Textiletoolbox Celebrates One Year

We are really pleased to announce our Textiletoolbox website launched exactly one year ago, and has already reached 12,100 visits worldwide.

Textile Toolbox is TED’s online platform platform with MISTRA Future Fashion in Sweden. This open innovation website is a platform for designers and experts to engage with new ideas. The site is being used to help build the discourse around THE TEN – a set of sustainable design strategies which drive innovative action and concepts for the textile and fashion industry. Each section on the site is led by one or more experts from different disciplines, chosen by TED, who contribute with key case studies and interviews with leading industry stakeholders. The content focuses on inspirational projects and also on the challenges the industry faces in shifting towards systemic industry change. Together we consider how to lessen impacts, improve function, and make connections. The contributions challenge aesthetics, process, production and lifecycle issues around products, and inspire the TED researchers to create new design briefs for the next phase of the project.

The articles are building the first incarnation of the Textiletoolbox website. In 2014 the site will gradually transform into the stage 2 version – the online exhibition.

So far we have posted following texts, with more coming in January 2014:

  1. Design to Reduce the Need to Consume, Professor Jonathan Chapman, Aug 7th 2012
  2. Design to Reduce Chemical Impacts, Sandy MacLennan, Aug 7th 2012
  3. Design to Reduce Energy and Water Use, Emma Rigby, Oct 7th 2012
  4. Design that Looks at Models from History, Matilda Aspinall, Oct 7th 2012
  5. Design Activism , Dr Otto von Busch, Nov 13th 2012
  6. Design for Ethical Production, Clara Vuletich, Dec 3rd 2012
  7. Design to Minimise Waste, Dr Timo Rissanen, Dec 17th 2012
  8. Synergies: Aesthetic Sustainability, Kristine Harper, Dec 17th 2012
  9. Design for Cyclability: Design for Recycling/Upcycling, Sass Brown, Feb 5th 2013
  10. Design to Reduce the Need to Consume, Professor Jonathan Chapman, Feb 20th 2013
  11. Design that Takes Models from History: November in Florence, Matilda Aspinall, Feb 20th 2013
  12. Design to Reduce Energy and Water Use: Laundry Behaviour, Emma Rigby, Mar 5th 2013
  13. Synergies: The Aura of Things, Kristine Harper, Mar 18th 2013
  14. Synergies, Dr Alison Gwilt, Mar 19th 2013
  15. Design for Cyclability: Pre Consumer Waste, Sass Brown, Apr 23rd 2013
  16. Synergies: Production Models, Dr Alison Gwilt, Mar 19th 2013
  17. Design to Minimise Waste: Designing Lean, Dr Timo Rissanen, Apr 23rd 2013
  18. Design to Reduce Energy and Water Use: Collaborations , Emma Rigby, May 7th 2013
  19. Design that Takes Models from History: Cash for Clothing, Has Much Changed?, Matilda Aspinall, Feb 20th 2013
  20. Synergies: Aesthetic Strategy, Kristine Harper, May 7th 2013
  21. Design Activism: Design Agonism , Dr Otto von Busch, June 24th 2013
  22. Design Activism: Design Alternatives , Dr Otto von Busch, July 22nd 2013
  23. Design to Reduce the Need to Consume: Repair, Professor Jonathan Chapman, July 22nd 2013
  24. Design for Cyclability: Post Consumer Waste, Sass Brown, July 22nd 2013
  25. Synergies: Meeting New Consumer Needs, Dr Alison Gwilt, Sep 17th 2013


We invite everyone to submit their comments, suggestions and ideas to us. Please follow us and send us feedback through Twitter @Textiletoolbox, and get news and updates by signing up to our Mailing List. Watch this space for the official launch date of the exhibition in 2014, and get ready to try our workshops out, wherever you may be!

Threads and Yarns: Intergenerational Engagement and Cross-Disciplinary Research through Textiles Anne Marr

TFRC Associate Researchers Anne Marr and Jo Morrison have published a paper in the new The Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice Volume 1 Issue 1 this month. The paper which is  entitled Threads and Yarns: Intergenerational Engagement and Cross-Disciplinary Research through Textiles discusses Threads and Yarns, a three-phase intergenerational textile project exploring personal accounts of health and well-being as part of the Wellcome Trust’s 75th anniversary program. Project participants engaged in creative making workshops and shared their own biomedical histories. These personal accounts were then examined by researchers of science, history of medicine and medical humanities, as well as textile design students. Each researcher developed responses that were presented at a public engagement event held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in July 2011. The students used their experience to inform their research exploring textile trends within a social context, and their resultant films were also featured at the event.

The paper demonstrates how communal crafting can be used as a cross-disciplinary research tool to facilitate valuable insights into the past and future of health and well- being, and to inform socio-responsive textile design research practice.

FireUP: Project Passports

Professor Becky Earley will be hosting a special open workshop for London based small and medium sized fashion and textile companies and entrepreneurs on Thursday 28th November 2013. Running as a part of the AHRC and FIRE Up Project, the workshop will focus on how to grow your business using funding, which options are currently available, and how to move it in a greener and/or more technological direction.

The session will be introduced by the project’s principal investigator Professor Sandy Black and speakers will include Adam Thorpe (Vexed). Others will be be announced next week.

Contact Becky Earley to book a FREE place, 2pm – 5pm, with drinks after, at LCF Oxford Circus.



TED researchers in Copenhagen for MISTRA Future Fashion

This week TED researchers joined academic and industry partners of the Swedish MISTRA Future Fashion consortium at Copenhagen Business School for a two day event. The aim of the academic researchers meeting was to share the results from the research so far: key insights; potential implications; and next steps. Hosted by the consortium’s Project 7, the researchers meeting included workshops to discuss sustainable consumption and consumer behaviour, and how each project within the consortium could contribute towards overcoming barriers to achieve sustainable purchase and use.

As part of day 1 Professor Becky Earley ran a Black Hack workshop with the researchers, with the opportunity to reflect on how making prototypes could connect TED’s Project 3 to the scientists. The results were worn at the dinner at the end of the first meeting day. Earley and CBS researcher Andersen will be making ‘Symposium Shirt’ and writing up the concept as part of the next phase of the research.

TED Research Assistant Miriam Ribul curates exhibition

Vectors is a new design initiative brought to life by TED Research Assistant Miriam Ribul with fellow designers Ann-Kristin Abel and Paul Ferragut.  Together they curated ‘Design Beyond Making’, an exhibition open since Thursday 31st of October at the 18 Hewett Street concept space.

Design Beyond Making is an excursion into resource discovery, material development, and process innovation. Being faced with a challenging outlook on our environmental and economic future, a new breed of designers begins to call into question traditional notions in design development and production processes. Looking to science and technology to innovate materials and processes, finding new sustainable ways of making or (re)discovering plentiful resources, these designers are offering thought-provoking scenarios that open up discussions.

Exhibitors in this show are Ann-Kristin Abel, TFRC PhD Candidate Amy Congdon and J.J. Hastings, Lauren Davies, Paul Ferragut, MA Textile Futures Graduate Emilie F. Grenier, Jeongwon Ji, Lorenzo Oggiano and Miriam Ribul.

Most of the projects are new body of work by the designers, including Recipes for Material Activism by Miriam Ribul that explores a low-tech approach to the democratisation of production in the pursuit to develop a variation of models to replace traditional manufacturing processes. Speculative designer Ann-Kristin Abel proposes Thought Harvester, a semi-living organism that harvests human thoughts and imagination. Designer Paul Ferragut has created a motorized installation plotting three-dimensional shapes with a suspended light for an ephemeral making process that stimulates the viewers imagination.

The talk on the 5th of November will be introduced by keynote speaker Irini Papadimitriou, Digital Programmes Manager at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and will offer the opportunity to see some of the designers present their work from their perspective on ‘Design Beyond Making’. Tickets are available from the eventbrite link here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/9079128919

Two workshops are offered on the ‘vectors’ website to invite participants to test material processes. Design beyond Making is endorsed by Protein and will take place from the 1st – 10th of November.

18 Hewett Street
London EC2A 3NN

CCW Graduate School Directory 2013/14

The CCW Graduate School Directory 2013/14 is now available to view online. The publication gives up-to-date information on Visiting Scholars, Partnerships, Taught Postgraduate Courses, Research Degrees, Professors and Readers as well as Research Centres and Networks. The publication features the Textiles Environment Design research group with research profiles on Professor Becky Earley and Professor Kay Politowicz. The article written by TED Senior Research Fellow Dr Kate Goldsworthy reflects on the completion of her PhD.

This publication is the tenth in the series of the CCW Graduate School publications that are a way of consolidating the key debates around the Graduate School themes, along with the diversity of the work taking place across our Graduate School. To view the Graduate School Directory 2013/14 please visit the University of the Arts London ISUU account.

Professor Kay Politowicz to join Panel at The British Academy

Professor Kay Politowicz has been invited to contribute to a panel discussion on ‘The Changing face of Value’ that The Cultural Capital Exchange (TCCE) is producing at The British Academy as part of the Inside Out Festival on October 23rd from 6.00pm.

In this period of arguably unprecedented economic, technological and social change, ‘The Changing Face of Value’ sets out to explore and critique how our sense of value and values may be shifting or indeed completely changing. The discussion will probe and challenge our understandings of what is valued by whom and why in the 21st century.

Bringing together a diverse range of experts from within and outside the Academy, this timely debate will present a compelling range of perspectives on the following themes:

• The digital world: Is it shaping our social and cultural values, and if so, how?

• The apparent rise in value in notions such as ‘authenticity’, ‘openness’ and ‘connectivity’

• The value of objects and new forms of material culture

• The shift of values from the enduring to the ephemeral

• The future of value itself

Kay Politowicz’s presentation will focus on the need for “a consumer acceptance of – and enthusiasm for – the designed lifespan of a product”. The presentations will be followed by a discussion with the fellow panelists and the audience. The event will be chaired by Professor Evelyn Welch, MBE (Vice-Principal, Arts and Sciences, King’s College London). Panellists include: Professor Kay Politowicz (Textiles, Environment Design Research Group, Chelsea College of Art and Design), Jessi Baker (designer and technologist and founder of Project Provenance) and Jonathan Schifferes (RSA).

Booking will be via The British Academy website. Admission to this event is FREE but it is required to register on the British Academy website in order to book online.

TED’s TEN in China

For the field research with MISTRA in China, the TED's TEN cards are now available in Chinese.

Kirsti Reitan Andersen from Copenhagen Business School, engaged scholar at TED, writes:

As the world’s largest production and export country of textiles and clothes (Market Research, 2012), the continued focus on environmental and social sustainability has a major impact on China’s textile and garment industry. In a recent presentation at the Annual Conference of the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) Conference, the China National Textile and Apparel Council states that in spite of improvements, i.e. within energy and water savings: “China textile industry faces urgent and arduous tasks and only by deepening adjustment of industrial structure and fastening transformation of development modes, could we fundamentally solve the internal challenges and resolve external crisis.” (2012, 4)

As part of the MISTRA Future Fashion Project (MFF) Project 1: Changing Market and Business Models and Project 3: Interconnected Design Thinking and Processes for Sustainable Textiles and Fashion find it essential to engage with Chinese stakeholders, to explore how to overcome challenges of sustainability through cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary collaboration. The project: TED’s TEN in China, centers on the following three phases:

  • Fieldwork in the fashion and textile industries in Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong in October 2013
  • TED’s TEN workshops conducted as part of the EcoChic Design Award event in Hong Kong, January 2014.
  • Seminar in the spring 2014, as part of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2014.

The team will use the TED’s TEN strategies as a starting point for engagement and exploration with local fashion designers, manufacturers, and factory workers. The aim of the fieldwork is to engage local stakeholders in a conversation around sustainability and build a “map of sustainability” representing the fashion and textile industries in China. According to the China National Textile and Apparel Council, science and technology advancement is the foundation for sustainable development in China textile industry (2012). Moreover the Council puts emphasis on dialogue and knowledge exchange to increase understanding and mutual trust and create cooperation opportunities – and in this way change the industry towards sustainability. What can MFF learn from China and how can we strengthen collaboration on challenges of sustainability across boarders?

The field research will include ethnographic and creative methods for data collection and exploring the context, i.e. semi-structured interviews with stakeholders from the Chinese textile and fashion industry and academia and questionnaires; creative methods for individual documentation including journal, photographs, and sketches, and cultural probes. Moreover, PhD student Clara Vuletich and Professor Rebecca Earley will conduct a Shanghai Shirt Workshop, as part of Vuletich’s PhD Project and Professor Earley’s Top 100 Project respectively.

The research is made possible by the generous financial support of MFF Strategic Fund, CBS Sustainability Platform, and the Chelsea College of Art Research Department.


  • Tiankai, W. (2012) Sustainable Development of China Textile Industry and Win-Win Cooperation in Global Textile Industry. China National textile and Apparel Council, Nov 5, 2012. ITMF Hanoi Conference.

TED concludes training program at H&M

TED researchers have developed and delivered a bespoke training program for H&M this year, which featured a series of inspiring lectures by Professor Becky Earley to over 600 of their Stockholm-based design staff, and a workshop series which aimed to explore design thinking for sustainability at H&M.

This week saw the final workshop for the pilot series – led by Professor Becky Earley, with TED/MISTRA PhD Researcher Clara Vuletich and TED Senior Research Fellow Dr Kate Goldsworthy in co-facilitation roles. Kirsti Reitan Andersen, Copenhagen Business School PhD candidate from Project 1 in the MISTRA Future Fashion consortium, has been observing these workshop for her research, and during her term as an engaged scholar in TED.

Following the workshop Kirsti Reitan Andersen will fly on to China to begin the Shanghai Shirt project, to be joined by Clara and Becky later in the month. For the field research, TED has printed the TED’s TEN cards in Chinese, and we are interested to find out how they work in this new context. Watch this space.

Dr Kate Goldsworthy at Making Futures conference

Dr Kate Goldsworthy presented her work at the Making Futures conference at Plymouth College of Art & Design on Thursday 26th of September. Her paper, titled ‘Designing Cyclability; re-active and pro-active approaches to lifecycle design’ explored the role of design within a cyclability framework, through mapping the varied lifecycle journeys implied by each case-study. The headline topic for this 2013 conference edition was Interfaces between craft knowledge and design: new opportunities for social innovation and sustainable practice.

The aims of Making Futures are to investigate contemporary craft as a ‘change agent’ within 21st century society – particularly in relation to global environmental and sustainability issues, social equity, social innovation and socially embedded practices including social entrepreneurialism. In doing so, the conference tries to explore whether these imperatives present opportunities for the crafts to redefine and reconstitute themselves as more centrally productive forces in society.

In addition, the conference hosted three workshops that amplified and explored particular facets associated with the craft-design theme:

  • Workshop1: Craftwork as Problem-solving: (in collaboration with the School of Oriental and African Studies)
  • Workshop 2: Crafting with Digital Technologies: (in collaboration with the School of Materials, The Royal College of Art)
  • Workshop 3: Transformative Practices in / through Textiles: (in collaboration with the EC funded Crysalis network)


The Making Futures series is underpinned by seven indicative thematic fields, and the workshops and abstracts that have been selected to be part of this event were relevant within any of the following suggested lines of investigation:

  • Sustainability Innovation & Activism
  • Social Innovation & Community Activism
  • Craft in an Expanded Field
  • The Post-Fordist Political Economy and Critical Perspectives on Consumerism
  • Translations & Dialogues Across Local-Global Divides
  • Materials & Processes of Making – from Traditional Approaches to the Crafts of Advanced Technological Manufactures
  • Re-conceptualising Craft Knowledge & Education