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Dr. Alison Matthews David

Dr. Alison Matthews David

Dr. Alison Matthews David

MA Fashion Program Director and Associate Professor

Education

  • PhD Art History, Stanford University

Email: amdavid@ryerson.ca

Dr. Alison Matthews David was awarded a PhD in Art History from Stanford University. She is a historian of dress and textiles, focusing on the nineteenth and early twentieth-century fashion, accessories and material culture. Her work intersects with multiple areas including medical history, criminology, and occupational health. Her creative work includes fashion curation, and she launched the journal Fashion Studies with her co-editor Dr. Ben Barry in 2018. She is currently the Graduate Program Director for Ryerson’s MA Fashion program.

  • History of Costume
  • Graduate Seminar
  • MA History/Theory I
  • MA History/Theory II

My most recent research project, Fashion Victims, looked at how clothing physically harmed the health of its makers and wearers. My current project, Unraveling Crime: A Forensic History of Fashion, investigates the theme of crime and clothing as weapon, evidence, and disguise from 1840-1940.

Fashion Victims was published as a book in 2015, was a co-curated exhibition at the Bata Shoe Museum from 2014-2018, and as of April 2019 a co-authored book for children 9-12 called Killer Style. My current project, Unraveling Crime: A Forensic History of Fashion, investigates the theme of crime and clothing as weapon, evidence, and disguise from 1840-1940. My most recent article, “First Impressions,” investigates the use of footprints in crime fiction and forensics. Unraveling Crime’s first outcome will be a co-curated exhibition entitled Exhibit A in October 2020 on footwear and forensic evidence with Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator and Director of the Bata Shoe Museum.

Fashion Studies, a new open-access, peer reviewed online journal in the field of Fashion Studies.

Find link here: https://www.fashionstudies.ca/, external link
Year: 2017-present
Role: Co-founder and Co-editor with Dr. Ben Barry Unraveling Crime: A Forensic History of Fashion

Year: 2017-2022
Role: Principal Investigator with Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator of the Bata Shoe Museum (co-investigator)
Funding received: $108,000
Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present

Year: 2011-2014
Role: Principal Investigator with Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator of the Bata Shoe Museum (co-investigator)
Funding received: $37,400
Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) 3-year Standard Grant

Fall 2020 (upcoming) Exhibit A on footwear and forensic evidence, Bata Shoe Museum, co-curated with Elizabeth Semmelhack.

2014-2018 Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of 19th Century Dress, Bata Shoe Museum, co-curated with Elizabeth Semmelhack. http://batashoemuseum.ca/fashion-victims/

, external link
Matthews David, Alison. Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present,
London: Bloomsbury, 2015. (paperback 2017, translated into Russian, Mandarin and
Japanese) https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/fashion-victims-9781350005082/

, external link
Matthews David, Alison and Serah-Marie McMahon, Killer Style: How Fashion Has
Injured, Maimed and Murdered Through History
, for 9-12 year old readers, co-authored
with Serah-Marie Macmahon, Owlkids Publishers, Toronto, April 2019.
https://shop.owlkids.com/products/killer-style?variant=12486169493553

, external link
Matthews David, Alison. “First Impressions: Footprints as Forensic Evidence in Crime
Fact and Fiction.” Costume: The Journal of the Costume Society (UK), Special Issue in
Honour of June Swann, (University of Edinburgh Press), March 2019, 53:1, 43-66.
https://www.euppublishing.com/doi/full/10.3366/cost.2019.0095

, external link
Matthews David, Alison. “Body Doubles: The Origins of the Fashion Mannequin” in
Fashion Studies, Issue 1, June 2018, pp.1-46. https://www.fashionstudies.ca/body-doubles

, external link
Matthews David, Alison and Elizabeth Semmelhack. “The Pleasures and Perils of
Collaboration: Researching and Curating the Fashion Victims Exhibition at the Bata
Shoe Museum,” with Elizabeth Semmelhack, in The Musealisation of Fashion, eds.
Güdrun M. König and Gabriele Mentges. Munich and New York: Waxmann, (July 2019).

Matthews David, Alison. “Criminal Fronts and Undercover Cops: Fashioning Deception
Through Dress” in Fashion and Lies Special Issue of Russian Fashion Theory: The
Journal of Dress, Body, and Culture
, 43 (Spring 2017) 213-228.

Matthews David, Alison. “Tainted Love: Oscar Wilde’s Toxic Green Carnation,
Queerness, and Chromophobia” in Colors in Fashion, eds. Jonathan Faiers and Mary
Westerman Bulgarella, London: Bloomsbury, 2016: 127-142.

Matthews David, Alison. “Blazing Ballet Girls and Flannelette Shrouds: Fabric, Fire,
and Fear in the Long Nineteenth Century.” In Emotional Objects Special Issue of Textile:
The Journal of Cloth and Culture
, May 2016, 14:2: 244-267.

Da Silva, E., Matthews David, A. and Pejović-Milić, A. “The quantification of total lead
in lipstick specimens by total reflection X-ray fluorescence spectrometry,” X-ray
Spectrometry
, 44, (2015): 451-457.