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

Do Better Things: Do Things Better

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16th November 2015, Fashion Foundry, WASPS Studios in Glasgow


Dr Jen Ballie and Mark Shayler were invited by Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) and the Scottish Textile and Leather Association (STLA) to design an interactive session within an event titled ‘Do Better Things: Do Things Better’.

As designers and consumers alike, we can invest our energy, efforts and expertise into designing and doing good things. But will these actions have a true and meaningful impact within a world already proliferated with too much stuff? A recent BBC documentary titled ‘Hugh’s War on Waste’ highlighted that in the UK alone, we are disposing of seven tonnes of textile waste, every five minutes.

Within many design disciplines there has over the last few decades been a lot of discussion about dematerialised consumption patterns; about shifting the focus in design from material possessions to accessibility and services. But why are there so few examples of organised service systems within fashion or textiles?

Mark and Jen were challenged to deliver a hands-on, interactive workshop to re-imagine sustainability for textile and fashion businesses.

Mark Shayler from This is Ape drew upon his notable expertise of working with big brands to share insights into how we might go about doing more, with less, to develop sustainable brand stories. He talked about the value of truly believing in what you do and mindfully shaped the morning session to provoke new thinking.

During the afternoon, Jen expanded upon her PhD research to introduce service design as an approach for fashion and textiles. Within service design, touch points are used to craft a customer journey. The group explored what fashion and textile touch points could be and how they might be tailored to design alternative fashion experiences. The session concluded with everyone sharing a recipe card, a how-to guide for crafting a touch point, and these will be combined to curate the first chapter of an interactive toolkit.

As designers, every decision we make has a profound impact on people and the environment and we need to better understand how garments live their lives with people.

Written by Dr Jen Ballie
Image Credit: Zero Waste Scotland 2015

Lecture by Ezio Manzini at UAL

The UAL DESIS Lab will host a lecture by Ezio Manzini on Monday 20th of May titled ‘People-as-asset, A radical social innovation and a design opportunity’.

Ezio Manzini has been working for more than two decades in the field of design for sustainability, with a special focus on social innovation. On this topic he started, and currently coordinates, DESIS: an international network promoting, world wide, design schools as agents of social change towards sustainability.

Ezio Manzini’s work has been inspirational in the development of TED for many years in how the role of the designer is extended beyond producing products towards becoming a systems and service thinker. The role of the designer as change-maker also inspired Clara Vuletich’s PhD with MISTRA.

The lecture starts at 6.30pm at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design. Tickets are free but registration is required via Eventbrite.


Sustainability & innovation

TED was at the Sustainable Brands Conference a few weeks ago, listening to the discussions and ‘thought leadership’ ideas from sustainability and brand experts.

Highlights included the presentation from Ogilvie Earth, a sustainable branding consultancy that used animations and videos to communicate their vision for how sustainability can be a powerful driver for innovation.

Another branding consultancy, Dragon Rouge, has developed a series of short films based on the new business models they propose that brands will have to adopt and adapt to,  in the next 15 to 20 years. In their future vision, Primark will offer subscription-based clothing that you hire and that is recycled into a closed loop system once worn out and returned. Here at TED we have been talking about rent or service-type models for fashion for a while now, so it is amusing and inspiring to see businesses start to take up the ideas.

The most inspiring speaker of the day was John Marshall Roberts, a behavioural psychologist and expert at the communication of sustainability – what he called ‘persuasion tools for sustainability leadership’. He introduced the concept of ‘world view thinking’ – the way an individual thinks that informs their perceiving, knowing, thinking, doing, and decision-making. Once we understand what someone’s world-view is, we can use this to overcome cynicism and inspire others to act in positive ways. Truly inspirational!

More on service design for fashion

Lauren Currie from Snook, the service design team who work to make social change happen, was here last month at TED exploring service design ideas around fashion.

She has pulled together a short reflection video from some of us on the day and an insightful blog post on the role of services.

Jen Ballie, our PhD student looking at co-design and fashion responded to Lauren’s post with some insights around empathy:

” I think there is so much we can learn and borrow from the world of service design. I love how you use empathy to connect to people and your work has so much meaning / value that really benefits people.

Within fashion – big brands are really interested in using service design – but to date this has been used to pull people in store and sell more stuff and sometime the intended value / purpose becomes lost in the process and the service isn’t usually sustained beyond a limited period.

How can fashion connect to service design whilst staying true to original values?”

Lots of food for thought, and we see another whole project emerging in itself

PS: Lauren and her team has also just won the 2012 Young Scot Enterprise Award! Congratulations

Service Design workshop

We had a workshop last week here at TED with the wonderful Lauren Currie of Snook Design. Lauren is a service designer who works in social innovation throughout Scotland and she introduced us to her methodology for working with diverse groups making social change, from the ‘users’ perspective.

We explored the range of ‘design tools’ that Lauren has developed for facilitating groups and we discussed the potential role of Service Design for the fashion industry.

If service design is a user-centred approach, it begs several questions: who is the fashion industry serving? Could the British Fashion Council set up a User-Centred Research & Development Lab? What would this look like?

It has given us many ideas for developing some methods for our Future Fashion project.