Anushka Tay

Dress + Chinese diaspora

I am a PhD student at the London College of Fashion, researching Chinese diaspora fashion, and the dress histories of the British Chinese across the 20th and 21st centuries. My PhD is entitled Chinoiserie Outside China 1945-present. My PhD is fully-funded by an Arts & Humanities Research Council Technē studentship. 

Click here for my Techne student research profile.

Research Methods

I am experienced in:

  • Object analysis, especially historical garments, tailoring, textiles, Asian dress, knitting

  • Visual analysis: photography, painting and art

  • Screen and stage: film, TV, theatre & performance

  • Museum collections & archives

  • Interviewing: semi-structured

  • Oral history recording methods

  • Interview transcription

I frequently combine differing qualitative research methods, including interviewing and object analysis. My research is strongly influenced by my practice-based background as a designer and maker of performance costume, through my BA in Performance Costume, and 10 years’ industry experience. Prior to commencing my PhD, my work incorporated the study and re-creation of historical tailoring and dressmaking methods.

My hands-on experience in garment construction has proved invaluable when examining physical examples of global historical dress in museums archives, as well as their representations on screen and in print. My research into fashion and dress cultures is thus able to inform multiple fields: design for stage, screen and fashion; handcrafts, particularly tailoring, sewing and knitting; and academic research.

Current Activities

I am now recruiting participants for my study. If you are a British Chinese person with clothing thoughts & memories to share, please do get in touch. I would like to interview people who are happy to identify with & discuss their Chinese ethnicity, who may have been born outside the UK, or within the UK.


A sample of my personal collection of cheongsam from London, Singapore and Malaysia