‘Circular by Design’ Chiasma


Design in Action (DiA), a Knowledge Exchange Hub for the Creative Economy based primarily at the University of Dundee, will host a ‘Chiasma’ innovation event on Wednesday 18th March.

The confirmed speakers are renowned British designer and pioneer of ethical and environmental fashion Katharine Hamnett, Professor Becky Earley and Dr Kate Goldsworthy from the Textile Futures Research Centre at the University of the Arts, London, and Dr Conny Bakker from TU Delft.

The Chiasma, entitled ‘Circular by Design‘, is being run in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, and will aim to transform thinking and support innovation for the textiles and fashion sector. Shaping the future through innovative design is one of the key challenges the University of Dundee aims to meet in its core mission to transform lives, locally and globally.

The two-day residential Chiasma will bring together participants from business, academia, design and beyond to ideate and create new products, processes or services that can develop a more sustainable textiles industry and promote a circular, less wasteful, economy. The most promising ideas then have an opportunity to apply for up to £20,000 commercialisation funding.

The Chiasma will take place at the Dalmahoy Marriot Hotel near Edinburgh from 18th–20th March. See more information about the event here.

Katherine Hamnett will deliver a public lecture at the Dalhousie Building at 12.30pm on Thursday 19th March. More information and free tickets can be obtained from http://www.designinaction.com/event/katharine-hamnett/.

Guardian live chat – Recycled fashion: how do we close the loop?

Recycled Fashion - Photograph- Axel Schmidt Reuters - via the Guardian

Photograph: Axel Schmidt/Reuters

On Wednesday 18 February, 1.30pm – 2.30pm GMT, TED Senior Research Fellow Dr Kate Goldsworthy will be part of a panel of experts in fashion and the circular economy for the Guardian live chat.

The discussion on ‘Recycled fashion: how do we close the loop?’ invites to join the online debate where the panel will answer questions for the potential of a circular economy in the fashion industry:

  • Which textiles can currently be recycled, and which pose problems?
  • Which new technologies or projects have the potential to make a big impact on the fashion industry?
  • How will recycling impact the business model of fashion brands?
  • How can fashion brands collaborate to achieve closed-loop fashion, and what might prevent collaboration?
  • How can designers and the public be encouraged to engage in closed-loop fashion?


Other panelists include Hélène Smits (The Circular Textiles Program), Carola Tembe (H&M), Lucy Norris (University College London) and Lynn Wilson (Love your Clothes campaign in Scotland), Annie McCourt (Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute) and Carol Rose (WRAP).

The live chat is completely text based and will take place on this Guardian page in the comments section, kicking off on Wednesday 18 February at 1.30pm GMT. You can submit any questions in advance by using the form below, tweeting them to @GuardianSustBiz using #askGSB or sending an email to hannah.gould@theguardian.com and we’ll put them to the panel on the day.

Pushing the bounds of materials and information: tracking and tracing in a circular economy


As experimentation for a circular economy gathers pace, it is becoming more and more evident that we need an effective way to track and trace materials, components and products through a system –from manufacture to end of life. One of the key lessons that came out of the initial investigations at The RSA Great Recovery was that ‘the ability to track and trace materials is key to reverse engineering our manufacturing processes and closing the loop’

This new trend for source mapping and tracing materials through a system, as exemplified by companies such as Historic Futures or Dutch aWEARness, is now converging with an upsurge of interest and activity in the so-called ‘Internet of Things’, with companies such as Cisco predicting an explosion in the number of ‘intelligent’ products that are able to anticipate our every move and connect us as never before.

The RSA Great Recovery organised a workshop to explore the concept of material tracking and tracing and what it could mean for the nascent circular economy.

The first half of the session, participants heard from practitioners in the field: Thomas Diez of Fab Lab Barcelona who has developed the open source Smart Citizen project, and Alan Dukinfield of S2S Lifecycle Solutions, who has overseen the installation of a RFID material tracking system in a commercial context. Dr Kate Goldsworthy and Miriam Ribul at TED, who have been involved in developing new research around closed-loop textile design and methods of tracing clothing through a system. And Rien Otto from Dutch aWEARness joined via videolink to discuss the Dutch clothing company’s experience of introducing their Circular Content Management System.

During the afternoon, participants were able to get ‘hands on’ and make use of the facilities and expertise at Fab Lab London to develop a practical project of their own using RFID or bar coding, Arduino or other types of sensor technology. All participants set up their own Smart Citizen kit in Thomas Diez’s workshop on how to track open source data for citizens’ political participation in better cities.

Design in Action Twitter Hour – Textiles and the Circular Economy


Design in Action will be hosting a Twitter hour on ‘Textiles and the Circular Economy’ on Thursday 12th February from 10.30 am.

Setting the scene for the upcoming ‘Circular by Design*’ Chiasma  in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, circular economy, textile and design experts including Prof. Becky Earley (Textile Futures Research Centre, Mistra Future Fashion) and Dr Kate Goldsworthy (Textiles Environment Design) will be online to answer questions along with members of the Design in Action team.

Join the discussion to unpack how design can help achieve a more circular approach for textiles.

You can contribute to and follow the conversation by using the hashtags #DiAhour #circularbydesign. The Twitter thread is available via Storify.

*To apply for this Chiasma, please complete the online form at http://www.designinaction.com/chiasmas/waste-scotland-chiasma/

Green Week: Fixing Fashion | Repair is the New Black

Bridget Harvey_jumper-image400

Repair is the new black!  For UAL Green Week 2015, TED PhD researcher Bridget Harvey invites you to experiment with mending your clothes and other textiles: customising them and fixing damage through patching, darning and adding new buttons.

In the UK we send over £200m of clothes to landfill each year. Mending can help keep these textiles in circulation, and help us love our clothes for longer. Learn hands-on skills for clothes mending – darning, patching and other small and simple mends. All the techniques can be done by hand, no previous skills or experience necessary.

Along with plenty of enthusiasm, all you need to bring with you are scrap fabrics or clothes with holes, stains, missing buttons etc!

Taking place at various College locations, many Green Week events encourage positive action. London College of Fashion is inviting staff and students to get involved in planting a new hedgerow habitat, while the cross-UAL ‘Waste Off Challenge’ (developed and part-funded by LCC) will see students transform waste materials into useful new creations. Central Saint Martins is offering students a workshop on mending clothes and fabrics, and a toolkit that promises to show how to make projects more sustainable. Camberwell College of Arts has set up the ‘Re-use Exchange’ which allows students to drop off excess materials from old projects to be re-used by others.

Fixing Fashion | Repair is the New Black

Friday 13 February 11:00 – 16:00
1st Floor – D1 Corridor, Central Saint Martins

Elastic Tools Project

elastic tools 400

Elastic Tools is a project by Rebecca Earley, assisted by Bridget Harvey, for the CCW Graduate School during Spring 2015. It is part of the Culture of Resilience Project (CoR), a two years UAL-wide initiative, the goal of which is to build a “multiple vision” on the cultural side of resilience by putting together a set of narratives, values and ideas that are coherent in that they are all based on resilient systems, but in many other aspects they are very diverse. A multiplicity of images that, like the stones of a mosaic, may generate a larger one: a mobile, dynamic, colourful vision of a resilient, sustainable civilization.

The Elastic Tools Project aims to create new ideas, tools and techniques to support textile designers and makers in the way that they teach textiles to the next generation. This week we have recruited two MA textile design students to work on the first stage of the project – building their own personal tools and techniques.

Follow the progress on the project site here.

The Department of Repair

Department of Repair Bridget Harvey

As part of her PhD research, Bridget Harvey has co-curated The Department of Repair at the Camberwell Space. The Department of Repair explores (re)making through fixing, repairing and mending. The project reframes the theme of ‘repair’, exploring its identities and its potential as an environmentally/socially engaged practice. The project aims to create space for broader interpretations of repairing, fixing and/or mending practice, exploring categories such as repair narratives, agents, materials, and methods/systems.

The project begins with an exhibition which showcases approaches to mending, guides and tools of repair. For the first three weeks, visiting (re)makers, (re)designers and repairers, who demonstrate and teach repair and re-making skills will run drop-in workshops. Outcomes from the workshops will be then added to the existing set of exhibits to form a larger exhibition.  A two-part publication will complement the project with writings by and about the repairers and exhibits involved in the project.
With a fully zero waste aim for the project and accompanying publication, The Department of Repair will engage with the act/notion of repair more through reuse of materials, as a form of recycling with less environmental impact. All furniture for the exhibition is being made from reclaimed materials and will be distributed for further use or dismantled back into materials after the exhibition. The publication, which documents the entire process of the project is being hand printed onto reclaimed paper, and will be produced on demand in small batches to avoid large waste quantities at the end of the project
Project contributors include: Roger Arquer (designer), Carl Clerkin (designer), Fixperts (an open knowledge sharing platform for fixing), Hendzel and Hunt (furniture designer/maker using reclaimed and sustainable materials), Tom of Holland (darning), Harry Owen (leather work), Restart Project (electrical repairs), Second Sitters (upholstery), Hans Stofer (artist), Yuri Suzuki (sound art & design), David Cross (artist), Michael Marriott (designer), Chris Cawkwell, (socially-engaged art practice), Tim Mitchell (photographer/artist/educator).

Exhibition and workshops: Monday 12 January 2015 – Friday 30 January 2015
Exhibition continues: Monday 2 February 2015 – Friday 20 February 2015
Private View: 3 February 2015, 5.30 – 8pm 
Opening hours: Monday – Friday, 10am – 5pm

The full workshop program is available hereAll workshops will take place at Camberwell Space as part of the exhibition.
For further information please contact camberwellspace@camberwell.arts.ac.uk 


MISTRA Future Fashion projects 400

Our Textile Toolbox platform aims to connect leading sustainable design thinkers and makers in this open call for work using interconnected design thinking and processes for sustainable textiles and fashion.

We are inviting a global audience of designers to visit the site, sign up and submit design projects for our Open Gallery space and to become part of our Open Network. We invite each submission to use and select from the TED strategies, and to apply a layered approach to the strategies to describe the work. We will select the ten projects that will demonstrate the strongest links to the strategies – innovative systemic and material approaches for textile design that fuse different disciplines in one design proposal. We want the prototypes to provoke debate, and conversations to ripple out – leading to real change.

Please download the TEXTILE TOOLBOX Open Call template and submit it to tfrc@tfrc.org.uk by 12th of January to be considered for our Open Gallery showcase and take our survey to tell us more about yourself. In addition to the online feature, we will publish the selected projects in our industry report for our MISTRA Future Fashion research in May 2015.

TED events and research update – Professor Becky Earley

CCW Professor Becky Earley and the Textile Environment Design (TED) team have had a busy autumn term. As well as her work with TED, Earley is Director of the Textile Futures Research Centre based at Central Saint Martins. ‘It’s been a work whirlwind autumn for the TED team at Chelsea, as we launched our Mistra Future Fashion online exhibition with a 24-hour pop up show in the Banqueting Hall at Chelsea on 13th November,’ said Earley (to view the Textile Toolbox work and take part in a survey, visit www.textiletoolbox.com). ‘The 10 new “provotypes” (prototypes that provoke debate) suggest new materials, processes, services, systems and business models for the future sustainability of the Swedish fashion industry.

textile toolbox event

Guests at the Pop Up exhibition for www.textiletoolbox.com looking at the Becky Earley’s sketchbook for the Shanghai Shirt exhibit (photo: Mischa Haller)

The day after the show came down I flew to Stockholm to continue with the Mistra research. Studying ancient making and repair tools in the Vasa Museum (which houses the incredible warship ship that sank on its inaugural voyage in 1628), I noted ways in which garments and accessories were made and repaired. The next task in Stockholm was to deliver a workshop for 17 fashion companies, showing them how to use the Higg Index and TED’s The TEN to redesign best-selling products in their range. The best result this year was a 41% improvement in environmental impact – not bad for a one-day workshop!

SFA November 2014

Participants at the SFA Mistra workshop, November 18th 2014

The next morning it was off to Nottingham Trent University to be a panellist for a debate titled “Is Technology Killing Hand-made Crafts?”; part of a series of events marking 170 years of the art school. Grant Gibson, editor of the Crafts Council’s magazine, chaired the debate in the Newton building. Panelists, including Tavs Jørgensen, ceramic potter and research fellow at the Autonomatic Research Group, University College Falmouth, and Christopher Breward, Professor of Cultural History at the University of Edinburgh, Principal of Edinburgh College of Art and Vice Principal of the University (Creative Arts), questioned whether there is still a place for teaching traditional craft in art and design higher education as preparation for work in today and tomorrow’s creative industries.

Early the following morning I was Glasgow bound to present the Mistra Future Fashion work at a Zero Waste Scotland event, working with the Design in Action team from Dundee University and recent CCW PhD graduate Dr Jen Ballie. I showcased the physical textile samples and garments from the exhibition and talked the audience through the online exhibition. The audience was particularly interested in the work of CCW BA Textiles graduate and TED Junior Researcher Josefin Landalv. The proposed network of 10,000 Swedish cabin weavers using discarded clothing to save it from incineration resonated with the Scottish industry stakeholders and their wool industry.

Zero Waste scotland 2014

Delegates at Zero Waste Scotland examining the Mistra Future Fashion work

Finally, it was on to Huddersfield University and a keynote talk at the Transition Textiles conference, where I once again showed the Mistra work, but this time focussing on the journey the TED team went on from material innovation, to systems and social considerations, to the sense of the self. Titled “The ‘i’ in the Textile Toolbox Team” I presented my own work and that of CCW PhD researcher Clara Vuletich. We have both been considering insights from the field of neuroscience and the effect that meditation has on the brain, and on the textile designer working in the field of sustainability. Ehrenfeld (2008)* suggests that in order to move towards sustainability we have to become our “whole selves”, and it seemed fitting to end this busy research dissemination period with a chance to pause and reflect on the values we are instilling in our students and the real benefits of our research on our colleagues and ultimately ourselves.’

The final presentation of the term will be this week at the House of Lords on Wednesday evening, where I will be showing the Mistra project to the All Parliamentary Working Group for Design and Innovation.

*Ehrenfeld, J. (2008) Sustainability by Design: A Subversive Strategy for Transforming our Consumer Culture, Yale University Press: UK

Practice-based sustainable design strategies


Faculti aims to communicate the latest research news, publications and information in a way that is accessible and available to the wider public.  Film is their medium of choice, capturing research at the cutting edge of innovation by delivering insights from academics and professionals who are leaders in their fields. Featured on their website is Prof. Rebecca Earley who shares the research imperative that inspired the Responsible Living exhibition. Curated by TED for the VF Corporation, the exhibition presented prototypes that explore future sustainability for VF Corporation’s 25+ clothing brands, using The TEN as a framework.

The exhibits demonstrate a holistic approach to sustainable textiles and fashion design which include concepts for long life denim, multifunctional packaging to reduce waste, repair strategies, social innovation in the supply chain, fast fashion, new technologies and materials for manufacturing.

The film is available to watch here.