Enabling Research to Change


Our Swedish project partner Mistra Future Fashion has opened up a new funding opportunity;  Enabling Research to Change. It’s a call for new ideas that contribute to a systemic change of the fashion industry, making it circular and more sustainable. 60, 000 are offered to support new ideas for enabling research to change.


The clock is ticking for the transformation needed for the fashion industry to become sustainable. Efforts to find breakthrough ways to change are right now happening around the world. Most prominent researchers are engaged, supported by front running fashion companies. To stretch further – this is a call for additional breakthrough ideas that are worth being further explored! Mistra Future Fashion offers 60,000 € to support new ideas for enabling research to change.


Mistra Future Fashion is one the biggest research programs in the world and consists of a consortium of researchers and fashion industry actors that act towards the change – on how to design for circular economy, how to promote a more sustainable circular supply chain, how to enable user to act sustainable, and how to increase recycling. We now call for new additional ideas and partners that can strengthen our efforts on our journey to enable a systemic change of fashion industry.


Key focus areas that will be prioritized are “Digitalization”, “Implementation” and “Scale-up of Services”.


Deadline 30th of November 2016

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

Making Circular Transitions by Professor Becky Earley

Being interviewed at the Awards ceremony wearing my 2012 Margiela for H&M dress with a beautiful beaded handmade butterfly necklace borrowed from Clara Francis Jewellery
Being interviewed at the Awards ceremony wearing my 2012 Margiela for H&M dress with a beautiful beaded handmade butterfly necklace borrowed from Clara Francis Jewellery

2016 began with a quiet January at home, thinking about fashion textiles and circles, cycles, loops and spirals. It’s all happening with the circular economy right now – and whilst this has been building for an awfully long time, it finally feels as if some real changes are about to take place. It also feels like a lot of different projects are finally coming together…


Towards Global Change

Since last summer I have been on the judging panel for the H&M Conscious Foundation Global Change Awards. Just before I went to India I submitted my final selection of five winners, and was so pleased to see that when I got back 4 out of the 5 right had made it into the final line up! The winners spanned new fibres – made from paper, textile and citrus fruit waste, as well as algae – and microbes that eat polyester enabling new yarn to be created. There was also a concept for an online platform that connected textile waste from industry to potential users. (This was my favourite – it’s too easy to forget that we need more systems designed to aid the flow of existing resources, as well as the invention of new materials).

The award ceremony was a two-day extravaganza in Stockholm, with event at KTH and the Town Hall. The stair case that the winners came down is the one that the Nobel Prize winners come down. They were a great group of entrepreneurs – it was so exciting to see their ideas get this attention and support.

The keynote speaker for the award ceremony was David Roberts, from Singularity University (also a decorated Special Agent). I have great reservations about the massive investment in technology that goes across around the world, when problems seem to be so much about people, politics and broken systems. But his talk was really enlightening – I was thrilled to hear about exponential growth and technologies coming online, especially the projections he showed around solar power. (He succinctly explained the dip we experience early on with new technologies, where after an initial excitement we begin to doubt them). He brings the talk to a conclusion by showing us two animal films from You Tube, which echo his points about human nature. By joining together in collective action we are strong enough to remove danger from our community. (Oh, and, cat’s are mean…) I am not how well he relates exponential growth and the power of the bystander – it seems to hang in the air at the end. But watch the talk here and decide for yourself.

The judging panel in conversation on stage at Stockholm City Hall, from left: Ellis Rubenstein, CEO of New York Academy of Sciences; Amber Valetta, entrepreneur and activist; Professor Michael Braungart, co-author of Cradle-to-Cradle; Professor Johan Rockstrom, Stockholm Resilience Centre; and me…

Meeting the other judges and Jo Confino (ex Guardian now Huffington Post) was super interesting. I enjoyed the company and conversation of Ellis Rubenstein from NYAS very much. Also Michael Braungart (C2C) and Friederike von Wedel-Parlow (ESMOD), and the great dinner chat whilst seated next to Karl-Johan Persson. I nipped out between the seven vegetarian courses to record this little podcast… with Natalia. (I come in after 23 minutes.)

Can’t finish this report without highlighting the overall winners – by public vote – our Trash 2 Cash collaborators, VTT! Congratulations to them for putting their ideas out there to multiple funders and really pushing their material innovations.

Watch the winners interviews here


Fast Talking, Hybrid Style

Before all the excitement with the awards kicked off I gave a short 8-minute pitch at Mode Hybrid, Hybrid Talks. Hosted by Mistra Future Fashion, Misum, and Stockholm School of Economics, these micro talks focus on the collaborative potential of ‘science fiction, to science fact to science fabulous‘! (To quote the dynamic founder of Hybrid, Annika Shelley!)

Hybrid Talking with Martin Johnson (left), Eduardo Escobedo, Susy Paisley and Annika Shelley

As Hybrid drinks came to an end I did this TV interview. Fashionomics 2 was a conversation around sustainability hosted by Ulf Skarin, Creative Director at the Veckans Affärer and Elin Frendberg, CEO of the Swedish Fashion Council with Eduardo Escobedo, Founder of the RESP – an organisation that brings together luxury brands and sustainability, and Annika Shelly, Founder of Hybrid Talks.


Stockholm Shirts: Making Change

When not TALKING, I am happy to be quietly thinking, making and writing. Whilst I love to talk (I think you realise that after the above!) the pleasure of silently making is essential to thinking clearly. Without making things, and writing ideas down, the whole process just isn’t complete. Whilst I used to rely on making alone to research ideas, I am now fully signed up to the rich experience of being an academic who uses many forms of exploration. It’s not just making, writing and presenting/talking. It’s also exhibition curation and film/animation script writing. When these approaches all work together, I find myself more able to deal with the complexity of sustainability, and hold on to the pleasure of creativity, whilst also finding ways to build communities and audiences.

For this Stockholm trip, I took a day to work into some second hand H&M shirts I had collected from Sweden. I used an old lace dress I found in Anxi Clothing Market in Shanghai in 2013, to create a heat photogram image on the polyester shirts. The mix of Chinese clothing and H&M product enabled me to think more about the disconnect between fashion textile designers and consumers and the industrial manufacturing processes inherent in speedy clothing lines. I am not unaware of H&M production being amongst the fastest in the world – I have questioned them about this myself. They believe in working in emerging economies to contribute to growth there with their business, and to do that in the best ways possible. They argue if they weren’t producing there, things would be much worse for the local economies and lifestyles.

The Stockholm Shirts are about continuing to think about how big business can use textile design approaches to create sustainable social innovation production models.

Making the print template for the Stockholm Shirts from a Chinese lace dress found in Shanghai

Stockholm Shirts, February 2016


Circular Transitions Conference

Finally, for this first post of 2016, I want to flag up our our Mistra Future Fashion Circular Transitions conference in November 2016, at Tate Britain. It has been years in the planning, so we are excited to have the chance to get the world’s design researchers together for two days to fully explore fashion textile design and the emerging circular economy. Abstracts are due in to us by 25th March 2016, so get your ideas together and come and join us for what promises to be a really valuable experience for a wide range of stakeholders – you, the trustees of the future of design and circular fashion textiles…



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


Sustainable Design Contest

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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.

EcoChic Design Award 2015/16

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The EcoChic Design Award is a sustainable fashion design competition inspiring emerging fashion designers to create mainstream clothing with minimal textile waste. Designers are educated with the theory and techniques to enable them to create desirable sustainable clothing via zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction sustainable design techniques.

The 2015/16 competition cycle is open to fashion designers with less than three years’ professional experience and fashion design students living in any Asian or European country. A total of ten finalists from across the regions will be selected to come to Hong Kong in January 2016 to showcase their minimal waste collections at HKTDC Hong Kong Fashion Week where career-changing prizes will be awarded.

The application closing date is 15 August 2015. More information on the application process is available on the Award’s website.

Global Change Award


Professor Becky Earley will be speaking at the launch of the Global Change Award in Stockholm on 25th of August.

The first Global Change Award is an innovation challenge by the H&M Conscious Foundation. It is going to be one of the world’s biggest challenges for early stage innovation and the first such initiative in the fashion industry. By catalysing green, truly disruptive ideas the annual challenge’s aim is to protect the earth’s natural resources by closing the loop for fashion.

Professor Becky Earley will be part of the judging panel looking for bold ideas – great, disruptive ideas that can shape the future of how fashion is designed and produced, shipped, bought, used and recycled and ultimately contribute to a positive long-term change for people and communities all around the world.

Five winners will get a one of a kind opportunity provided by the H&M Conscious Foundation in collaboration with KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and Accenture.

See more information on the Award and sign up for the latest updates here.

EcoChic Design Award 2014/15

The EcoChic Design Award is a sustainable fashion design competition challenging emerging fashion designers to create mainstream clothing with minimal textile waste. The 2014/15 cycle is now open to designers across Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, France, Germany, Sweden and Denmark.

Following months of inspired design and rigorous judging, ten finalists will show their collections and compete for career-changing prizes at Hong Kong Fashion Week.

The 1st Prize includes designing a capsule collection using up-cycled textiles for Shanghai Tang. Other prizes include learning resources from Bloomsbury, and The Ethical Fashion Forum and many other career boosting opportunities.

The challenge is to ‘re-orient’ your design palette to reflect ‘Modern China Chic’ through your contemporary and wearable womenswear collection. This must celebrate the past, present and future fabric of China’s dynamic cultural and style influences in today’s global fashion stage in your design-centric collection that reflects style as much as sustainability.

The application is open between 15 April – 15 August 2014.

For more information on the competition design brief and to download the application form visit the EcoChic Design Award website.

Low Carbon Entrepreneurs 2014

Students have the opportunity to apply to become Low Carbon Entrepreneurs 2014.

The Mayor is looking for student ideas to reduce London’s energy use across everything from engineering to fashion. Successful applicants can receive £20k in funding or a paid internship with Siemens. Students can submit as many entries as they like by the competition deadline on 28th of March.

More information can be found here.

Eco Chic Design Award application deadline 15th of August

It´s now only one month to go to the application closing date of The EcoChic Design Award 2013. This year’s focus is to create mainstream clothing with minimal waste, with designs ranging from zero waste to reconstruction and upcycling. The EcoChic design award’s learn platform shares some educational material for inspiration to the award’s themes: www.ecochicdesignaward.com/learn.
Last year’s Winners of the Sustainable Design Competition visited the TED team to learn more about THE TEN. Wister Tsang and Angus Tsui, pictured here with Professor Rebecca Earley, each received a THE TEN pack and we were delighted to run a mini-worshop on the cards with them.
Applications can be sent until 15th of August 2013, for more information please follow this link.