TED’s Sustainable Practice Award 2016

At this year’s outstanding BA Textile Degree show at Chelsea College of Arts, TED awarded a Sustainable Practice Award with a focus on innovation and environmental consideration. It was given to students who demonstrated excellent practice and progressive thinking in sustainable textile design.  The TED team was truly impressed by the overall high standard of work this year, which was demonstrated through craftsmanship, highly developed concepts and original ideas. We are pleased to announce that the winners of TED’s Sustainable Practice Award 2016 are:


abbi fletcher 1 _400ppi abbi fletcher 6_400ppi

Abigail Fletcher for combining design and technology in her interactive textile range. Her work is concerned with the future of textiles, by promoting the importance of new technologies and to encourage others to consider how these can be used to solve problems and transform how we live. In the collection, whether the audio becomes physical, or the physical becomes audio, music and technology constantly act in tandem to reveal the possibilities of tactile qualities for digital products.


Single_400ppi Duo_400ppi

Archie Dickens for his minimal waste and unisex knitwear collection. By using the knitting machine as a ‘3D printer’ Archie produced highly customized pattern pieces, which minimised waste during the production stage. The garment shapes, determined by the size and shape of the wearer, allow for total flexibility. By incorporating ideas of supplication and ambiguity Archie is allowing a timeless inclusivity to evolve within the collection and therefore also adding an element of multifunction and longevity.




Catherine Taylor for her fashion collection, which aims to embody digital users and develop a deeper connectivity between themselves and their virtually-extended self while purchasing garments online. The virtual garment animations are intended for display in online shops, to allow for consumers to interact and experience the clothing before purchasing. The process will develop into a website that allows the consumer to customize the product before purchase, whilst moving around the garment and adapting the clothing. This will increase consumer’s self-expression and will increase longevity of the garment.

Adhocism Project Exhibition: Chelsea BA Textile Design Stage 2 PV Wednesday 18th May 2016



An exciting an impressive collection of work from BA Stage 2 students was on show at Millbank in mid May.


‘Adhocism’, the concluding project from the Stage 2 Textile Design Programme, was a demonstration of energy, enthusiasm and curiosity that characterizes the best kind of work from designers today. For several weeks, students were encouraged to explore their personal interests within a broad framework of ideas that connects contemporary world concerns – economic, social and environmental, connected by their interpretation of the concept of ‘Adhocism’.


The students declared an appetite for thinking in ambitious, radical ways when members of the TED research group held a ‘brainstorm workshop’ early in the project. Students articulated their developing ideas and confirmed the diverse and dynamic directions they were taking the TEN strategies, which represent new areas of creative concern for the textile designers of the future. The exciting thing is that there is still a further year of study for the students to confirm and develop a personal position in relation to their wide definition of the subject.


A competition for design solutions was set by the TED team, demonstrating: ambition; skill; aesthetic judgment and personal interpretation of sustainability. Any selection of the work best capturing these qualities proved very difficult, as radical new ideas were demonstrated in all disciplines and inspiring design challenges were identified at all stages of the lifecycle.


Finally, a selection was made of 4 ‘commended’ students: Yee Nan Fong, James Frost, Zoe Hartington and Brian Lamb, while the top prize was unanimously awarded to Hannah Louise Robinson. The prizes, presented by Prof. Rebecca Earley, included a paid ‘internship’, enabling the winning student to work as part of the TED group – on live, ongoing, project material, prior to final year BA study.



Commended Students:


James Frost: for the way in which he considered the subject of trainers as a vehicle for systemic change in the fashion industry. Their meaning in social, economic and environmental terms was well researched and presented. The entrepreneurial spirit James demonstrated in setting up a website to effect positive social change was highly commended.

.Yee Man Fung400ppi

Yee Man Fung: for her connection between her textile practice and her ethical concerns about killing animals for food. Yee’s use of humour and inventiveness in setting out a knitted banquet with a correspondingly challenging menu was thought provoking and skillful in equal measure. The collection was commended for offering an aesthetic yet activist approach to her firmly held beliefs.

BryanLam_400ppi copy

Brian Lamb: whose work featured the production of a professionally presented development of modular structures in a dynamic video format. The design of a diagrammatic range of furniture proposed products for distributed manufacture, DIY consumer involvement and a possible context for woven textiles.  Brian’s use of the software promotes a convincing, next generation of product communication for designers.

Zoe Hardingham_400ppi

Zoe Hartington: for her creation of a huge vision by applying her skills to the urban environment.  Zoe transformed the urban landscape into a canvas for the application of beautiful, projected images. Her large format photographs captured Thames river views as virtual renditions of Venetian paintings. The presentation of such ambitious and compelling images demonstrated the transformative qualities of design thinking to problems of urban degeneration.

HannahR_400ppi copy

Winner – Hannah Louise Robinson: for her original and impressive interpretation of the pressing environmental and economic problems caused by waste material. Her thorough and detailed research was evidence of a complete commitment to exhaustive investigation of the issues. Hannah’s application of an intelligent series of design decisions regarding re-crafting techniques, new industrial connections in production and application to a final ‘product’ was impressive – particularly as the product was the changed nature of the fabric itself. It achieved new value for the material and pointed towards transformative future product development.


Congratulations to all students and staff for the impressive demonstration of ambitious ideas, deep thinking, humour and skill.


The TED team
27th May 2016



Denim innovation

Eva Tong_BA Textile Design_2015
Eva Tong, BA Textile Design 2015

Miriam Ribul lead a client denim innovation project with students from the BA Textile Design course at Chelsea College of Arts between July and October this year. The students were selected based on strength of their submitted proposal and were mentored throughout summer to develop innovative concepts for the future of this material.

The project started in July with an inspiration lecture covering aspects of sustainability, technology, social science, material innovation and trends. The selected finalists participating over the summer included recent graduates from 2015 and students entering the third year from the weave, knit and print specialism. The development stage of the project included three master classes with leading designers, and the selected group had unique access to the textile workshops to develop their work.

The final entries were evaluated by leading textile researchers Professor Becky Earley, senior lecturer Melanie Bowles and the client’s innovation team. The winning project and honourable mentions demonstrated innovative thinking for the future of denim and strong concepts based on key trend developments. The winners also stood out for the great quality of work and ideas that are both future-facing and commercially viable.

1st Prize:
Boram Chin – 3rd year BA Textile Design student

Honourable mentions:
Eva Tong – BA Textile Design graduate 2015
Megan Sharples – BA Textile Design graduate 2015
Jo Saich – 3rd year BA Textile Design student

FastSlow MA Textiles Day II


5th November 2015

After a wonderful day of Slow talks by Kay Politowicz and Slow making workshops from Katherine May and Emmeline Child yesterday, today was all about speeding up.

We began by reflecting on yesterday’s experiences of Slow through words. A word which stood out, resonating from the first day into the second was ‘UNPICK’. Working with mono-materials and limited processing students had been cutting and fraying, weaving, sewing and binding parts from one piece of fabric to fasten, construct or embellish the original piece, resulting in some fascinating samples.

Changing speed further, we played a fast game with slow words, enjoying the abstract and overarching meaning of slow; ranging from slow moods to slow musicians. We also asked students to consider their own clothing, was it Fast or Slow, or both? Where was it made? How long had they owned it? Embedded meaning (gifting) was a prominent feature in garments owned longer than a year, and we considered that the design intention of a garment could be Fast while the owner’s attitude towards it was Slow.

Rosie’s talk in the afternoon introducted the concepts of biological and technological metabolisms, exploring material characteristics that lend themselves to Slow or Fast cycles; functional and emotional durability, authenticity and luxury, compostability and cyclability. 100% compostable sheets as soft as brushed cotton (sourced by Kay from a high street store) were passed between the students, demonstrating the potential performance of Fast textiles. This marked an important moment in the students’ awakening to the opportunity of Fast, to be explored in the afternoon workshop. Gabrielle also presented some useful resources for the students to explore.

The afternoon workshops completed the two day’s activities, and took a more focused and conventional design-project approach to Fast Textiles. Group A, (Kay) took TED’s ‘The Ten’ as inspiration, Group B (Rosie) looked at durability and cyclability as a starting point and Group C (Miriam) looked at different material types.

After familiarising themselves with eachother’s projects, each group chose one project to progress into a Fast product proposal, taking into account the different stages of the lifecycle.

There were some brilliant responses. One group’s proposal “Burn Me!” looked at the potential lifecycle of a candle holding a memento within, while another “Paper Stories” took the vast costume warehouses of London as a starting point. This concept involved pure white paper ‘blank’ costumes which could be decorated according to the production needs using light projections. The paper could then be either composted or recycled into new costume blanks or other paper products for the production. Another project considered the cyclability of wool, prompting a discussion about the potential processing possibilities as the fibres shorten through multiple cycles; felting, needle bonding, moulding, adding longer fibres… then to the question of colour!

These final discussions on Day 2 showed our collective learning and shared understanding emerging through our varied activities. The two-day event had itself been a collection of Slow and Fast elements constantly responding to understanding as it emerged and to changes in the feeling and atmosphere within the studio… the interplay between Fast & Slow is a human phenomenon as much as it is an industrial necessity in our sustainable future.

We look forward to welcoming the students back with their Fast/Slow reflective samples and stories at the next workshops in the next few weeks.

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

TED Adhocism project 2015

Mimi Kerpel edited 400px

Mimi Kerpel – The Plastic Age

TED researchers Professor Kay Politowicz and Miriam Ribul co-curated an exhibition in the Banqueting Hall at Chelsea College of Arts to showcase the outcomes of Adhocism, a project with year 2 BA Textile Design students. Samples, selected from the 97 participating students in Weave, Knit and Print specialisms, demonstrated impressive craftsmanship and inventiveness in the exploration of textiles.

Leah Kahn 400px

Leah Kahn – Patterned Wood

Following a ‘TEN’ workshop in March, led by Dr Kate Goldsworthy and six other TED researchers, students developed their designs through the lens of The TEN sustainable design strategies. They took up a primarily conceptual position and then proposed professional design solutions by adopting a ‘build-to-think’ approach. Projects were exhibited in groups according to the chosen strategy, demonstrating the interconnectedness of multiple strategies for sustainability. Design ideas exhibited were packed with initiatives to change and invigorate systems of production. The students’ fresh-thinking proposed challenges and solutions for an industry that is highly responsive to technological innovation, but needs the courage of creative freedom to become more sustainable.

Catherine Taylor 400px

Catherine Taylor – Adaptable Outerwear

Selected, leading textiles industry guests attended the exhibition opening. Sandy MacLennan (East Central Studios) was invited to evaluate the work for the excellence of research, process and product outcome and present prizes. A series of ‘honourable mentions’ were also announced to reflect the wide range of brilliant ideas demonstrated at the exhibition.

1st Prize: 

Mimi Kerpel – ‘The Plastic Age’

Runners Up:

Catherine Taylor – ‘UNISEX’

Leah Kahn – ‘Patterned Wood’

Honourable Mentions:

Liv Barnes – ‘Everything but the kitchen sink’

Sangyoon Chung – ‘Reconstruct the image’

Lottie Field – ‘Leather’

Catarina Fraga – ‘Camera-less photography’

Mila Harris-Mussi – ‘Para; Wrap the body against’

Georgina Wood – ‘Composite’

Hannah Shaw – ‘TROES’

Olivia Murray – ‘Where the wild things are’

Elastic Tools Project

elastic tools 400

Elastic Tools is a project by Rebecca Earley, assisted by Bridget Harvey, for the CCW Graduate School during Spring 2015. It is part of the Culture of Resilience Project (CoR), a two years UAL-wide initiative, the goal of which is to build a “multiple vision” on the cultural side of resilience by putting together a set of narratives, values and ideas that are coherent in that they are all based on resilient systems, but in many other aspects they are very diverse. A multiplicity of images that, like the stones of a mosaic, may generate a larger one: a mobile, dynamic, colourful vision of a resilient, sustainable civilization.

The Elastic Tools Project aims to create new ideas, tools and techniques to support textile designers and makers in the way that they teach textiles to the next generation. This week we have recruited two MA textile design students to work on the first stage of the project – building their own personal tools and techniques.

Follow the progress on the project site here.

Manifesto for Creative Innovation

Print Room at Konstfack

Weave Room at Konstfack

TED has recently launched a new elective program at Konstfack in Stockholm, Sweden, encouraging students to create their own Manifesto for Creative Innovation following a five-week course designed by TED. This new course proposal is shaped by the outcomes of 14 sessions on sustainable design led by TED with Chelsea MA Textile Design between October 2011 and April 2012.

The team will deliver this course between February and March 2013 to an inter-disciplinary group of students and the outcomes might be documented in an exhibition or in a report. The educational purpose of the course is to offer the students design-led and practice-based approaches for sustainability that they can incorporate and build upon throughout their studies.

Guest Professors: Professor Kay Politowicz & Becky Earley

New BA Textile Design course website

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.

Openwear collaboration

As part of our Impact lecture series this year, the BA first year textiles students were introduced to Zoe Romano, founder of Open Wear, a collaborative clothing platform, where people upload clothing patterns they have created to be shared by anyone.

While initially, Zoe was going to be offering the students a template pattern for a project they were working on, this didn’t eventuate, but this didn’t stop Alexandra Brinck, one of the textile students from sharing with OpenWear.

Alexandra designed a bag that turns into a shirt and contacted Zoe for uploading it on to the Open Wear website. Alexandra initiated this collaboration inspired by the talk and wanted to challenge ‘sustainability through multi-functionality’

‘ I have been in touch with Zoe, and will be sharing one of my own patterns on OpenWear – this way we are still collaborating with them, it’s just that the pattern contribution is going in the other direction! I felt it would have been a shame after the great talk Zoe delivered not to strike while the iron was hot and get a collaboration going between Chelsea and OpenWear.’