Learn more about the professional lives of the detectives behind the investigation

Alison Matthews David taking a selfie


Principal Investigator and Co-Curator

Dr. Alison Matthews David is a Professor in the School of Fashion and the Graduate Program Director, MA Fashion, at Toronto Metropolitan University. She has a PhD from Stanford University, has published on nineteenth-century dress and material culture, and launched the open access journal Fashion Studies with Dr. Ben Barry in 2018. Her most recent research project, Fashion Victims, looked at how clothing physically harmed the health of its makers and wearers. It was published as a book in 2015, was a co-curated exhibition at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, and a co-authored book for children 9-12 years old called Killer Style

Her current project, The Fabric of Crime: A Forensic History of Fashion, investigates the theme of crime and clothing as weapon, evidence, and disguise. Exhibit A, the exhibition she is co-curating with Elizabeth Semmelhack at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto on footwear and crime, will open in November 2022.

You can find Alison on Twitter.

Elizabeth Semmelheck posing in front of the Bata Shoe Museum

Photograph by Zvelle.


Co-Investigator and Co-Curator

Elizabeth Semmelhack, co-investigator and co-curator with the Fabric of Crime project, is the Creative Director and Senior Curator of the Bata Shoe Museum, and an Adjunct Professor and Member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies and School of Fashion at Toronto Metropolitan University. Since 2000, she has curated over 20 exhibitions including Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century which she co-curated with Dr. Alison Matthews David. Other exhibitions include the blockbuster traveling exhibition Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker CultureStanding Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels, On a Pedestal: Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels, and Heights of Fashion: A History of the Elevated Shoe. Semmelhack has also written numerous books and articles including Collab: Sneakers x Culture (Rizzoli: 2019), “Women and Sneakers: From Lawn Tennis to Eugenics” (Costume, 2019), “Withering Heights: High Heels and Hegemonic Masculinity” in Crossing Gender Boundaries: Fashion to Create, Disrupt and Transcend, edited by Ben Barry and Andrew Wiley (Intellect: 2019), Shoes: The Meaning of Style (Reaktion: 2017), and Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture (Rizzoli: 2015).



Research Assistant

Myriam Couturier is a PhD candidate in the joint Communication and Culture program at Toronto Metropolitan and York Universities in Toronto, and holds an MA in Fashion from Toronto Metropolitan University. Her research centres on fashion history, gender, material, and visual culture, with a specific focus on everyday fashion and historical dress collections. Her doctoral dissertation examines the corporate archive as a fashion text. It explores how fashion—from couture originals to more affordable everyday clothing—was communicated, promoted, and collected by a major Canadian department store between 1900 and 1965, with a particular focus on the behind-the-scenes work of fashion research and visual production. 

As the research assistant for the Fabric of Crime project, Myriam has conducted research in various historical databases, including French, British, and North American newspapers, journals, court proceedings, museum collections, and in libraries and archives in London.

camilla looking over her shoulder towards the camera


Research Assistant

Camilla Leonelli Calzado is a Fashion Design undergraduate at Toronto Metropolitan University. Her research focus is textiles innovation/sustainability and fibre arts. Camilla has recently participated in the Making History Exhibition (2020) where she researched and displayed historical dress and practices; specifically the colonial era in Cuba.

Camilla is currently the research assistant on the Fabric of Crime project which will explore the theme of crime and clothing as a weapon, evidence and disguise. She will be conducting research in various historical databases, journals and museum collection. 

camilla looking over her shoulder towards the camera


Research Assistant

Sephra Lamothe is a graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University’s Fashion MA program. Sephra’s research centers on the effects of traumatic experiences and environments on material culture. As a Research Assistant for the Fabric of Crime project, Sephra completed research within various historical databases and co-curated the Captive Labour exhibition. The Captive Labour exhibition explored garment production within the Canadian Penitentiary system, highlighting the exploitative labour occurring from 1833 to the present day.

Tori Hopgood smiling at the camera with her hand on her hip

Photograph by Jonah Goldstein.


Branding and Website Design

Tori Hopgood is a graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University’s Fashion Communication program where she developed and grew her interests in art direction, graphic design and typography. She was a Research Assistant at TMU’s Fashion Research Collection where she was responsible for photographing over 450 objects ranging from 19th-century bodices to Eaton’s pumps, with her images being posted on the online catalogue and social media. Her duties also include assisting in the day-to-day upkeep of the Collection, including inventory and cataloging, and the redesign of their website. Tori is currently working as a graphic designer and art director at the clothing brand American Tall where she leads campaign photoshoots and design marketing materials.

Tori is responsible for the branding and website design for the Fabric of Crime.

Eve Townsend smiling at the camera


Conference Organizer 

Eve Townsend holds an MA (2014) in Fashion from Toronto Metropolitan University and a BA (Hons.) (2006) in Fine Art and Art History from the University of Saskatchewan. Her research focuses on the history of costume jewelry and its relation to the so-called democratization of fashion and in 2017, she co-authored a book titled Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry. 

In her role as conference organizer, Eve looks forward to liaising with Ryerson, the Bata Shoe Museum, and the Costume Society of America, to develop a dynamic and thought-provoking symposium. She will also tour conference goers through Toronto Metropolitan’s Fashion Research Collection and encourage discussions around the topic of fashion and crime.

Portrait of Eric Da Silva


Research Collaborator

Dr. Eric Da Silva is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics at Toronto Metropolitan University. His research interests and expertise focus on the use and development of non-destructive methodologies of elemental analysis using radiation-based methods. His research also focuses on the development of mimetic materials. Dr. Da Silva is a chartered Ontario chemist with a focus on the analytical chemistry of complex samples. His collaboration on the Fabric of Crime project is focused on the development of such methodologies for the elemental analysis of historical artifacts as well as exploring some of the fundamental chemistry associated with their production as per the appropriate historical period.