Professor Carolyn Mair

Professor Carolyn Mair speaking about Better Lives 2015: Positive Psychology in Fashion.

Professor Carolyn Mair is a Chartered Psychologist and Fellow of the British Psychological Society based at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London where she is Professor of Psychology for Fashion.

She graduated from Bournemouth University with a BSc (Hons) in Applied Psychology and Computing, gained the MSc Research Methods from Portsmouth University and was awarded a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from Bournemouth University. Carolyn serves on the editorial boards of Psychreg Journal of Psychology and Modapalavra

Carolyn has worked in Higher Education since 1998 where she has led on multidisciplinary research projects, taught students at all levels and supervised doctoral students. At London College of Fashion, she developed the world’s first Masters and undergraduate courses to apply psychology in the context of fashion. The MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion was awarded the British Psychological Society’s 2016 Innovative Programme Award. Prior to this, she worked as a visual merchandiser, graphic designer, dress maker and portrait artist.

Carolyn’s research is multidisciplinary focusing upon understanding and supporting the development of well-being and resilience across the broad context of the fashion industries. She is also interested in enhancing students’ engagement and performance through the application of psychological science. Carolyn serves on the editorial boards of Psychreg Journal of Psychology and Modapalavra

How did you move into Psychology?

I had always been fascinated by Psychology and was always keen to understand what made people tick! When the opportunity arose, I went to University for the first time in my 30s to study Applied Psychology and Computing. I loved being a student and realised I was quite good at it, so I continued my education and the rest is history."

Carolyn went on to complete her PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience and achieve Chartered status as a Psychologist and Scientist. She has been the Principal Investigator on a number of funded research projects, working on topics as diverse as the impact of student satisfaction and engagement on retention in higher education; the impact of debiasing strategies on cost estimation; and a study which found that moderate, rather than intense exercise and healthy eating led to better performance on a working memory test. Carolyn also reviews for many funding bodies and scholarly journals.

Why did you develop the MA Psychology for Fashion Professionals and MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion?

I developed the new Masters courses because there was no other provision in the world for applying evidence-based psychology in a fashion context. Although fashion is inherently about people and fashion theorists discuss the reciprocal roles of psychological processes such as identity, emotion, memory, perception and communication on fashion, they tend to do so with limited or no theoretical knowledge of psychology. The new courses will address this gap in knowledge for the first time and produce psychologically literate* graduates with enhanced analytical and critical thinking skills who can apply evidence based psychology to increase understanding and knowledge, improve performance and ultimately, well-being."

*Psychological literacy is the ability and aptitude to use psychological knowledge and skills in everyday life to address personal, societal and community matters by looking to data instead of personal opinion. Psychologically literate citizens are good communicators, clear thinkers with strong research and technology skills who work well alone and as part of a team.

What inspires you in terms of your area of practice?

Psychology is important in every endeavour in which humans are involved and cognitive psychology enables us to understand the inner workings of the mind and predict behaviour whether we’re concerned with imagination, creativity, communication, memory or perception."

Carolyn organises the annual Better Lives lecture series, which for 2014 focused on 'isms' in fashion: ageism, racism, ablism. Read more about Better Lives on the LCF News blog.