Melanie Bowles

Senior Lecturer of Digital Textiles

Chelsea College of Arts


Melanie is the principal author of Digital Textile Design, Laurence King, 2009. Melanie is a practicing designer and researcher, a member of research cluster Textile Environmental Design (TED), the Textile Futures Research Centre (TFRC) and The Slow Textile Group.

She is the founder of The People’s Print, a social textile community project. 

Melanie’s work explores new concepts for digital textile design, developing systems for emotionally durable and sustainable design through bespoke digital print. Melanie works on projects which involve the consumer throughout the design and production process, to create heritage textile prints that reflect their character and environment. She maps the production of the final garment using sustainable methods of production by using local resources and new technology. Melanie has exhibited her work internationally with the Craft Council, The Science Museum, and Tilberg Textile Museum. She currently works with the V&A Digital Learning Unit developing co-design workshops at the Sackler Center.

Research interests

Digital printed textiles, co-design, sustainable textile design, consumer-focused digital craft.

Research statement

Melanie’s work develops practice and research based strategies to involve the consumer to be at the center of the design process using methods of co-design, participatory design and social network communities. 

Her work combines theoretical thinking with a hands on approach, and often makes parallels between traditional craft techniques and new technology that reflects the transition between old and new textile processes. 

She embeds her research into her teaching and publications by mapping her unique approach with richly illustrated examples of digital design projects that encourage consumer engagement. She is currently working on a new publication with Laurence King, called Digital Textile Design Projects.

Selected research outputs