Circular Transitions – The Big Themes

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The Circular Transition Conference is fast approaching and this series of blogposts will keep you up date with the latest news and developments as the final pieces of the event fall into place. The conference, which is part of a research project for the Mistra Future Fashion consortium will be the first global event to bring together academic and industry research for fashion textiles for the circular economy.

During the coming weeks we will introduce the four keynote speakers Cyndi Rhoades (Worn Again), Sophie Thomas (Thomas Matthews, The Great Recovery), Elin Larsson (Filippa K) and Ed van Hinte (Lightness Studio/ DRS22). The speakers will focus on the three sub themes of the conference: Materials, Models and Mindsets. We will also start announcing the exhibitors who are a group of pioneers demonstrating the latest innovative materials, processes and design models in this field.

TED Researcher to Speak at Sustainable Fashion Event with the Queen of Sweden

Lead Researcher to Speak at German

Everything you can imagine is real –  Bea Szenfeld

 

This week Professor Rebecca Earley will speak at the Facing the Fashion Paradigm shift – The Relevance of Sustainability Seminar at the opening of the Everything you can imagine is real exhibition in Berlin.

 

The event will be attended by Her Royal Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden who officially will inaugurate the exhibition and open the seminar.

 

In connection to the exhibition, an expert seminar moderated by Chairman Rolf Heimann, hessnatur Foundation will take place. Among others, participants such as the Sustainability Manager at H&M, Hendrik Heuermann, Sustainability Director Elin Larsson, Filippa K and author Magdalena Schaffrin, will take part in the discussions. Can different business cycles from fast fashion to slow fashion be a way to tackle irreversible challenges in the fashion industry?

 

The exhibition presents images created by The Royal Swedish Opera with Stockholm Graphics, Karolina Henke, Carl Thorborg and Stina Wirsén and last but not least 15 artworks from the paper collection Haute papier – the white Collection –  from Bea Szenfeld. The spectacular handmade creations are the result from crafts and ideas rooted in a desire to make society more equal and open, hence the name of the exhibition.

EcoSessions: The Crisis of Stuff

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TED researcher Professor Rebecca Earley will be one of the panelists in EcoSessions: The Crisis of Stuff panel discussion later this week. The panel consists of Beyond Retro’s CEO Steven Bethell, the co-founder of Fashion Revolution Orsola de Castro and will be moderated by ethical fashion and sustainable living expert Kate Black.

 

The fashion industry is producing 150 billion garments per year and too many are ending up in landfill. This EcoSession focuses on the crisis of a consumerism, consumption and the opportunity for change. The panelists will give the audience a fuller, richer and more honest picture of our current ‘crisis of stuff’ and what can be done about it.

 

Steven Bethell: Beyond Retro CEO Steven Bethell has been in the recycling business for over 20 years, starting out with glass, cans, and paper before moving on to textiles. As an offshoot of his Canada-based textile trade company Bank & Vogue, Beyond Retro was an early pioneer of the east London vintage scene at its inception 13 years ago, and remains a seminal retailer for savvy secondhand shoppers across the UK and Sweden. The brand comes to Pure with its eponymous Beyond Retro Label, a fully-fledged fashion brand of apparel and accessories crafted from reclaimed materials. Bethell’s career-defining passion for sustainability makes him the perfect candidate to advise retailers on successfully integrating this message into their marketing strategy.

 

Prof. Rebecca Earley: Trained as a printed textile designer (BA Hons, Loughborough, 1992) and fashion print designer (MA, Central Saint Martins, 1994), Becky set up the B.Earley studio in 1995 with help from the Prince’s Trust, Arts Council and the Crafts Council. She is also a design researcher at University of the Arts London and an industry consultant. She divides her working life between Central Saint Martins where she is Director of TFRC, Chelsea College of Arts where she is a principal and co researcher in TED, and Sweden where she is key part of the research consortium work for MISTRA Future Fashion and the EU Horizon 2020 project, Trash-2-Cash. Prof. Earley also supervises PhD researchers who are exploring sustainable textile design and material innovation.

 

Orsola de Castro: A pioneer and internationally recognised opinion leader in sustainable fashion. In 1997 she founded From Somewhere, a label designing clothes made entirely from pre-consumer waste: disregarded materials such as surplus and production cut-offs. The label combined sustainable thinking with fashion-forward design, bringing quality and craftsmanship to ‘exquisite rubbish’. From Somewhere collaborations include Jigsaw, Tesco, Speedo, and a series of best selling capsule collections for Topshop. In 2006, she co-founded the British Fashion Council pioneering initiative Estethica, which she curated until 2014. Estethica was London Fashion Week’s showcase for labels designing sustainably: ethics and aesthetics combined. It nurtured new generations of like-minded designers and supported more established brands who are mindful of their supply chain. In 2014, with Carry Somers, she founded Fashion Revolution Day, marking the disaster in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 24 April 2013 when the Rana Plaza factory collapsed killing and injuring thousands of workers. Raising public awareness of the continuing social and environmental catastrophes in our global fashion supply chains, Fashion Revolution has become a global campaign with participation in over 85 countries around the world. Orsola is a regular key note speaker and mentor as well as a Central Saint Martins Visiting Fellow and Practitioner in Residence for Central Saint Martins Fashion MA.

 

Kate Black: Recognized as an expert in ethical fashion and sustainable living, Kate Black is the founder of Magnifeco.com (launched ’09) and author of ‘Magnifeco: Your Head-to-Toe Guide to Ethical Fashion and Non-Toxic Beauty’ (published 10/15), which has been featured in The Guardian, Vogue Italia, Metro, NOW Magazine and more. Kate is also the founder of EcoSessions, a global event series connecting industry, designers and citizens to discuss change. Fashioned to provide learning, engagement and networking, EcoSessions are an opportunity for industry and the design communities to forge relationships and hatch collaborations and for citizens to engage directly with their favorite brands. She is highly in demand as a speaker and consults with CFDA fashion brands on elevating their Ethical IQ.

 

Book your ticket here!

 

Address:
Beyond Retro Dalston – 92-100 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 7XB

Date:
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Summer Institute at FIT

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Prof. Becky Earley will be a guest speaker at this year’s Summer Institute at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Becky will speak about TED’s work within the Mistra Future Fashion project, which explores the possibility of designing textiles for different and specific lifespans within the circular economy. The talk ‘Designing for Circular Textile Speeds’ (Goldsworthy & Earley, 2016) will be will be accompanied by a ‘Circular Speeds’ workshop. The Summer Institute is a four-day conference for educators and professionals working in fashion and fashion-related areas. The conference consists of morning speakers and panels, with a key note given by Simone Cipriani of the Ethical Fashion Initiative, followed by hands on workshops in the afternoon.

For the full programme visit Summer Institute.

 

Mistra Future Fashion April Newsletter

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Since 2011 TED has been a part of the Swedish funded, cross-disciplinary research program Mistra Future Fashion. Its vision is to close the loop in fashion and clothing – enabling a systemic change in the Swedish fashion industry, leading to a sustainable development of the industry and society.  Phase 2 research began in June 2015; read about the latest developments and progress within the program in this month’s newsletter.

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.

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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.

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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!)

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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.

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

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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…

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www.circulartransitions.org

Hybrid Talks 2016 – “Unlikely bedfellows: When opposites morph into spectacular sustainability.”

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Next week Professor Rebecca Earley will speak about ‘Why we should make fast fashion even faster’ at Hybrid Talks at Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden. The global set of speakers will present micro talks followed by Q&A.

Date: Monday 8 Feb, 2016
 16.30 (sharp) – 18.00
Place: Stockholm School of Economics, Sveavägen 65 (Entrance: Bertil Ohlins gata 5), room: KAW

Partners: Wicked Communications, Stockholm School of Economics/MISUM, MISTRA Future Fashion, Swedish Fashion Council

The event is currently sold out but keep checking the website for last minute cancelations.

 

PROGRAMME:

 Welcome by MISUM, Mistra Future Fashion and Wicked Communications

 

Hybrid Talk No. 1:
“Why we should make fast fashion even faster” Professor Rebecca Earley, University of the Arts, London.
Professor Rebecca Earley is a Professor in Sustainable Textile and Fashion Design and Director of the University of London’s prestigious Textile Futures Research Centre (TFRC). She is part of Mistra Future Fashion and is a Global Change Award judge, Conscious Foundation, H&M and has worked with PUMA and VF Corporation in the UK and US.

 

Hybrid Talk No. 2:
“The role of luxury in sustainable fashion”
Eduardo Escobedo, RESP, Geneva.

Eduardo Escobedo is Executive Director and Founder of RESP (Responsible Ecosystem Sourcing Platform). RESP founding members include Chanel, Armani, Burberry, Mulberry, Bulgari, LVMH. Prior to founding RESP, Eduardo has worked with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), the Mexican Ministry of the Economy, and General Electric.
 

Hybrid Talk No. 3:
“Creating change in production with monks” Martin Johnson, Rajda, Kolkata/Stockholm.
Martin Johnson is the Global Key Account Director for the Rajda Group, an Indian leather accessories producer based in Kolkata. Rajda works with many of the top Swedish and international fashion brands.

 

Hybrid Talk No. 4:
“More than just pretty pictures – Textiles and the conservation of endangered species” Dr. Susanna Paisley-Day, University of Kent, Canterbury.
Dr Susanna Paisley is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) of the University of Kent in Canterbury and a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society.

 

Hybrid Talk No. 5:
“Spider Silk: Nature’s strongest fibre’s extraordinary uses” (Professor My Hedhammar, KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm)
Professor Hedhammar is an Associate Professor in Biochemistry at Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Swedish University of SLU, the founder of Spiber Technologies AB and is a Wallenberg Academy Fellow.

 

Q&A 

Mingle

 

Speeds Stories: ‘FastSlow Textiles’

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18th January 2016    

“ There are so many things that we really need to study, that are not going to make any money for anyone. If people such as me don’t do these studies, who will?”

Ethnographer Daniel Miller was interviewed in connection with his co-authored book on denim and everyday clothing. As an academic, Daniel is providing us with the focus and rigour in his research that is enlightening to design practice. Adopting the spirit of his enquiry and that of other social scientists, we are able to share our personal experiences of everyday living with regard to the choosing, using and disposing of our clothes.

As designers, we think as both creators and consumers. So, the FastSlow blogposts offer an analysis of personal attitudes towards our clothes, which constitute an auto-ethnographic study, revealing motivations that we can recognise and share. When, where and why do we buy fashion? What does any one purchase mean in our thinking – at the time or later? What does our thinking mean in the wider context of design and consumption? The rich collection of personal experiences of clothing outlined in the FastSlow Stories reflects acutely observed, personal behaviour and motivations from students and members of the TED research team. The personal stories offer a diverse mix of memories, humour, mistakes, sadness, insights, irony and dilemmas – both moral and social, characterising the range of emotions associated with fashion that we can all recognise.

Reflection on the experiences deserves further discussion, raising interesting questions concerning the translation of ideas into studio practice. The resulting shared insights into strategic decision-making, assist the direction and meaning of professional design practice. They enable a kind of self-realisation, taking Weick’s (1993) famous proposition: “How do I know what I think until I hear what I have to say?” into “How do I know what I think until I see what I make?”

Narratives reflecting on garments, which are an expression of belonging – either to ethnic cultures or family/friend  ‘tribes’, suggest emotional connections involving the passing on of personal or group culture. Fabrics as souvenirs of travel, used to repair garments, enable continued memories of places. Whereas a comfort cloth, treasured from childhood, can prove essential for wellbeing. ‘Misguided’ purchases are described as being a result of a desire to buy confidence for a social occasion or of the endorphins ‘responsible’ for an enthusiastic overspend at sale or outlet venues. Conversely, self-imposed pressure to buy clothes to fit in, be like the cool crowd, or stand out as an interesting individual leads to some regretted outfits, worn once or not at all. Professional confidences are shared, describing deception by luxury brands through cost-cutting in manufacture, leading to a call for ‘brand-transparency’ to ensure authenticity.

The blog has enabled an examination of what Fast and Slow can mean to each individual. ‘Fast Fashion’ is generally defined as garments that are acquired cheaply, on a whim or under pressure, with little or no regard for the environmental impacts or possible exploitation in manufacture. ‘Slow Fashion’ is seen as a considered purchase, often expensive to reflect costs of material, craft and quality production. It is often defined as ‘classic’ in appearance and function, for long and durable service. Motivations to shop are commonly described as: excitement, novelty, boldness or recklessness in the case of ‘Fast’, whereas  ‘Slow’ has an association of historic skills, aesthetic appreciation, investment in durability with emotional attachment – if not, occasionally, moral superiority.  Actually, Fast and Slow are as easily described as statements of quality rather than speed. Both it seems, could be equally valid if they were designed to fulfil the ideals of production without exploitation and with respect for the cycle of material impacts. Thus a huge range of design potential is demonstrated in overcoming the barriers to proposing sustainable products and capitalising on individuals’ motivations. The speed could be, therefore, simply the best-designed product for the need.

Written by Kay Politowicz

  • Blue Jeans: The Art of the Ordinary’, Daniel Miller & Sophie Woodward. University of California Press (2012).
  • ‘Stuff’, Daniel Miller. Polity Press (2009)
  • Evocative Objects: Things We Think With’, Ed. Sherry Turkle. MIT Press (2007)
  • ‘The System of Objects’, Jean Baudrillard. Verso Books (2005)

FastSlow MA Textiles TED Project Launch

Fast Slow Textiles MA Course
4th November 2015

The launch of FastSlow was an intense experience of ideas related to material cyclability. MA Textile Design students participated with enthusiasm in a series of talks and workshops led by practicing textile designers and researchers. The lectures and workshops were designed to demonstrate opportunities and tools to map the full potential of design decisions. The focus was the engagement of today’s textile designer in a material and social economy. A diverse range of solutions was developed by students, in their own, imagined, ‘slow’ design scenarios.

Collaborative, creative workshops led by Emmeline Child and Katherine May, inspired students to explore a series of ideas through the use of often familiar materials applied in new ways. As a result, students proposed transformative actions as potential disruptions to the fashion system. The products that were being conceived, acted as systems in their own right. Creative repair, personal reflection and adaptation of traditional hand techniques were applied to existing individual studio practice. Individual making sessions were propelled by a poetic introduction of chosen words delivered, at intervals, to create a changing focus for thought. Group discussion and material manipulation encouraged students to acquire the practices and skills necessary to make key changes through design.

Written by Kay Politowicz