Future Fashion

Introduction to Textile Toolbox. www.textiletoolbox.com

MISTRA Future Fashion (MFF) is a research program funded by the Swedish Government’s Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research

Principal Investigator: Professor Rebecca Earley
Colleges: Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon

Project summary

Its aim was to bring about significant change in the fashion industry leading to sustainable development within the industry and throughout wider society.

The scale of the project marks it as one of the most comprehensive studies of the market and business models within the fashion industry. Changes to key stages in the lifecycle of a product - changes in the supply chain, to the design of clothing, the materials used, consumer behaviour, and the influence exerted by government are the subject of multi-disciplinary focus. 

The consortium structure integrates eight cross-disciplinary research projects, including natural, social and political sciences and design, creating a common research platform. TED (Textiles Environment Design research group at CCW) addresses the question:

How can sustainable design processes be created and embedded within companies and gain the participation of consumers?

The research is led by Professor Rebecca Earley at CCW and is designed to contribute to the existing body of knowledge by focusing on practical changes that will influence the environment for sustainable fashion. The title of the research was: Interconnected design thinking and processes for sustainable textiles and fashion. 

The team used workshops as the methodology for testing sophisticated training programs in companies that can embed sustainable design thinking in the pursuit of creating a full range of sustainable design concepts. The programs are both highly creative, encouraging new connected thinking that leads to sustainable design innovations, and enable the company to evaluate the design thinking, finding ways to make use of innovative ideas quickly and economically. The team worked with large companies such as H&M and smaller companies through the Sustainable Fashion Academy (SFA) in Stockholm and Copenhagen.

Clara Vuletich is the funded PhD Researcher attached to this project, and her research titled Using human-centred sustainable design strategies to reconfigure waste as an asset in the fashion textile supply chain, looks at the role of the designer in the supply chain.

The design of a course for Masters students from across the art and design disciplines called ‘Manifesto for Innovation’, which takes sustainable design thinking for textiles and fashion further into personal and social action, has lead to engaging workshops and lecture programs with students at UAL and in Swedish design schools. With a Guest Professorship at Konstfack in Stockholm, Kay Politowicz and Becky Earley have run the course with an interdisciplinary group in Spring 2013, and have started a conversation for how to extend this further to other Swedish schools.

The project’s platform Textile Toolbox builds the link to our internal and external partnerships within the project. The toolbox will build a digital space for sustainable design inspiration, and also an interactive site for people to contribute to an online exhibition in 2014, and to have access to online resources developed by staff, PhD students and external writers. The final web platform and report in 2015 will offer the Swedish design community recommendations for sustainable making and action.