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

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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. 

TED PhD Researcher to Speak at Design + Research + Society

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TED PhD researcher Miriam Ribul has been selected to present her practice-based PhD research at the PhD By Design event at the Design + Research + Society (DRS) Conference this week. Miriam’s practice-based research is at the intersection of material science and design research. She is exploring how design can offer new insights for textiles when designers intervene with materials; not in their finished form, but in the science laboratory. The aim of this PhD research is to develop a design-led paradigm for textile manufacturing in the context of a 21st century circular economy.

 

Design + Research + Society (DRS) Conference runs on the 28th – 30th June at the University of Brighton. The event celebrates the Design Research Society in its 50th Anniversary year. In connection to the DRS conference, this event will explore what the future holds for design research and how this future is being enacted through practice-based PhD design projects right now. The main questions that the conference seek to explore are:

 

  • How do current PhDs in Design, frame and address the societal problems that face us?
  • In what ways are practice-based PhDs influencing ideas about Design and working as a designer?
  • How does current practice-based design research contribute to re-shaping our lives in more responsible, meaningful, and open ways?

Materials! at WS04 Material Connexion Milano

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We’ve come back from WS04 in Milan with an overwhelming feeling that this can work.

 

This is a significant moment for Trash-2-Cash for a number of reasons: we’re almost one year in, we’ve just completed our first official sharing of written knowledge between disciplines (through 4 internal reports), Cycle A: Design has ended and Cycle B: Application has begun, but most importantly we’re really starting to understand one another and our different contributions to the project.

 

Not everything ‘worked’ at this workshop.  The methodology team has achieved a lot but we are still learning, the ‘design-driven’ approach is very new to all of us.  It’s trial and error; we use our experience and knowledge to plan appropriately, make on-the-spot changes, and introduce experimental tools as well as tried and tested ones.

 

So, as a testament to what we’ve achieved and how a project like this can work (with so many partners, with different backgrounds, languages, disciplines and cultures), we’re going to share some of the ‘tops’ (the best bits) reported by partners in Milan…

 

  • We loved using the materials samples to understand where we’re heading
    The venue for this workshop – Material Connexion Milano HQ – really allowed us to touch, to feel and discuss material properties.  One partner remarked that the location had provided an amazing ‘ambience’ for the workshop (and we could even work outside in the sunshine!)

 

  • We now understand the project ‘State of the Art’
    This has been difficult to achieve in the first year as results were still emerging and partners were still getting to grips with how their work aligned with everyone else’s.  It was the right time to dedicate some significant attention to Work Package presentations.

 

  • We can understand more about our business by hearing what challenges lie ahead for the material through the whole supply chain
    An incredible benefit of this project are the huge range of companies representing most of the material lifecycle and the great level of expertise that can be shared at each workshop – everyone is learning, even the most experienced people.

 

  • The different ways that the methodology team creates opportunities for cross-disciplinary discussions is fantastic
    Each activity is carefully designed to enable particular discussions and analysis to take place.  We reflect on the strengths and weaknesses and adapt our approach accordingly.

 

  • Learning about the fibre production process
    Fibre science and material production is really starting to make sense to designers which in turn opens up doors to creativity and will be an invaluable resource later in the project.

 

  • We are now starting to focus, connecting the dots and the details are emerging – “the project starts now!”
    After much hard work at the ‘fuzzy end’ of the process, partners are starting to see some clarity in what we want to achieve and how we are going to achieve it.

 

  • Cherries!
    In the true sharing spirit of the project, our Slovenian partner brought a gift of cherries.

 

We also had tips (things to improve) which clustered around the need for the science partners to share specific results in smaller groups and in person, not only on Skype… something we will think seriously about in our preparations for WS05 in Copenhagen.       

T2C Weather Report: Preparations for Workshop 04 in Milan

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Workshop 04 (WS04) is almost upon us and Milan in May promises to be everything that Helsinki in March (WS03) was not: warm with a strong technical front moving in from the east.

 

In Helsinki we were treated to a plethora of design approaches to collaboratively add colour and context to our visions for the Trash-2-Cash (T2C) fibres.  We also saw, bubbling up on the horizon, a desire for the science and technology results and challenges to be more openly discussed, shared and addressed.  WS04 will therefore allow the technical partners the time and space necessary to get into the nitty gritty of issues like garment sourcing, fibre elongation and pretreatments… and for the designers this will be an opportunity to find out how ‘garment sourcing, fibre elongation and pretreatments’ actually affect the senso-aesthetic and performance potentials of the new T2C fibres.

 

I shudder at the thought of describing Design as the ‘weakening front’ in this weather analogy but a partial withdrawal is a necessary part of a balanced system, allowing the atmosphere to evolve before pushing back to challenge the technical direction.  In this way the role of Design in Milan will be to support the technical exchange and, perhaps for the first time, scientific and technological challenges can benefit from designerly approaches to problem solving.  The methodology team have designed activities to enable communication within disciplinary groups as well as between partners.  We will take workshop tools to help facilitate discussion, interpret ideas between disciplines, and identify the opportunities in seemingly impossible challenges.

 

WS04 is also a milestone in the T2C project as we bring together official internal insight reports (‘deliverables’ in EU speak) from four different disciplinary areas: marketing; science & technology; design and materials.  This ‘coming together’ of the different areas of project knowledge in a documentary form marks an important stage in the collaboration, taking it out of the messy brainstorm discursion of the workshop into something more considered and tangible.  Together these reports will help each person sitting in their own (disciplinary and geographical) climate to build a more complete picture of the kinds of fibres we plan to develop.  Not all of it will make sense to everyone.  And that’s the other agenda for WS04; to make it make sense, to elucidate the picture that has begun to be pieced together individually and make it vivid in collaboration; a forecast map taking into account all of the different perspectives.

 

When we return on May 27th, back in our own offices, studios and labs, we will all have a clearer picture of the design and technical ‘outlook’ for T2C fibres, and be able to begin work on developing new prototypes in earnest.

TED’s Research Assistant Featured in Today’s Metro

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The work of TED’s Research Assistant Josefin Landalv is featured in today’s Metro. The article presents graduates and students who have been selected to exhibit for UAL Now at the Pulse tradeshow. This featured stand will be presented in Launchpad, Pulse’s creative hub of fresh design talent, and will showcase fourteen new design businesses from University of the Arts students and alumni.

Josefin will be exhibiting her latest work the Lysande lampshade collection which is hand woven from Finnish paper yarn, and minimises environmental impact at all stages of production. The collection is inspired by the natural ridged characteristics of the origin of the material itself – the tree, along with minimalist Scandinavian influences and colourful Senegalese vibrancies.

Josefin graduated from Chelsea College of Arts with a BA in Textile Design in 2011, supported by the Swedish Textile Scholarship Funds (TEKO). In 2014 Josefin received the Cockpit Arts/ Clothworkers’ Foundation Award which recognises entrepreneurial spirit, creative excellence and craft skills. She works part time in TED on practice and theory projects with students and staff.

Pulse is taking place at Olympia London on the 15th – 17th of May.

Photography Alun Callender

Defining fibre concepts: preparations for Workshop 03 (WS03) in Helsinki

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Workshop planning is an adaptive learning process, both in the period between workshops where the methodology team can apply lessons learnt from the previous workshop, and within the workshop itself; the design must be flexible and able to respond to the situation as it unfolds.

The previous workshop in Prato, Florence (WS02, Nov 2015) launched several key work packages, so the intervening three months have been an intense period of research activity across the design, science, manufacturing and marketing disciplines.  Partners have been working hard both independently and in smaller groups to discuss specific tasks.

All of that work will come together in Helsinki with key presentations and interactive knowledge sharing from design, science and marketing partners.  This injection of new knowledge will help the consortium in their next important task of defining ‘primary scenarios’ for the new cellulose and polyester fibres, new fibre concepts, from which the design team can create design briefs and the materials scientists can focus their fibre research.

The methodology team comprising Material ConneXion, University of the Arts London (UAL), Aalto Arts and SP, have been working hard on the plans for this workshop to ensure that all of the knowledge presented can feed into the definition of fibre scenarios, and that all partners’ perspectives are well represented throughout the workshop… and of course it must be an engaging and inspirational experience where partners can strengthen their connections within the collaboration and share ideas.  In short these workshops are crucial for the success of the collaboration.

The methodological approach is to design workshop tools (for example in Helsinki a communal sample case and workshop pack will be introduced with the beginnings of a project glossary) and tailored activities (such as a postcard Q&A, and a materials science tabletop session in this instance) and then observe and analyse the effectiveness and success of those interventions.

What is becoming really interesting, is how each partner is bringing new methods and approaches to presenting and creating new knowledge, from which others are also able to learn.  The methodology team’s role then becomes that of a conductor, creating the framework within which each brilliant solo performance can contribute to the ensemble; the meta-project.

Trash-2-Cash Workshop #02

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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.

Trash-2-Cash: Utilising zero-value waste textiles and fibres with design-driven technologies to create high quality products


14th November 2015

TED have been busy over the summer kicking off Trash-2-Cash, our new EU funded research project. Professor Rebecca Earley and Dr Kate Goldsworthy are collaborating with eighteen partners from nine European countries, and together they aim to design high-quality products from zero-value waste textiles and fibres via design driven technologies. In other words, turn textile and paper waste into desirable luxury products.

Designing for cyclability is the TED ethos, manifested in the belief that design-driven innovation can support better waste utilisation and contribute to reduction of landfill area needs. There are growing problems with paper fibre waste from the paper industry and textile fibre waste, originating from continuously increasing textile consumption. Trash-2-Cash recognises the critical need to address this problem head-on by working with a unique multidisciplinary team of designers, scientists, researchers, manufacturers and SMEs (small/medium enterprises).

Designers will drive this recycling initiative, defining the material properties and working with a range of scientists to develop eco-efficient cotton fibre regeneration and polyester recycling techniques.

This is a three-year initiative that aims to lead the future of design for recycled materials and significantly contribute to the overall vision of closing the material loop.

Follow the Trash-2-Cash developments on our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, and our website is coming soon!

Written by Gabrielle Miller