Professor Christopher Breward is a leading cultural historian of art and fashion. Appointed Principal of ECA in September 2011, he is also Vice Principal for the Creative Industries and Performing Arts and Professor of Cultural History at the University of Edinburgh. His many publications and exhibitions have considered the cultural history of fashion in the West, the history and status of London and other cities as global capitals of fashion, men as consumers of dress and related histories of dandyism, and ideas of fashion, modernity and memory. He has worked on major collaborative curatorial projects funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Christopher studied at the Courtauld Institute and the Royal College of Art. Prior to joining ECA as the new College’s first Principal, he held posts at Manchester Metropolitan University, the Royal College of Art, London College of Fashion (University of the Arts London) and the Victoria & Albert Museum. He is a Governor of the Pasold Institute and a Trustee of the National Museums of Scotland, Fruitmarket Gallery and Hospitalfield Arts. He sits on the Advisory Council of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the RCA, an Honorary Research Fellow at the V&A and the Research Centre for Material Culture, Leiden, and a Fellow of the RSA.
In 2012, Christopher co-curated the V&A’s Olympic season exhibition British Design: Innovation in the Modern Age 1948-2012. He has contributed catalogue essays to V&A exhibitions on Quilts, Couture, Sport and Fashion, Aestheticism, Postmodernism, David Bowie, post-war Italian Fashion, Shoes: Pleasure and Pain and Alexander McQueen and to catalogues for the exhibitions Artist, Rebel, Dandy at the Rhode Island School of Design and Ivy Style and A Queer History of Fashion at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. He sits on editorial and advisory boards for journals including Fashion Theory, Costume, The Happy Hypocrite, Visual Culture in Britain and Interiors: Design/Architecture/Culture and is series editor for Manchester University Press’s Studies in Design. He is currently working on the cultural and fashion history of Shanghai, and fashion, art, empires and nineteenth century cultures, and supervising PhD students in fashion and design/decorative arts history. His undergraduate course 'Music Style Identity and Image in the Modern Age’ won Best Course Award in the 2016-17 EUSA Teaching Awards.
In November 2017 Christopher will take up the new role of Director of Collection and Research at the National Galleries of Scotland, retaining a Visiting Professorship at ECA.