Professor Rebecca Earley

Profile image of Professor of Sustainable Textile and Fashion Design

Professor of Sustainable Textile and Fashion Design

Chelsea College of Arts

Biography

Becky is a designer and researcher whose printed textiles have been widely published and exhibited over the last twenty years.

She has been a lead researcher at Textiles Environment Design (TED) since 2000 and Director of the Textile Futures Research Centre (TFRC) since 2010. She researches sustainable design strategy; curates exhibitions; creates materials, models and prototypes; and mentors other designers and researchers to explore TED’s vision of a more sustainable industry and culture.

Becky works with organisations to embed sustainable design research within the corporate culture. Recent clients include H&M, VF Corporation, Puma, DAFI, Sustainable Fashion Academy and Zero Waste Scotland.

Becky’s practice is concerned with researching the role of the designer in creating institutional and cultural change towards more sustainable and circular, closed-loop practices. Becky co-developed TED’s The TEN - sustainable strategies which educate and inspire users to make more informed and innovative decisions.

She uses design-led methods in workshop scenarios to systematically reconsider the design process and generate new systemic visions; as well as practice-based methods to test the visions in social and commercial contexts. Recent research roles include: the Swedish funded MISTRA Future Fashion project; the EU funded H2020 Trash to Cash project; and the FIRE Up and Worn Again projects (AHRC).

Research interests

Sustainable design, textiles and fashion, cyclability, circular economy, design facilitation, leadership.

Biography

Becky Earley is a Professor in Sustainable Textiles and Fashion Design at Chelsea college of Arts, and Director of the UAL's Textile Futures Research Centre (TFRC). She is a textile designer and academic whose research work and creative practice has sought to develop strategies for the designer to employ in seeking to reduce the environmental impact of textile production, consumption and disposal.

Becky’s core approach is based on learning through practice – making textile work in order to realise new ideas that will drive the reflection and resulting theory. Her Top 100 and Worn Again projects perfectly exemplify this, and she has made significant contribution to the emerging field of upcycling textiles.

As a lead researcher in both Textiles Environment Design Group and TFRC, Becky’s research is also driven by collaboration and the new Mistra Future Fashion project will continue to develop this way of working, this time bringing the participating designers together with scientists through a Swedish research consortium.

Research statement

Through individual practice and group research at Chelsea, TED has developed TED’s TEN – strategies which intend to help individuals, and small and medium enterprises, make more informed design decisions.

These are currently being explored through a broad portfolio of research and consultancy projects, which ultimately ask the designer to consider several strategies at any one time – using design thinking to achieve a layered and interconnected approach. The resulting textile and fashion concepts often combine theoretical thinking with material, technical and social innovations.

Current research projects

Industry keynotes and advisory roles

  • 2015 FIT Summer Institute: Sustainability in Fashion and Textiles: Reinvention and Innovation.
  • 2015 Global Change Award judge, Conscious Foundation, H&M, Sweden.
  • 2015 The Forest on the Catwalk. SP seminar at Borås Textile Fashion Centre, Borås, Sweden.
  • 2015 Beyond Trends in Sustainability, Textile Institute London and South East England Section and the SDC.
  • 2014 Competition Judge, Esthetica, London Fashion Week.
  • 2014 Textile Toolbox: House of Lords, All Parliamentary Working Group for Design and Innovation (APDIG).
  • 2014 The Redress Forum, Hong Kong.
  • 2013 H&M Head Office, Stockholm.
  • 2013 Advisory Board Member, Fashion Revolution Day, London.

Students

Current students and thesis titles

Emmeline Child, Scaling-Up Upcycling: Design Systems for Commercial Reuse of Textile Waste Streams.

Bridget Harvey, How can Re-making and Repair Function as both Political Action and Design Strategy?

Matilda Aspinall, Unpicking: Historical refashioning skills as a strategy for sustainable clothing design.

Rosemary Wallin, Sustainable Luxury: Technology and Value.

Completed students and thesis titles

Kate Goldsworthy, Laser-Finishing: A New Process for Designing Recyclability in Synthetic Textiles.

Jennifer Ballie, e-Co-Textile Design: How Can Textile Design and Making, Combined with Social Media Tools, Achieve a More Sustainable Fast Fashion Future?

 

 

Selected research outputs