Amber Butchart

Photo by Kensington Leverne

Amber is a Fashion Historian, Associate Lecturer at LCF and alumna of the College. Here she talks about her experiences of studying and teaching here.

Tell us about your professional experience and background?

I’m a fashion historian so when I’m not teaching at LCF I’m often giving public talks or writing books about what the fashion of the past can tell us about society, power and politics. Before that I was the Head Buyer for a vintage clothing company, Beyond Retro. 

What do you do at LCF?

I’m an Associate Lecturer in the Cultural and Historical Studies department. I also teach a short course, Fashion History: Evolution of Style.

You are a fashion historian and studied on the MA History and Culture of Fashion (now MA Fashion Cultures) postgraduate course here. Tell us about your time as a student at LCF?

I loved studying at LCF as it gave me huge insight into the area I now work. After the MA I was also a visiting Research Fellow between LCF and Saint Martins, researching the links between fashion and film. Many of the areas I studied here – fashion and film, and also the history of nautical style – I have subsequently turned into books including Nautical Chic and The Fashion of Film: How Cinema has Inspired Fashion so my learning here has had a huge impact. 

Did your MA set you in good stead for teaching?

I actually started teaching undergraduates while I was doing the MA – so yes.

What do you think you offer LCF students?

In the department I teach in we offer students a theoretical background for their practice, to contextualise their design and making. I hope I can help them with this, and offer enthusiasm and encouragement along the way.

What do you learn from them?

Sharing cultural references with students is always eye-opening as there are often performance artists, films or musicians that I’m not aware of, and vice versa. It’s also fantastic to see how their ideas grow and develop over the course of their time here, feeding into their craft. It’s an inspiring process to watch.

What inspires and excites you in terms of your area of practice?

The research process always inspires and excites me. I’m just starting on my next book, for the British Library, so I’m hugely excited about beginning the research process here – it’s a cliché but it’s always an amazing journey of discovery.

What do graduates of the course go on to do?

I teach a range of students from costume design to make up and prosthetics, fashion journalism and creative direction, so it’s pretty wide ranging in terms of future careers. It’s exciting to see all the possibility and potential. 

And briefly, how would you sum up the LCF experience to prospective students.

World class education in London – which is a vital area for the fashion industry but also for art and culture in general – we’re surrounded by museums and galleries. So there’s all-round inspiration for art and design students.