The First Trash-2-Cash Podcast

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During the Trash-2-Cash workshop in Milan in the beginning of the summer, Professor Becky Earley sat down with project partner Julie Hornix (VanBerlo) to talk social design, megatrends, and summer reading recommendations. This is the first podcast in a series that will explore the people, methods and tools involved in the Trash-2-Cash (T2C) project. Once the outcomes phase of the project has been completed they will also host in-depth discussions about the impact these will have on the world. You can download the podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud now! Julie has written the post below to accompany the podcast.

 

Over the past couple of months Ivo, Marjorie and I have had the pleasure of taking part in the Trash-2-Cash (T2C) project representing the Dutch design agency VanBerlo.

 

VanBerlo is passionate about helping our planet.
We’re also passionate about design and technological opportunities. So for us, this partnership was a match made in heaven. Here’s a short round up of our role and goals for T2C.

 

Dream Green!
At VanBerlo, we crave new approaches to the re-use of materials and waste reduction. To dream is to think big, and by thinking big you can come up with countless ideas to help the environment through design. We love to bridge the ideas with the visual, enabling us to go that one step further.

Joining the T2C project, VanBerlo’s goal is to help recycle textile from a design-driven perspective. Alongside the other T2C partners, we aim to increase the value of the end product (instead of traditional downcycling) – to upcycle and contribute to the grave to cradle initiative – no matter which industry is involved.

 

Not only do we bring global trend research to the table, but we also explore ideas in novel ways that help to produce surprising insights.
As our Senior Designer Ivo Lamers explains,“We believe that design thinking will help bridge the gap between science, technology and practice. This approach helps to boost the entire T2C project! At VanBerlo we often use metaphors to get discussions started, intensified, structured or sometimes even ended. Using the superhero metaphor during the Helsinki workshop initiated a huge team spark and helped to create common understanding and a common language between the partners about scenarios.”

 

We make sure that our ideas aren’t just cool; but that they also answer business challenges and user needs.
At the end of the day success for us is that the results should be accessible and globally relevant, rather than just being created for a niche market.

Julie Hornix, Design Researcher, Van Berlo

 

Podcast Links

VanBerlo

Change Ahead book

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close book

This American Life podcast

99% invisible podcast

TED PhD Researcher to Speak at Design + Research + Society

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TED PhD researcher Miriam Ribul has been selected to present her practice-based PhD research at the PhD By Design event at the Design + Research + Society (DRS) Conference this week. Miriam’s practice-based research is at the intersection of material science and design research. She is exploring how design can offer new insights for textiles when designers intervene with materials; not in their finished form, but in the science laboratory. The aim of this PhD research is to develop a design-led paradigm for textile manufacturing in the context of a 21st century circular economy.

 

Design + Research + Society (DRS) Conference runs on the 28th – 30th June at the University of Brighton. The event celebrates the Design Research Society in its 50th Anniversary year. In connection to the DRS conference, this event will explore what the future holds for design research and how this future is being enacted through practice-based PhD design projects right now. The main questions that the conference seek to explore are:

 

  • How do current PhDs in Design, frame and address the societal problems that face us?
  • In what ways are practice-based PhDs influencing ideas about Design and working as a designer?
  • How does current practice-based design research contribute to re-shaping our lives in more responsible, meaningful, and open ways?

Mindful Manufacturing Panel Discussion

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Last week TED’s Dr. Kate Goldsworthy spoke on the topic of ‘Emerging Technology and Sustainable Design & Manufacturing’ in the Mindful Manufacturing panel discussion hosted by the Lissome at The Hub Kings Cross. The debate focused on how we can enable manufacturing communities to foster sustainability practices in production. The event is part of the Threads – Rethinking Fashion series, which explores the topic of sustainability in the apparel industry and how to support innovations for a fair and sustainable supply chain. Other panelists included Rupa Ganguli from SPINNA Cycle, Katelyn Toth-Fejel from Hre Today Here Tomorrow and Daniel Harries from the London Cloth Company.

 

The series aims to guide the audience through a different stage of the supply chain each time – sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing, and consumption – to expose the issues related to each of them, explore possible solutions and highlight best practices.

 

The first event From fibre to fabrics took place in the beginning of the year and focused on sustainable sourcing practices to procure raw materials. The panel explored how to empower farming communities by enforcing sustainable agricultural practices in the sourcing of raw materials. The final event in the series Conscious consumerism will take place on the 20 September. This session will explore how to generate a sustainable demand and empower consumers to shift toward a more conscious consumption model. Topics will include recycling and upcycling, the circular economy and in general practices that enable consumers to reduce their consumption impact.

 

The series has been created by a partnership between Impact Hub King’s Cross, Ashoka Changemakers and The Lissome.

T2C Weather Report: Preparations for Workshop 04 in Milan

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Workshop 04 (WS04) is almost upon us and Milan in May promises to be everything that Helsinki in March (WS03) was not: warm with a strong technical front moving in from the east.

 

In Helsinki we were treated to a plethora of design approaches to collaboratively add colour and context to our visions for the Trash-2-Cash (T2C) fibres.  We also saw, bubbling up on the horizon, a desire for the science and technology results and challenges to be more openly discussed, shared and addressed.  WS04 will therefore allow the technical partners the time and space necessary to get into the nitty gritty of issues like garment sourcing, fibre elongation and pretreatments… and for the designers this will be an opportunity to find out how ‘garment sourcing, fibre elongation and pretreatments’ actually affect the senso-aesthetic and performance potentials of the new T2C fibres.

 

I shudder at the thought of describing Design as the ‘weakening front’ in this weather analogy but a partial withdrawal is a necessary part of a balanced system, allowing the atmosphere to evolve before pushing back to challenge the technical direction.  In this way the role of Design in Milan will be to support the technical exchange and, perhaps for the first time, scientific and technological challenges can benefit from designerly approaches to problem solving.  The methodology team have designed activities to enable communication within disciplinary groups as well as between partners.  We will take workshop tools to help facilitate discussion, interpret ideas between disciplines, and identify the opportunities in seemingly impossible challenges.

 

WS04 is also a milestone in the T2C project as we bring together official internal insight reports (‘deliverables’ in EU speak) from four different disciplinary areas: marketing; science & technology; design and materials.  This ‘coming together’ of the different areas of project knowledge in a documentary form marks an important stage in the collaboration, taking it out of the messy brainstorm discursion of the workshop into something more considered and tangible.  Together these reports will help each person sitting in their own (disciplinary and geographical) climate to build a more complete picture of the kinds of fibres we plan to develop.  Not all of it will make sense to everyone.  And that’s the other agenda for WS04; to make it make sense, to elucidate the picture that has begun to be pieced together individually and make it vivid in collaboration; a forecast map taking into account all of the different perspectives.

 

When we return on May 27th, back in our own offices, studios and labs, we will all have a clearer picture of the design and technical ‘outlook’ for T2C fibres, and be able to begin work on developing new prototypes in earnest.

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.

Join in and listen to H&M’s Circular Lab Livestream Debate

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April 14th, 10.00am – approx. 12.00

 

TED’s researchers Becky Earley and Kate Goldsworthy will be part of the H&M Circular Lab event this week in London. Reader of Circular Design Dr. Kate Goldsworthy will lead a break out session on A holistic approach to circularity and the need for circular design during H&M’s Circular Lab Livestream Debate this week.

 

The event will discuss the transition from a linear to a circular business model, which is one of the key challenges for the fashion industry. H&M will be sharing some of their experiences so far and release first new ambitions. H&M started their journey a few years ago with setting up a worldwide garment collecting system. Since then, they launched the first collection made of recycled material created from such collected clothes. However, much more innovation will be needed to create full circularity. H&M has invited inspiring and industry leading key note speakers and an insightful panel to discuss the next steps towards a circular future, not only for H&M but the entire fashion industry.

 

Join the debate on the 14th April at 10am via the H&M 100% Circular Lab livestream link, and bring your questions into the panel debate via twitter #HMlab

 

Key note speakers:

  • Karl-Johan Persson, CEO, H&M
  • Anna Gedda, Head of Sustainability, H&M
  • Ellen MacArthur, World record sailor and founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

 

Panel:

  • Ellen MacArthur, World record sailor and founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
  • Akshay Sethi, Inventor of the “Polyester Digester”, Ambercycle
  • Michael Arnör, Co-Founder and CEO of Sellpy
  • Anna Gedda, Head of Sustainability at H&M

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

Polyester as part of a healthy materials diet!

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Perhaps controversially, Team TED started February by talking about the potential of polyester for making sustainable, high-quality products.

This was an internal interim workshop for the Trash-2-Cash (T2C) project which aims to create new high-quality polyester and cellulosic fibres from waste materials. The T2C project is in its infancy and the area of focus for materials R&D is yet to be defined. There is a real opportunity to change the way we perceive, value and use polyester, as part of a varied and considered approach to materials, but first we need to identify the future potential and the most effective and appropriate applications for this most underrated of fibres.

Drawing on TED’s sustainable textiles design expertise we spent the morning thinking proposing and adding detail to six ‘visions for polyester’ that had emerged from the consortium workshop in November, in preparation for the next stage of the collaboration with materials scientists, manufacturers and designers.

Prof Becky Earley and Dr Rosie Hornbuckle asked TED researchers to write three words that relate to the future potential of polyester, the results are a set of characteristics describing a material that many would not identify as polyester:

  1. Durable / longevity / hardwearing / robust
  2. High end / performance / super-luxury
  3. Forever recyclable / circular / low impact / transformative
  4. Popular
  5. Flexible / versatile
  6. Bio / fossil
  7. Bright colours / print / surface
  8. Biomimetic
  9. Replace cotton

 

Did we miss anything… is this the future you see for polyester?

 

 

 

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.

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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

02.02.16

Trash-2-Cash Workshop #02

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Last week representatives from each of the partners travelled to Prato, Florence for Workshop #02 of the Trash-2-Cash project. Although the partners have met before, this was a particularly exciting moment in the project as the designers, materials scientists and manufacturers pooled their knowledge and capabilities to in an attempt to innovatively transform waste textiles into a cellulosic (CES) and a polymer (PES) fibre for the first time.

The workshop was generously hosted in style by Enrico Cozzoni (Grado Zero) and included a tour of the Textile Museum location, in Prato. The aim was to identify materials characteristics for the new fibres; for design and market insights to challenge materials R&D.

The workshop began with a materials showcase session which was energetically facilitated by Christian Tubito of Materials ConneXion Italia and supported by Becky Earley from University of the Arts London, Kirsi Niinimäki and Sari Berglund from Aalto Arts, Finland. Each partner brought with them a material sample to begin the discussion around potentialities both of the partner engagements and of the materials research. Large posters enabled the participants to begin to build a picture of the key benefits and limitations of existing CES and PES materials in knitted, woven and non-woven forms. A ‘wish list’ of fibre/material characteristics as well as potential applications were identified.

The real triumph of Workshop #02 was that we caught a glimpses of future scenarios for these new ‘super-fibres’; a picture emerged of how these new materials might ‘look’ in the context of peoples’ lives and lifestyles… the most exciting part is that this was materials- AND design- led, and couldn’t have happened without all of the expertise present at Prato.