jean Muir’, in which I put history and theory into practice by attempting to make a dress following an original Jean Muir pattern, and ‘Drama, Dressing-up, and Droopy & Browns’ in which I traced the history of the iconic Yorkshire fashion business Droopy & Browns and its charismatic designer, Angela Holmes.
I am co-editor of Disseminating Dress: Britain’s Fashion Networks, 1600–1970 (Bloomsbury, 2022) and Everyday Fashion (Bloomsbury, in preparation).
My research interests coalesce around themes of design and its material interpretation and realisation in fashion and costume. Concentrating on oral histories and other first-hand accounts from the workroom, the factory, and the wardrobe, I am focused on recovering the unwritten histories of making with emphasis on the transmission of manual expertise across a range of production contexts from hand-knitting and haute couture to the rag trade and mass-production.
I am currently working in collaboration with Dr Veronica Isaac on Constructing Costume Histories, a research project that establishes the central role of costume making and costume makers in the long and vibrant history of British performance: https://www.constructingcostumehistories.co.uk/
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>
- PhD, History, University of Glasgow
- MLitt, Dress and Textile Histories, University of Glasgow
- BA (Hons) Fashion Promotion (journalism), London College of Fashion
I teach design history and research methods across the School of Design and also supervise research projects related to my areas of expertise.<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>