By Alison Matthews David
Associate Professor, School of Fashion, Ryerson University
This talk puts the topic of clothing and its relationship with crime under the microscope. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, criminologists preferred to establish the identities of their suspects by permanent marks, such as tattoos, scars or, later, fingerprints. Since garments could be put on or removed at will, clothes were more complex: sometimes they led directly to the suspect; sometimes they provided false clues. This talk will attempt to reveal the ways in which criminals and plainclothes policemen disguised themselves in an effort to conceal their identities.