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Naomi Braithwaite

Associate Professor

Nottingham School of Art & Design

Staff Group(s)
Fashion marketing, management and communication


Naomi is a member of the BA (Hons) Fashion Marketing and Branding and the MA Fashion Management Marketing and Communication courses. She is also a PhD supervisor across the Fashion Knitwear and Textile and Fashion Management Marketing and Communication departments.

Naomi is an active researcher at NTU and leads a couple of collaborative projects with Hong Kong Design Institute. She works on projects that use ethnographic methods to question relationships between fashion and identity.

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.

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

This 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.

Fashioning Change

Fashioning Change explores attitudes towards garment purchase, ownership and disposal amongst fashion students at NTU and the Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI). The project aim is to explore the relationship between sustainable attitudes and behaviour, to understand whether knowledge acquired through the curriculum translates practically.

FashionMap: Documenting British High Street fashion

This project focuses on a unique collection of garments sourced from the British High Street, FashionMap, which belongs to the School of Art and Design at Nottingham Trent University (NTU). FashionMap which was started in 2000, and now  includes  over 1,900  garments  and accessories representing high  street  trends, as  sourced  from British  fashion  retailers. The collection  has  been created  through  research projects  undertaken by  second year Fashion,  Textile and  Knitwear  students at NTU.  These projects  centre  on British  high  street fashion and has culminated in the purchase of outfits that represent these trends.  Current research uses the collection to explore the evolution of the British fashion high street including shifts in retail pricing, the supply chain and garment fibre composition.

Shoe and Tell

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 was 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.

Opportunities arise to carry out postgraduate research towards MPhil/PhD in the areas identified above.

External activity

  • External Examiner BA Fashion Communication and Promotion Pathway and BA Fashion Journalism Pathway, Central Saint Martins (2013-2018)
  • External Examiner BA Hons Fashion Branding and Communication, Arts University Bournemouth (2018-2021)
  • Invited Peer Reviewer Unmaking Waste Conference, University of South Australia, Adelaide, (2018)
  • Invited Peer Reviewer Bloomsbury Academic and Routledge


  • Braithwaite N. 2018. FashionMap Situating Style in a Shifting Landscape. L. Petican, ed. Fashion and Contemporaneity, Brill Publishers.
  • Braithwaite, N. and Schlemann, A. 2018. 'Product Service Systems: A Viable Business Model for Fashion Brands? C. BECKER-LEIFHOLD and M. HEUER, eds., Eco-friendly and fair: fast fashion and consumer behavior. Sustainability in textiles . Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 132-143.
  • Braithwaite, N. 2018. Fashion, Fantasy, Power and Mystery: Interpreting Shoes through the Lens of Visual Culture. N. McCreesh and F. Carlotto Eds. Engaging with Fashion: Perspectives on Communication, Education and Business, Brill Publishers. Release date October 2018.

See all of Naomi Braithwaite's publications...

Press expertise

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