Amber in the forensics lab. Picture by Pedro Alvarez
Forensic Garment Analysis is the application of clothing and textile examinations to criminal investigations and historic case reviews. Amber is Lead Consultant in Forensic Garment Analysis with Alecto Forensics, working on cases that require research into clothing and textiles.
Detailed examination and recording of clothing manufacture can be integrated into an investigation and may involve establishing the date and provenance of clothing, non-clothing fabric types, fabric logos, and trademarks. These analyses can provide evidence regarding identification, provenance and dating when garments, textiles, footwear, and fashion accessories are found in association with human remains.
As a forensic skill this has largely been passed over in recent years, and the aim is to bring this back into wider forensic practice. As such, Amber conducts training sessions with Alecto on forensic garment recording for Crime Scene Investigators (CSIs) to encourage awareness in this area, and to work towards establishing a broad methodology for working with clothing in a forensic context.
Amber is listed as a Forensic Garment Analyst on the expert database of the National Crime Agency. Alongside Dr Karl Harrison she co-authored an entry for the Encyclopedia of Forensics Sciences (Elsevier), working towards a methodology for Forensic Garment Analysis as a discipline. This is an ongoing area of research, and you can read an introduction to it in The Observer.