Naomi Braithwaite

Naomi Braithwaite

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer

School of Art & Design


Naomi is part of the BA (Hons) Fashion Marketing and Branding team, where she oversees the final year module. She also teaches on the MA Fashion Management Marketing and Communication courses, and is a PhD supervisor.

Career overview

In 2012 Naomi achieved a doctorate from Nottingham Trent University in the discipline of material culture, titled: 'Shoe Design: an Ethnographic Study of Creativity'. The empirical focus of the thesis centred on the creative practice of a number of British, luxury shoe designers. This study further developed research undertaken as part of her MRes in Anthropology at UCL. Naomi comes from an interdisciplinary background having previously received a BA (Hons) in Theology and History of Art at The University of Bristol, followed by the MA in The History of Textiles and Dress at Winchester School of Art (University of Southampton).

In 2014 Naomi joined CIE-MAP (the Centre for Industrial Energy Materials and Products) as a Research Fellow in Product Lifetimes. Prior to taking up this Research Fellowship she had lectured extensively at NTU, HKDI and Manchester Metropolitan University in the fields of International Fashion Business, Fashion Marketing, Branding, Promotion and Communication, Consumer Trends, Research Methods and Design and Visual Culture. As well as lecturing on the Fashion Marketing and Branding undergraduate degree Naomi supervises projects at Master's and Doctoral level.

Naomi worked for 13 years in the designer shoe industry as an International Sales and Retail Manager, managing and developing high profile accounts in the USA, Europe, Australia and the Far East.

Research areas

Naomi's PhD explored the creative and commercial practice of a number of niche British shoe designers. Using ethnography she revealed how these shoe designers practice and experience creativity. She has been involved in the Global Denim Project and has carried out research that explored the emotional attachment women have with their high heeled shoes.

Naomi's research at CIE-MAP focused on consumer behaviour and attitudes towards product lifetimes at household, business and government levels. Her work explored expectations regarding product lifetimes from both the users and the suppliers perspectives and sought to question how far expectations are met.

Current Research Projects

Style and Identity: The art of fitting in is a collaborative project with Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) which uses style as a method for exploring how individuals construct identity in a new urban environment. The project applies a visual ethnographic approach and examines the style choices of international students in Nottingham and Hong Kong. The objective is to understand how a new and distinct cultural environment may influence the style choices of these individuals as they attempt to conform to being in a new place. The students’ style choices present an opportunity to understanding how visual identity evolves and is negotiated in these two different cities. The images and supporting narratives bring to life an international student’s experience of being in the city of Nottingham and the hyper-modern metropolis of Hong Kong.

Shoe and Tell is a celebration of teenage identity. The footwear choices of teenagers in Nottingham, aged 15-19, is the focal point of understanding the transition of identity, from childhood towards adulthood. The research uses creative workshops to explore the role of shoes in interpreting how teenagers negotiate identity through everyday life.

An exhibition of the research is part of the Being Human Festival 2017, led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, 17 – 25 November 2017.

External activity

Naomi is an external examiner at Central Saint Martins 2014-2018. She write extensively on shoes and has a chapter published in the Victoria and Albert Museum catalogue Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, and is involved in some future exhibition and events to be held at the Shoe Museum in Northampton.

Guest lectures:

  • Fashioning stories: what clothing and shoes can disguise and reveal about the self, Keynote paper, Disguise, Marginalised Mainstream, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, The University of London, November 29 2014
  • In conversation with Kobi Levi, Northampton Shoe Museum, June 4 2014.


Braithwaite, N. (2015). ‘From Paragons to Melting Pots: The Changing Role of Cities in Fashion’. The Conversation.

Braithwaite, N. (2015). 'Health warning: five fashion trends that are terrible for you'. The Conversation.

Braithwaite, N. (2015). 'The history of shoes has been frivolous, ridiculous and extreme'. The Conversation.

Braithwaite, N. (2015). From crowns and lace to bubble bath necklaces – the morphing meaning of luxury. The Conversation.

Braithwaite, N. (2015). What your shoes say about you (quite a lot, actually). The Conversation.

See all of Naomi Braithwaite's publications...

Press expertise

  • Shoe design
  • The meaning of shoes
  • What shoes say about people
  • Sustainable design