Meet Gustav

In the latest T2C podcast, researcher Gustav Sandin explains how the Lifecycle Assessment tool can be used to determine the impact of everyday products like jeans or hospital gowns, services like clothing libraries, or processes like the washing of clothes.

It’s about understanding the entire context of the product or service, not just the materials they’re made from. Gustav’s work identifies where the hot spots are, and how these might be managed out to make a real and measurable difference.

Gustav (from RISE – Research Institutes of Sweden) describes how modelling garment lifecycles is a kind of environmental mythbusting, and how passionate he personally feels about achieving a significant reduction in environmental impact through the research projects he is involved in.

Listen on Soundcloud or iTunes now!


Exploring Design-Science Material Innovation Partnerships

Materials research has developed rapidly in recent years, in both the scientific field and through design exploration. Design-science collaborations are emerging which create new directions and conversations in materials development. Outlooks and mindsets are changing through these collaborations to challenge traditional approaches and established disciplinary boundaries.

The aim of this one-day seminar was to explore new ways of thinking by inviting existing design and science collaborators to present their work together, from their own unique perspectives.

Dynamic Duos was curated within the context of the Trash-2-Cash (T2C) project which aims to apply a ‘design-driven’ approach to the development of new, regenerated textile fibres.

Framing the event – current work at TED

The day started with an introduction from Professor Rebecca Earley and Dr Kate Goldsworthy from the Textile Environment Design (TED) research group based at Chelsea College of Arts (UAL) who hosted the event in London. Becky presented a showcase of past and present projects where UAL design researchers from the Textiles Futures Research Centre (TFRC) and at the London College of Fashion have worked with scientists, including the work of Suzanne Lee, Carole Collet and Helen Storey.

Current TED projects such as Trash-2-Cash and Mistra Future Fashion II continue this research direction by bringing together large multi-disciplinary teams to try to tackle the complex problems of materials cirularlity and sustainability. This has allowed TED to build a team of Post-doctoral Researchers – Dr Dawn Ellams and Dr Rosie Hornbuckle, and PhD students who are working in this field. Kate explained, the team’s experiences have resulted in some interesting insights about how designers and scientists can work together, such as ‘bringing our studio with us’, revealing hidden (technical) knowledge through visualisation, ‘bypassing the system’, using co-design workshops, and tacit materials knowledge or ‘design hunches’.

A curiosity about commonalities and differences in the various approaches taken in these projects and partnerships was the driving force behind this event. A fantastic line-up of design and science ‘duos’ were asked to reflect on the following questions in their talks:

  • How did the collaboration start?
  • What were the main challenges?
  • What helped you to communicate and share knowledge?
  • What was ‘success’ for each of you?

As well as some fantastic speakers it was great to have both scientists and designers in the audience, from both academia and industry, representing other EU projects such as Light Touch Matters and ECAP, and UK organisations such as WRAP and the AHRC – a truly informed audience.

The day was organised so that the dynamic duo presentations in the morning generated the content for further round table discussions in the afternoon.

Marjaana Tanttu and Dr Michael Hummel from Aalto University in Helsinki kicked off with a brilliant anecdote about ‘Dog Brushes’. In order to bridge the gap between fibre production and textile prototype they had to solve some very practical problems in an immediate way – separating the fibres using dog brushes and cutting staple fibres using paper scissors. This highlighted a problem that was shared in the room, that often lab-scale equipment is insufficient to produce prototype-ready materials for designers to use in their work. The need to work closely together and share spaces was also a key element in enabling a common language to be developed, and the use of summer schools to create an interdisciplinary ‘playground’ was a theme which resonated in subsequent talks.

Prof Kay Politowicz (UAL) and Dr Hjalmar Granberg’s (RISE) talk began with how they started to work together, as an off-shoot of the Mistra Future Fashion project; they didn’t need to deliver something they simply recognised the mutual desire to make: you make something; I make something, let’s make something together. This highlights a theme that we have been exploring in Trash-2-Cash, that successful collaboration is as much about people getting on with one another, being inspired by each other – ‘clicking’ – as it is to do with systems, tools & methods. Hjalmar drew attention to the ‘demonstrator’ sample as a way of allowing others to see what is possible, while Kay reiterated a point made earlier about how research is intrinsically linked to teaching. Both researchers found that the complimentary skills and knowledge – described as ‘breadth and depth’ (referencing Tim Browns ‘T’ model), as well as identifying a shared problem, provided the basis for working together.

Miriam Ribul (UAL) and Dr Hanna de la Motte’s (RISE) work was presented partially via Skype (a modern enabler of collaboration) and introduced Miriam’s past work for Mistra (where the collaboration was born) and her current Doctoral research. Miriam worked with Hanna as a ‘designer in residence’ which involved intense two week periods in the science lab. Miriam’s approach was playful and experimental: “she created so much cool stuff” Hanna explained; the serendipitous nature of design exploration within such a short space of time compared with the longer process of systematic scientific enquiry was a theme which was echoed by others throughout the day. The hardest thing was working out what they could do together, what was possible, how to start… while Miriam noted that one of the nicest things was being able to get a scientific explanation for what she had made the materials do through her experimentations.

Dr Dawn Ellams (UAL) and Prof Robert Christie (Heriot-Watt University) explained how the challenging landscape of research assessment in the UK was part of the driving force behind creating ‘impact’ through research collaborations with designers. Top-down drivers were also identified later in the day as an opportunity for this type of research, as funders too increasingly understand the value of multidisciplinary research. Bob explained that one of the surprising things about Dawn was how she turned scientific concepts into inspiration for her work, while Dawn noted that she had to communicate her approach to the scientists in a way which gained their trust, learning about a specific part of the process whilst maintaining her unique standpoint as a designer, so as not to become a ‘bad scientist’. Bob repeatedly saw that through uninhibited exploration, his design students were able to make discoveries that scientific enquiry would be unlikely to predict: “I learnt not to discourage them”.

Dr Adam Walker & Nick Ryan (Worn Again) represented an interesting contrast to the academic focus of the first four duos. Working in industry, the pair explained that while the first major challenge had been understanding one another (both explained that they had invested time to better understand the other’s language and discipline), the continuing problem has been communicating the value of a scientific principal to commercial stakeholders. Nick explained that a simple diagram had been the key to potential funders understanding why their technology would make money in a competitive environment, while Adam explained that the real advantage of working in this context was that the market was already established – market-pull is far more effective than technology-push.

Dr Kate Goldsworthy hosted the panel discussion in the afternoon, drawing out some of the key questions from the morning’s talks. Some of the highlights were the ability of designers to ‘ask the right questions’, to challenge the scientists, and the need to work together in close proximity – do we need new spaces for design-science work? Creating an atmosphere for the freedom to explore, and reach serendipitous outcomes which may be more ‘innovative’ than conventional enquiry, how can we do this more in design and science? What can be achieved in science within one month and what can be achieved in design are very different, what can we expect from each discipline given the different timeframes? Investing in the other discipline while maintaining your own disciplinary identity also a featured in the discussion.

Four key questions drawn from the days’ talks were:

  1. What new (old) methods are useful?
  2. What are the opportunities?
  3. How do we creatively communicate?
  4. What new spaces could we share?

This is part of TED’s ongoing research into multi- and inter- disciplinary tools and methods in both the Trash-2-Cash and Mistra Future Fashion II projects.

Watch this space for more events, discussions and research from us in this emerging area.

Dr Rosie Hornbuckle
Post-doctoral Researcher, Trash-2-Cash
Textiles Environment Design (TED) research group, UAL


Do you have amazing communication and graphic design skills? We want you to JOIN US!

We are excited to announce that University of the Arts is advertising a design communications 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’. In the ‘Trash-2-Cash’ project, growing problems with waste from the paper industry and textile fibre waste, originating from a continuously increasing textile consumption, will be solved 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.    

We are seeking an outstanding and enthusiastic research assistant who has experience in communicating design research to a variety of audiences. The role involves assisting the UAL team in the design and delivery of workshops and events that will endeavour to explore the design approaches, materials and methods required to create cyclable products within a variety of industry contexts. As well as gathering and transcribing data from Trash-2-Cash activities, you will produce graphics that communicate the ideas of the consortium. 

If this sounds like you, then follow the link for more information and the application to: JOIN US!

TED Textile Toolbox workshop at Norwich University of the Arts

Helen Paine recently completed her PhD at Royal College of Art and is associated to TED via her PhD supervisor, Dr Kate Goldsworthy. This month Helen used TED’s TEN and the Textile Toolbox web platform to structure a future materials workshop for a group of 2nd and 3rd year Textiles students at Norwich University of the Arts. The session began with a short lecture that introduced TED’s research, their TEN sustainable research strategies and Textile-Toolbox pop-up exhibits. After this initial introduction, students were asked to reflect on their own practice and consider how they might develop a favourite sample from a previous project with reference to TED’s TEN. They worked together as a group to discuss ideas, which informed the development of their own sustainable manifestos. Each student presented their manifesto back to the group at the end of the morning session. There were some great ideas on ways of making their practice more sustainable, such as using dry processing methods to reduce water waste; substituting materials to maintain mono-materiality for closed-loop recycling; and building the consumer into their design process to reduce the need to consume.

BA Textiles students at Norwich University of the Arts developing sustainable manifestos for their work using TEDs TEN

Students took a more practical approach in the afternoon session to learn about the work of TED and performed Becky Earley’s Fast Refashion technique on a used polyester shirt. Helen wore a shirt that she had already transformed using the technique to inspire students and give them some ideas for their own designs. Stencils were cut from heat-transfer papers and applied directly to the surface of the shirt using a heat press. Through this exercise students were introduced to a quick and simple way of refashioning mono-material polyester clothing and were able to give their clothing a new lease of life for prolonged wear. Some of the students loved their transformed shirts so much that they wore them home from the session. Thanks TED for a great Toolbox of inspirational ideas!

BA Textiles students at Norwich University of the Arts performing Becky Earley’s Fast-Refashion technique on used polyester clothing

Meet Michael

Cellulose Spaghetti’ is the latest Trash-2-Cash podcast, and the first to feature one of our science partners.

Dr Michael Hummel is part of the Aalto Chem team working on chemically dissolving waste to produce new, high quality textile fibres. The Ioncell-F process they’ve developed won last year’s Global Change Award, and Michael explains more about the process, and potential impact in the podcast.

In Michael’s words

Ioncell-F is a new method to create so-called ‘man-made cellulosic fibres’. These are meant to replace, or be an alternative to, cotton. There have been a few fibres on the market – most prominently Tencel and Viscose – but the problem with Viscose is that it’s connected to a lot of toxic chemicals, so the process is anything but green. The fibres are good (in the end), but the way to get to these fibres is not really in line with 21st century sustainability thinking.

So there’s a need for new processes. The Tencel process is one of them, but it is limited…the process that we have come up with is more versatile, and that is reflected in the trash that we can transform into high quality fibres.

The feedstock that we’re using to produce these fibres is cellulose…and it doesn’t really matter where it comes from – whether old cotton textiles, fresh wood pulp, or used cardboard boxes. As soon as we can isolate the cellulose, we can convert it.

(But what actually is cellulose?)

Cellulose is a polymer. Most people connect that term to synthetic polymers (or oil based products), but cellulose is a natural polymer – the most abundant natural polymer on earth in fact. In every biomass you’ll find cellulose – from a little in algae, to 90% or more in cotton.

It’s an amazing resource that hasn’t been valorized yet.

– – – – – – –

Michael goes on to talk about how you spin a solution into a fibre (a hint is in the title of the podcast), how colours and dyes affect the recycling process and he tells us what an ionic liquid is. Michael also explains how collaborating with designers has helped to move what might have been a small lab based project onto the global stage, with the chance to make a real impact on the lifecycle of all textiles.

This is an insightful podcast that highlights why we need science, design and industry to come together to help solve real and urgent problems.

Listen to Michael’s story on either Soundcloud or iTunes…and don’t forget to subscribe for more

TED Researcher to Speak at London-based Sustainable Fashion Technology Event

TED Researcher at Free London

This week TED Researcher Dr Kate Goldsworthy will speak at CFE FashTech Meetup 9: Rediscovering Sustainability. It will be an evening with inspiring talks, exciting conversations and engaging presentations with focuses on Rediscovering Sustainability with a fashion tech angle. There will be speakers from different professional backgrounds who are working in either creating new eco materials or using tech to make existing products & processes more ethical. The panel will discuss ‘How new technologies are helping us rediscover sustainability and whether they will help change human behaviour’. The event is aimed at fashion, tech and digital creatives, UAL students, graduates and alumni as well as the wider fashion, tech, investor and media industry.



Lynne Murray (Panel chair)

Lynne is in charge of setting new vision for digital thinking at London College of Fashion through founding of the Digital Anthropology Lab. From exploring futures in digital to bringing industry to research across emerging technologies including wearables, IoT, AR/ VR and smart materials, Lynne focuses on building a new collaborative way of working across public and private sector to enable true, genuine and useful advances in digital creative technologies for fashion and the creative industries.


Matthew Drinkwater (speaker)

Matthew works at the crossroads of Fashion, Retail and Technology to head up LCF’s Fashion Innovation Agency. Matthew delivered the world’s first digital skirt for Nokia, wireless charging clothing for Microsoft and what Forbes described as ‘the first example of truly beautiful wearable tech’ for Disney and was named in the 100 most influential in the world of Wearable Technology. He is currently working on global concepts in wearables, fashion technology and IoT.


Hannah Bernard (White) (speaker)

Hannah is an expert in fashion communication and marketing, with 10 years experience within the apparel and retail. In 2016, Hannah was appointed as Director, Global Marketing Communications, Apparel & RFID at Avery Dennison RBIS. Avery Dennison RBIS is a global leader in apparel branding, labelling, packaging, embellishments and RFID solutions. Avery Dennison RBIS partners with some of the world’s largest apparel and retail brands including, Christopher Raeburn, Kit Neale, Astrid Andersen and Holly Fulton, to bring their branding to life, focusing on sustainable alternatives and innovative materials that reduce the retail and apparel industry’s impact on the environment.


Kate Goldsworthy (speaker)

Kate Goldsworthy is currently Reader in Circular Textile Design at UAL. With over 15 years of experience as a textile designer and researcher, her core interests are sustainability, design for cyclability, new finishing and production technologies and material innovation. Her approach is practice-based, always placing making and tacit knowledge at the centre of her action-research, and collaborative, often across disciplines in both industry and scientific fields. She regularly contributes to international publications and conferences and her design work has been exhibited widely, including the Science Museum, the ICA and Crafts Council, (London), the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design (USA) and the Audax Textile Museum (Tilburg).


Irene-Marie Seelig (speaker)
Irene-Marie Seelig is a proven marketing leader and business development strategist with over 7 years experience in the fashion and emerging technology industries through the approach of sustainability. She excels at translating creative ideas into executable plans that drive brand equity and profitable growth for values-driven companies. In 2016, Irene won the LCFxKering Award for Sustainable Fashion with Stella McCartney for her mushroom leather project. This innovative material, made from the skin of Amadou Mushrooms, is a renewable, biodegradable and vegetarian leather alternative. The award reflects the importance of sustainability and social consciousness to create a sustainable future for the fashion industry.



Centre for Fashion Enterprise (CFE) is London’s pioneering fashion & fashion tech business incubator. Located within the University of the Arts London it has been integral to London College of Fashion since 2003.

Supporting and developing creative talent is the cornerstone of our work. Our programmes merge innovation across fashion, fashion tech and business, providing facilities, a networking environment and progressive solutions in business for aspiring entrepreneurs and emerging fashion designer businesses in London and internationally. Their expertise, in partnership with key players in the fashion and fashion tech industries, facilitates success in the global marketplace. CFE has created a culture of trust and vision underpinned by the success of the businesses supported, and it is recognised and supported by leading industry partners, retailers and investors.

The event is currently sold out but you can join the waitlist.

Date: 26 January 2017,  6pm – 9pm

Location:  Interchange Triangle, Stables Market, Chalk Farm Rd, London NW1 8AB

Meet Reima’s R&D Project Manager in the latest Trash-2-Cash Podcast

Meet Matilda_T2C

In this podcast, Prof Becky Earley catches up with Matilda Laitila – an R&D Project Manager at cool Finnish Children’s brand Reima. For more than 70 years Reima has been supplying cosy clothing encouraging people to play outdoors, no matter the weather.


Through projects like Trash-2-Cash Reima intends to continue being the world’s leading expert in outdoor clothing for children. It’s also important for T2C to have industry partners who are at the ‘coal face’ of performance wear, to make sure fibres we develop in the project will be commercially viable in that sector.


Founded in 1944, there was a shortage of raw materials, so the first Reima products (women’s work wear) were manufactured out of old army snowsuits. As performance is such an important part of outdoor fashion design, there’s always been a focus on material breakthroughs at Reima – Enstex material was introduced, then followed by Reimatec. Matilda’s job is to study new materials that will help them meet their goals of a waterproof, abrasion resistant and comfortable garment.


Reima also has pretty inspiring pillars of responsibility around sustainability, covering material and product development, the supply chain, and future recycling systems.


Matilda talks about all of this in the latest Trash-2-Cash podcast, available on iTunes and Soundcloud now. 

Meet Circular Transitions Keynote Speaker Sophie Thomas


Graphic and communication designer Sophie Thomas has been working in the fields of sustainable design and material process for over 15 years. She is the Founding Director for Thomas Matthews and Director of Circular Economy at the RSA. Her long term interest in sustainability and materials has led her to share her experience of closed loop thinking with other designers, and in 2012 she founded The Great Recovery, a programme to build capacity and understanding of circular design in the materials supply chain through practical exploration.


What are you working on at the moment?
I have gone back into my communication design practice and am beginning to work with businesses who want to ‘be circular’ but are unsure how to start and what it actually means.

I am also developing ideas around how designers can develop Ocean Friendly Design, specifically tackling marine plastic through active programmes. Both these pieces are continuing my conviction that seeing is believing and the way to lean this stuff can be kicked off through kinaesthetic learning. As Great Recovery participant Rich Gilbert said: You can read blogs and reports all you like, but you will never forget the smell of a landfill site.


What will you share at the conference that people haven’t heard before?
I will be sharing the developed methodology of how you can design a circular business and how to understand which of the circular design models you should be designing to. We have been developing the circular economy edition of the double diamond.


Tell us about what you are excited to bring back from the conference?
For me it’s all about people, their projects and research and networking. When I meet a bright spark with a ‘crazy but it might just work’ idea I get very excited and go through my mental rotadex to see who I can connect them with.

Meet Circular Transitions Keynote Speaker Ed Van Hinte


Ed van Hinte is a Dutch engineer, design critic, writer and educator with a degree in Industrial Design and Engineering from the University of Technology in Delft.

He has written and published many books some of which concern the consequences of diminishing material production and consumption. Some relevant titles are:

  • product lifespan extension in Eternally Yours
  • mass reduction in Lightness Studios.

He has delivered workshops on design and architecture all over the world, and in December 2014 received the Pierre Bayle lifetime achievement award for design criticism. Ed is involved in design research at DRS22 in The Hague, a multidisciplinary research facility for young designers that he started with graphic designer Renate Boere.


What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a few projects right now:

  1. I’m continuing my exploration into the design of a lightweight standard house
  2. I’m researching ways to cultivate the value of used fleece, with fashion designer Conny Groenewegen
  3. And my main focus is writing a brand new book (working title Designing Lightness) as part of a campaign to understand lightweight structures, together with Adriaan Beukers, Erik Wong and Nai010 Publishers


What will you share at the conference that people haven’t heard before?

Controversially I’m going to say that circularity is not the right thing to aim for. I’ll convince you that we should focus on cultivating value over time, and minimising the flow of materials instead. Come to my talk to learn more!


Tell us about what you are excited to bring back from the conference?

Hopefully I will learn about projects showing the way to both a richer and a much more modest future civilisation

Meet Elin Larsson – Sustainability Director at Filippa K & Circular Transitions Keynote Speaker


Mini Bio
Elin Larsson has been the Sustainability Director at Filippa K since 2011. But she’s been with Filippa K since 1996 in a vast range of roles, so the responsible ethos of the stylish brand runs deep for her.

Having experience in logistics and supply chain management, sales, and project management gives her unique insight into how business functions will need to go from disconnected to connected in a circular economy. She’s currently working on strategies to demonstrate that environmental and commercial sustainability can comfortably coexist.

Elin also has qualifications in Sustainable Transition (exploring the crossover between politics, the economy, and environment) from Jönköping University in Sweden.


What are you working on at the moment?
It’s an exciting time. We’re at the beginning of a long journey to fundamentally redesign the conditions, rules, and expectations for a ‘responsible’ fashion industry and right now my team is testing new models that fit within the circular economy  – or as we at Filippa K say – our new business models respect ‘planetary boundaries’.

Our industry must change, that fact is indisputible. Either you ignore that…or you become part of the transformation and that is what we have chosen. We are highly motivated and determined to succeed.


What will you share at the conference that people haven’t heard before?
Our mission is to help our users build a sustainable and curated wardrobe. That seems to many like an overwhelming challenge, but I’ll be sharing how our initiatives are guiding us towards new business models and solutions that we hope will lead industry best practice.


Tell us about what you are excited to bring back from the conference?
It is a big system change that is needed, and organisations can’t expect to achieve success by working alone. We’re hoping to inspire others with our presentation, but also to see how others are approaching this big challenge and hopefully bring that inspiration home with us. We all need to work together to drive big change. I look forward to meeting with you all at the conference!