Hello I’m Laura! I am a student at the University of Derby, studying a Master’s in Public History and Heritage. I have a background in Fashion, Marketing and Heritage and a lifelong love affair with clothing, textiles and textiles crafts.
For the last eight or so years I have been living, working and bringing up a family in Europe and Southeast Asia. This experience fuelled my interest in heritage, culture and identity formation, and how people communicate and visibly express their cultural identity. Veiled Voices 2020 is a result of this interest, my personal experience of returning to the UK and my alarm at the prejudice and type of language being used openly and daily to women with regard to their sartorial choices.
My passion and interest in clothing developed at a young age, fed by the multicultural community I grew up in, in Bristol. This led me to study a Batchelor’s degree with honours in Fashion at Surrey Institute of Art & Design, where I focused on Menswear; examining, experimenting and combining pattern cutting techniques from traditional Indian costume with traditional English tailoring techniques inspired by historic military uniform.
The skills I developed enabled me to work across multiple industries, including fashion, publishing and the heritage sector. Utilising my creative and organisational skills I particularly enjoy working in events management and communications and have even been known to turn my hand to writing for magazines and heritage publications.
I firmly believe that women should have the freedom to express themselves through clothes and be able to wear whatever they choose and feel comfortable in. For me the language of clothes, their ability to communicate our inner world, attitudes, beliefs, aspirations or dreams is something to be celebrated. However, I recognise that this symbolic, non-verbal communication is then open to interpretation and without knowledge, understanding and dialogue, messages can and are misunderstood. As a result, the veil, and its wearers, have been repeatedly subjected to attack and criticism. Veiled Voices 2020 is a research project which aims to facilitate conversations, encourage intercultural understanding and develop cross cultural appreciation of clothing as personal and cultural heritage communication.
I am super excited to be leading this research project, bringing together my passion for clothing, craft, heritage, culture, meeting people and talking! I hope you’ll join the conversation!