Last week was the second meeting for the Guest Professorship role of Becky Earley and Kay Politowicz at Konstfack in Stockholm. TED Senior Research Fellow Dr. Kate Goldsworthy joined during week two to attend the presentations organised by the students. The MA Textiles in the Expanded Field course at Konstfack consists of a small group of up to 15 students, and the TED elective program is joined by a multi-disciplinary group of fine art, interior and textiles students coming from a diverse range of locations, including London, Russia, Switzerland, Romania and Sweden. Many of the MA students have a background in running their own companies and working as freelance textile designers, and they chose the Konstfack two year MA to further progress their skills. The first two weeks of the Elective ended with the students developing their first MANIFESTO for their individual practice, which will be refined using TED’s TEN strategies during the next weeks and will lead to prototypes we will be showcasing on the Textiletoolbox Synergies section – possibly extended into an exhibition. The TED team will also link the Konstfack students with the MA Textile Design course at Chelsea via virtual sessions for a shared reflection on their practice through the lens of the TED’s TEN sustainable design strategies. Konstfack is also showcasing an exhibition of Shibori Textiles in their gallery this week.
TED is pleased to announce that Lucy Siegle will host our sustainable film night on Thursday 7th of March in the Lecture Theatre at Chelsea College of Art & Design. The event will be part of Green Week at UAL highlighting the sustainability action and theory across colleges with events ranging from lectures, workshops and film screenings.
Lucy is an established journalist appearing on BBC’s ‘The One Show’, author of ‘To Die For’ and journalist in environmental issues for The Observer magazine. As a sustainable design activist she is also part of many initiatives ranging from the Green Carpet Challenge, to her latest Green Cut project, which she will present on the night.
At TED we have noticed how more and more students are creating films to communicate their projects during their course program and final Graduate Shows, and there is a missing link to share these on a platform a shared Vimeo platform across UAL. The Film Vert night intends to demonstrate how film can communicate sustainable design. Film Vert is a simple context that brings together research and teaching staff with students for an evening, to explore sustainable design.
The TED’s TEN will be the framework of the night, with films including TED and TFRC researcher’s interviews and projects, student projects and degree shows, activism, sustainable materials and inspiring short cuts. The evening aims to create awareness for the fashion and textiles students about research at UAL, the international context, and to encourage participation in filmmaking.
Last week TFRC launched its first publication Material Futures with an event at Central Saint Martins organised by the Textile Futures Research Centre and Creative Consultancy FranklinTill. The new TFRC website and the publication show the breadth of research at TFRC with its three platforms: Sustainable Strategy with TFRC Director and TED Reader Becky Earley as lead researcher, Science and Technology with Deputy Director Carole Collet, and Dr Jenny Tillotson leading the Wellbeing platform.
TED researchers were featured in the publication with the latest achievements from the MISTRA Future Fashion research program and more projects from 2012. Copies of the publication will be soon available to buy from the TFRC shop at £17. The website will also offer the opportunity to purchase the TED’s TEN cards as a tool for companies and individuals to apply sustainable thinking.
BA Textile Design course director Caryn Simonson and senior lecturer Melanie Bowles have set up a new website for the BA Textile Design course at Chelsea College of Art & Design. Acting as a newsletter for the course’s projects, collaborations and external events, the new website houses a blog for news on exhibitions, alumni and also the degree shows and stage two shows, plus links to other online resources. For a full view on the BA Textile Design Course please follow this link.
At Midsummer this year we had the pleasure to host Swedish and Danish MISTRA Future Fashion (MiFuFa) researchers in London for our 24hrs Textiles events at CSM and Chelsea.
The first day started with a tour of the MA Textile Futures show at CSM, led by Caroline Till, and finished with a seminar session entitled When Scientists meet Designers, featuring Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and Jim Haseloff, chaired by Carole Collet, Deputy Director of TFRC. The lectures concluded with a conversation between the speakers that also included Asa Ostlund, the MiFuFa Deputy Director.
The seminar was perfectly in tune with our four year MiFuFa project. Asa says that ‘the driving question that all parties (scientists, designers and industry) have in common within MiFuFa is to reach sustainability in fashion. This is challenging both for designers, social scientists and natural scientists’. Asa pointed out how this relationship between designers and scientists needs to be nurtured in following ways:
• “The way that designers and scientists work together is often an iterative process where the scientists have the knowledge about new materials and the designers have a curiosity and urge to use new interesting materials and explore their possibilities. This process has to be cyclical; material coming from the scientist gets tested by the designer, who gives feedback on what to improve, and the scientist modifies the material to respond to the designer’s request.
• “Scientists often an extra push and new energy into their research when working together with the designer.
• “Regarding the modification of fabrics, such as coloring, printing, or mixing materials together, this process should preferably be done in discussion with a scientist to be able to reach the goals of sustainability. This is important when aiming for recycling the fabrics after use and to be able to close the loop of recycling all textile materials.
• “Both the scientist and the designer can reach new unexplored areas when working together and broadening their view with the other person’s vision and experience.”
After an evening of networking and ideas swopping by the Regents Canal, the researchers continued the next morning with a breakfast tour of the Chelsea degree shows. At 11am the group began a workshop with TFRC Director Rebecca Earley – where participants were asked to arrive as sustainable fashion consumers, then become designers, before taking an advisors role. We tried the new TED’s TEN work books out, and asked everyone to make their particular recommendations for achieving systemic change.
The following day after the 24 hours of events we continued brainstorming MiFuFa research with Kirsti Reitan Andersen and Sarah Bly from Copenhagen Business School. Sarah is part of Project 7 looking at sustainable consumption of fashion, while Kirsti is a PhD student from Project 1, focusing on new sustainable business models in fashion companies. We talked about how the TED workshops had explored several important themes over the last five years, and we worked on ideas to reflect and explore these further through co-authoring a paper or chapter in the future.
Our discussions felt like we were beginning to see how to close the loop in engaging with sustainable design in companies, as future fashion needs to push a synergy between the designers, the consumers, and the company. Watch this space for further collaborations in the Autumn…
The BA Textiles Graduate Show here at Chelsea last week was a real triumph of talent and new ideas and techniques. There was also evidence of some really strong sustainable design concepts, mainly hidden from view (as they often are!) but the ideas and concepts the students have been developing over their time here at Chelsea was so exciting to see.
Another aspect of this design approach, is that the ‘sustainability’ of a design or concept is about how the designer thinks – not just in their choice of ‘eco’ fabrics or re-use of materials. At TED we base all our research on this notion – aware that over 80% of our decisions as designer’s affect the environmental impacts of a product, but also re-thinking the role of our designs/textiles in people’s lives, and our role as designers.
This can be explored in a multitude of ways – which is what the ideas behind many of the works on show at the Graduate Exhibition revealed. Can a designer become a design facilitator in a country like India, to work promoting the traditional, craft skills while also bringing new opportunities and markets to local communities? Can a designer bring her innate skill and hand techniques to create new, delicate fibres from waste plastic while also communicating an old cultural tradition of thrift and resourcefulness?
We have done some interviews again this year of some of the Graduates who have been exploring our idea of sustainable textile design, and these will be edited and developed into podcasts soon.
Top image: Imogen Houldsworth, Bottom image: Jo Fowles
Chelsea graduate Tope Tijani, has been the Designer in Residence here in the digital print department, as part of the AA2A scheme. The final show opened at Camberwell, and Tope showed some lovely digital prints that she mounted on the wall and made into a summer dress.
Tope also creates a range of fashion accessories using digitally printed plastics and the range is now available on new online retailer Bengt, that supports emerging designers. The AA2A show continues at Camberwell College of Art until 19th April.
Tope also creates a range of fashion accessories using digitally printed plastics and the range is now available on new online retailer Bengt, that supports emerging designers.
The AA2A show continues at Camberwell College of Art until 19th April.