Arts Foundation Awards 2016 – Materials Innovation Prize

On the evening of the 28th of January a very excited crowd assembled at the Twentieth Century Theatre, London, W11, for the 2016 Arts Foundation Awards, in six artistic categories. This year, guest of honour, Sebastian Faulks, opened the envelopes to announce six deserving winners of the Awards, each receiving £10,000 – and three runners-up in each category also received £1,000. The Awards are given to support the artists, with no strings attached, to spend on anything they need to enable them continue in their creative practice.

The brilliant Materials Innovation category is supported, annually, by the Clothworkers’ Foundation. Applicants can be involved in materials innovation at any stage of the lifecycle – including the development of a new material, new processes of finishing/manufacturing or reprocessing of an existing material, recycling, logistics, retail and distribution.


The winner this year is Carmen Hijosa, whose material innovation, Piñatex, is a revolutionary new product, developed from pineapple fibre waste streams. Once she had developed the first prototypes, she continued her research in a PhD at RCA, having completed a BA and MA in Textiles at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin years before.

Spanish-born Carmen explains ‘my previous work had been in the designing and manufacturing of leather goods, which gave me an insight into the ecological damage caused by the tanning of leather’. Through time spent in the Philippines working with weaving communities and researchers she started to understand the nature of the indigenous, natural fibres they were working with. Pineapple leaf fibres are the by-product of the pineapple harvest and therefore agricultural waste. While working with these fibres Carmen realized that their strength and flexible characteristics would make the fibres very appropriate to be developed into a non-woven mesh, not unlike leather.

Adhering to a strong social and ecological agenda, Carmen developed the full supply chain for the product from farm to finished product adopting the Cradle to Cradle ® ethos. During her PhD she collaborated with several brands such as Camper and Puma who made shoe prototypes and niche companies such as Ally Capellino as well as with RCA designers making bags and furniture. The idea was to show the versatility and potential of Piñatex through the making of accessories and home furnishings.

Finding a replacement for leather is now top of the agenda for many manufacturers including those in the car and aeronautical industries. The possibility of replacing leather with a textile developed from what is, otherwise, a waste product from agriculture is the primary goal of Piñatex, alongside the social aim to bring extra income to the farming communities.

With the money from this award Carmen intends to develop a 100% natural, bio-based coating for Piñatex and will continue to research a sustainable degumming process for the pineapple fibres. Through her proven creative and organisational talents, Carmen has provided an exciting new potential contribution to textile development and putting her at the forefront of 21st Century approaches to design.

In total, the Arts Foundation Award category winners for 2016 are:

Literary TranslationDeborah Smith
Jewellery Design Vann Kwok
Producers of Live MusicLaura Ducceschi
Children’s Theatre Gregory Sinclair
Art in Urban SpaceRuth Ewan
Materials InnovationCarmen Hijosa

Art Foundation Awards make a difference! Since the inception of its annual Fellowship Scheme, almost 25 years ago, the Trust has awarded over £1,650,000, supporting artists from the fields of Performing and Visual Arts, Crafts, Literature, New Media, Film and Design. Many of the recipients have gone on to become leaders in their art form.

Kay Politowicz


Hybrid Talks 2016 – “Unlikely bedfellows: When opposites morph into spectacular sustainability.”


Next week Professor Rebecca Earley will speak about ‘Why we should make fast fashion even faster’ at Hybrid Talks at Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden. The global set of speakers will present micro talks followed by Q&A.

Date: Monday 8 Feb, 2016
 16.30 (sharp) – 18.00
Place: Stockholm School of Economics, Sveavägen 65 (Entrance: Bertil Ohlins gata 5), room: KAW

Partners: Wicked Communications, Stockholm School of Economics/MISUM, MISTRA Future Fashion, Swedish Fashion Council

The event is currently sold out but keep checking the website for last minute cancelations.



 Welcome by MISUM, Mistra Future Fashion and Wicked Communications


Hybrid Talk No. 1:
“Why we should make fast fashion even faster” Professor Rebecca Earley, University of the Arts, London.
Professor Rebecca Earley is a Professor in Sustainable Textile and Fashion Design and Director of the University of London’s prestigious Textile Futures Research Centre (TFRC). She is part of Mistra Future Fashion and is a Global Change Award judge, Conscious Foundation, H&M and has worked with PUMA and VF Corporation in the UK and US.


Hybrid Talk No. 2:
“The role of luxury in sustainable fashion”
Eduardo Escobedo, RESP, Geneva.

Eduardo Escobedo is Executive Director and Founder of RESP (Responsible Ecosystem Sourcing Platform). RESP founding members include Chanel, Armani, Burberry, Mulberry, Bulgari, LVMH. Prior to founding RESP, Eduardo has worked with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), the Mexican Ministry of the Economy, and General Electric.

Hybrid Talk No. 3:
“Creating change in production with monks” Martin Johnson, Rajda, Kolkata/Stockholm.
Martin Johnson is the Global Key Account Director for the Rajda Group, an Indian leather accessories producer based in Kolkata. Rajda works with many of the top Swedish and international fashion brands.


Hybrid Talk No. 4:
“More than just pretty pictures – Textiles and the conservation of endangered species” Dr. Susanna Paisley-Day, University of Kent, Canterbury.
Dr Susanna Paisley is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) of the University of Kent in Canterbury and a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society.


Hybrid Talk No. 5:
“Spider Silk: Nature’s strongest fibre’s extraordinary uses” (Professor My Hedhammar, KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm)
Professor Hedhammar is an Associate Professor in Biochemistry at Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Swedish University of SLU, the founder of Spiber Technologies AB and is a Wallenberg Academy Fellow.





Circular Transitions Conference 23th-24th of November 2016


Circular Transitions Conference

We are excited to announce that TED is currently organising a Mistra Future Fashion Conference on textile design and the circular economy this autumn. The event is being hosted by Dr Kate Goldsworthy and Professor Rebecca Earley at University of the Arts London. The conference is part of a research project for the Mistra Future Fashion consortium – a cross-disciplinary program with the vision of closing the loop in fashion and creating systemic change in Swedish industry and culture.

The aim of the conference is to create the vision of designing for a circular future where materials are designed, produced, used and disposed of in radical new ways. Circular Transitions will be the first global event to bring together academic and industry research concerned with designing fashion textiles for the circular economy. The themes will explore the design of new materials for fashion with approaches ranging from emerging technology and social innovation to systems design and tools.


The call for abstracts is now live, and will remain open until 25 March 2016. The call themes are:


Design which responds to technology, science, material developments.

  1. Challenges and benefits of new modes of production
  2. Opportunities for cleaner processes in the textile materials value chain
  3. Innovation in textile recycling technology
  4. Potential for digital tools and processes to enable a circular economy
  5. Tracking and tracing solutions in a complex material recovery industry

Design for systems, services, models, business, networks and communities.

  1. New modes of consumption; disruptive business models
  2. Speed of product and material cycles; appropriate design
  3. Design of products for the technical and/or biological cycle
  4. Projects that explore successful industry / academic collaboration and also tensions between our traditional modes of competition and collaboration
  5. Design creating more social equity within the circular supply chain

Design of behaviours; tools, frameworks and experiences to enable and support collaboration, mindset change and improve decision making.

  1. Physical tools for facilitating collaboration across disciplines
  2. Pioneering and enabling the changing role of the designer in a circular economy
  3. Tools for designers to support the mindset and behaviour change of consumers
  4. Design approaches towards well being that develop circular cultures
  5. Opportunities for designers to bridge understanding of scientific tools (such as LCA)

Visit the event website for more information.

Design Thinking for Materials Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Trash-2-Cash


We are excited to announce that University of the Arts is advertising for a second full-time, postdoctoral research assistant to undertake collaborative research in the field of design thinking and facilitation. The researcher will join the team for the EU-funded Horizon 2020 innovation project ‘Trash-2-Cash: Utilising zero-value waste textiles and fibres with design-driven technologies to create high quality products’. The project aims to solve the growing problems with paper fibre waste that originates from the continuously increasing textile consumption through design-driven innovation. This will be performed by using the waste to regenerate fibres that will be included into fashion, interior and other high-value products.

The successful candidate will have a doctoral qualification in a relevant field, such as design thinking (preferable with experience in materials), product design, co-design or sustainability as well as an established and active research profile and a proven record of published research in the relevant field.

Visit the official UAL website for more information.

Sustainable Design Contest

01_15Kappahl_Design Contest_400ppi

The Swedish fashion retailer KappAhl is today launching their Sustainable Design Contest. The competition runs from the 25th of January till the 27th of March and is open to fashion students from Sweden, Finland, Norway and Poland. The contest welcomes innovative design ideas which have a clear focus on sustainability for the fashion industry. The idea can be applied to a whole collection or focus on a specific type of garment, detail or means of production. The competition is motivated by the statement that over 80 percent of a product’s environmental impact is determined by the designer at the drawing board. One prizewinner will be selected and given the chance to work towards making their winning idea a reality together with KappAhl’s design team during this autumn.

TED’s Senior Research Fellow Dr. Kate Goldsworthy will help judge the competition, representing the ongoing Swedish Mistra Future Fashion project.

Speeds Stories: ‘FastSlow Textiles’

Speeds Stories_FastSlow Textiles

18th January 2016    

“ There are so many things that we really need to study, that are not going to make any money for anyone. If people such as me don’t do these studies, who will?”

Ethnographer Daniel Miller was interviewed in connection with his co-authored book on denim and everyday clothing. As an academic, Daniel is providing us with the focus and rigour in his research that is enlightening to design practice. Adopting the spirit of his enquiry and that of other social scientists, we are able to share our personal experiences of everyday living with regard to the choosing, using and disposing of our clothes.

As designers, we think as both creators and consumers. So, the FastSlow blogposts offer an analysis of personal attitudes towards our clothes, which constitute an auto-ethnographic study, revealing motivations that we can recognise and share. When, where and why do we buy fashion? What does any one purchase mean in our thinking – at the time or later? What does our thinking mean in the wider context of design and consumption? The rich collection of personal experiences of clothing outlined in the FastSlow Stories reflects acutely observed, personal behaviour and motivations from students and members of the TED research team. The personal stories offer a diverse mix of memories, humour, mistakes, sadness, insights, irony and dilemmas – both moral and social, characterising the range of emotions associated with fashion that we can all recognise.

Reflection on the experiences deserves further discussion, raising interesting questions concerning the translation of ideas into studio practice. The resulting shared insights into strategic decision-making, assist the direction and meaning of professional design practice. They enable a kind of self-realisation, taking Weick’s (1993) famous proposition: “How do I know what I think until I hear what I have to say?” into “How do I know what I think until I see what I make?”

Narratives reflecting on garments, which are an expression of belonging – either to ethnic cultures or family/friend  ‘tribes’, suggest emotional connections involving the passing on of personal or group culture. Fabrics as souvenirs of travel, used to repair garments, enable continued memories of places. Whereas a comfort cloth, treasured from childhood, can prove essential for wellbeing. ‘Misguided’ purchases are described as being a result of a desire to buy confidence for a social occasion or of the endorphins ‘responsible’ for an enthusiastic overspend at sale or outlet venues. Conversely, self-imposed pressure to buy clothes to fit in, be like the cool crowd, or stand out as an interesting individual leads to some regretted outfits, worn once or not at all. Professional confidences are shared, describing deception by luxury brands through cost-cutting in manufacture, leading to a call for ‘brand-transparency’ to ensure authenticity.

The blog has enabled an examination of what Fast and Slow can mean to each individual. ‘Fast Fashion’ is generally defined as garments that are acquired cheaply, on a whim or under pressure, with little or no regard for the environmental impacts or possible exploitation in manufacture. ‘Slow Fashion’ is seen as a considered purchase, often expensive to reflect costs of material, craft and quality production. It is often defined as ‘classic’ in appearance and function, for long and durable service. Motivations to shop are commonly described as: excitement, novelty, boldness or recklessness in the case of ‘Fast’, whereas  ‘Slow’ has an association of historic skills, aesthetic appreciation, investment in durability with emotional attachment – if not, occasionally, moral superiority.  Actually, Fast and Slow are as easily described as statements of quality rather than speed. Both it seems, could be equally valid if they were designed to fulfil the ideals of production without exploitation and with respect for the cycle of material impacts. Thus a huge range of design potential is demonstrated in overcoming the barriers to proposing sustainable products and capitalising on individuals’ motivations. The speed could be, therefore, simply the best-designed product for the need.

Written by Kay Politowicz

  • Blue Jeans: The Art of the Ordinary’, Daniel Miller & Sophie Woodward. University of California Press (2012).
  • ‘Stuff’, Daniel Miller. Polity Press (2009)
  • Evocative Objects: Things We Think With’, Ed. Sherry Turkle. MIT Press (2007)
  • ‘The System of Objects’, Jean Baudrillard. Verso Books (2005)

CSM Public – Art, Design and the Common Good

'NOT FOR SELF BUT FOR ALL' art installation of the upper floor of Five Pancras Square, facing into the square

‘NOT FOR SELF BUT FOR ALL’ art installation of the upper floor of Five Pancras Square, facing into the square. Image: Mark Titchner

14th January 2014

To celebrate the launch of CSM Public, Central Saint Martins invites you to a lively evening of debate and exhibitions exploring how art and design can be an agent for positive societal change.

Panel discussions
5.30 – 7pm (please arrive promptly, registration open from 5pm)
LVMH Theatre


Speakers include:

  • Faisal Abdu’Allah (Fine Artist)
  • Sarah Featherstone (Architect, Featherstone Young Associates)
  • Morag Myerscough (Designer, Studio Myerscough)
  • Alex Schady (Artist, Film-maker and Fine Art Programme Director)
  • Andrea Siodmok (Head of Policy Lab, the Cabinet Office)
  • José Miguel Sokoloff – President of  Global Creative Council, Mullen Lowe
  • Adam Thorpe (Professor Socially Responsive Design and Founder of Vexed Generation)


You will also be able to view our Window Galleries showing College projects on the themes of social innovation, placemaking and sustainability, and MA Interim shows in The Street.

This event coincides with Lumiere London, a free outdoor light festival taking place across London from 14 to 17 January. The festival begins in King’s Cross and will celebrate the area’s iconic spaces.

Find out more about CSM Public by visiting the dedicated webpage and book your free ticket here.

Central Saint Martins
Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, King’s Cross

Roberto Verganti Design-driven Innovation Workshop


Just before the Christmas break Aalto Arts hosted a workshop with the renowned Design Innovation Professor at Politecnico di Milano, Roberto Verganti.  The workshop looked at how ‘innovation of meaning’ is used by designers to create products that people really want, such as the Nintendo Wii or the iPhone, bringing huge commercial success.

This subject area is particularly relevant to the T2C project as Design-Driven Materials Innovation (DDMI) is at the heart of the research methodology.  Design academics from Aalto and UAL as well as materials scientists from VTT attended this workshop with the aim of feeding the ongoing discussion of how design and science can come together in the development of new materials.

A key message from the two-day event was that the real value designers can bring to the process of innovation is their ability to “understand what can be meaningful to people”; designers can change the meanings of products in line with how peoples’ lives and experiences are changing.  The role of new technology in this process is to enable a “radical innovation of meaning”; designers must know about technological capabilities in order to apply the new meanings in innovative products.  A big question from the event of particular importance to DDMI and T2C was: which comes first, the meaning or the technology?

Trash-2-Cash Workshop #02


Last week representatives from each of the partners travelled to Prato, Florence for Workshop #02 of the Trash-2-Cash project. Although the partners have met before, this was a particularly exciting moment in the project as the designers, materials scientists and manufacturers pooled their knowledge and capabilities to in an attempt to innovatively transform waste textiles into a cellulosic (CES) and a polymer (PES) fibre for the first time.

The workshop was generously hosted in style by Enrico Cozzoni (Grado Zero) and included a tour of the Textile Museum location, in Prato. The aim was to identify materials characteristics for the new fibres; for design and market insights to challenge materials R&D.

The workshop began with a materials showcase session which was energetically facilitated by Christian Tubito of Materials ConneXion Italia and supported by Becky Earley from University of the Arts London, Kirsi Niinimäki and Sari Berglund from Aalto Arts, Finland. Each partner brought with them a material sample to begin the discussion around potentialities both of the partner engagements and of the materials research. Large posters enabled the participants to begin to build a picture of the key benefits and limitations of existing CES and PES materials in knitted, woven and non-woven forms. A ‘wish list’ of fibre/material characteristics as well as potential applications were identified.

The real triumph of Workshop #02 was that we caught a glimpses of future scenarios for these new ‘super-fibres’; a picture emerged of how these new materials might ‘look’ in the context of peoples’ lives and lifestyles… the most exciting part is that this was materials- AND design- led, and couldn’t have happened without all of the expertise present at Prato.