Amber Butchart is a fashion historian, author and broadcaster
Amber specialises in the historical intersections between dress, politics and culture. She has written books on the perennial influence of nautical dress and the impact of film on fashion, and she is regularly asked to speak at cultural hotspots from the Tate to the V&A.
Amber recently presented A Stitch in Time, a six-part series on BBC Four that fused biography, art and the history of fashion to explore the lives of historical figures through the clothes they wore. It was described as "snappy and engaging" by The Guardian, "hugely enjoyable" by The Telegraph and "mesmerising" by the Radio Times. This was followed by Civilisations Stories: The First Refugees for BBC One and BBC Four, about the Huguenot silk weavers of Spitalfields for the landmark BBC Civilisations season. Her two-part documentary for BBC Radio 4 tracked the rise of vintage clothing and the global ramifications of secondhand style. As well as her own presenting, she was the resident historian throughout series 5 of Great British Sewing Bee (see here for more broadcasting).
Amber's expertise spans a number of areas regarding the historical and cultural context of clothing. She is a National Crime Agency External Advisor as a Consultant Forensic Garment Analyst, working with Alecto Forensics on cases that require investigation of clothing and textiles and conducting training sessions on forensic garment recording (read more about this work here). She is a former Research Fellow at the University of the Arts London, and has written for The Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, Financial Times, Icon, The Pool and BBC Culture. She is a regular contributor to Frieze, writing on dress and design.
Amber began her career as Head Buyer and Trend Analyst for international vintage clothing company Beyond Retro. During this time she was interviewed for The Observer as one of the fashion world’s best buyers and photographed for Vogue as a girl with great British style. She established the Beyond Retro Design Archive which sells vintage inspiration pieces to global fashion houses, and she was a contributor to leading trend forecasting company WGSN. She has also worked as a design consultant for fashion brands.
Amber is one half of creative collaboration the Broken Hearts, whose spectacular DJ sets were described by The Independent as “a Hollywood musical on hallucinogenics.” Together they have graced stages across the globe from Paris to New York and Hong Kong for the likes of Marc Jacobs, Vivienne Westwood and Louis Vuitton. Their weekly primetime radio show on Jazz FM ran for over 3 years, earning them a Radio Academy Award nomination, and was described by The Guardian as “a cool swing music show hosted by two vintage style icons.” To find out more, visit their website.
Amber is available to write features and contribute to TV or radio productions on many aspects of fashion & beauty history. She has also worked with brands such as GHD, Avène and YSL Beauté, lending her historical expertise to their public campaigns. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a trustee of the Costume Society, a member of the Royal Historical Society and a mentor for the charity Arts Emergency.
Picture by Jo Duck
“Fashion historian Amber Butchart is part of a new generation of young, accessible historians…. They’re just as likely to tweet as tutor and are making their ideas relevant to a new and wider audience.” - The Irish Times
"Amber Butchart is a woman confident enough in her own intelligence to not find it compromised by her love of a gingham romper suit, velour turban and multicoloured nails." - The i Paper
"Extraordinarily well turned-out" - The Guardian