Professor Sandy Black

Profile image of Professor of Fashion and Textile Design and Technology

Professor of Fashion and Textile Design and Technology

London College of Fashion

Biography

Professor Sandy Black has extensive experience in both the fashion industry and academia. As designer and director of the Sandy Black fashion knitwear label, she sold to fashion stores internationally, and then developed the successful Sandy Black original knitting yarns and kits. Following this Sandy went into education and became Director of undergraduate and postgraduate fashion and textiles programmes first at University of Brighton then London College of Fashion, where she developed the multi-disciplinary MA programme in Fashion Studies. She was the programme’s first director until 2005, after which she focused on research, including the pioneering Interrogating Fashion inter-disciplinary research cluster.

Sandy publishes widely on fashion, textiles and knitwear design and sustainability, and their intersection with science, technology and craft. Her most recent books include The Sustainable Fashion Handbook published in 2012 by Thames and Hudson to international acclaim, and Knitting: Fashion, Industry, Craft also published in 2012 by V&A Publishing, based on extensive archival and contemporary research. She is the founder and co-editor of the journal Fashion Practice: Design, Creative Process and the Fashion Industry (Bloomsbury), now in its 6th year which gives voice to the practitioner and those relating research, practice and enterprise.

Research interests

The intersection of design, arts, science, craft and technology in the context of sustainability; innovation in knitwear, fashion and textile design with particular emphasis on 3 dimensional aspects of design and realisation, incorporating mathematical principles, particularly 3D and seamless construction; sustainable and considerate design in fashion and textiles; inter-disciplinary design in social, historical and contemporary cultural contexts for sustainability.

Research statement

Sandy’s research focus is inter-disciplinary design-led research, within the context of sustainability. She develops projects that integrate old and new technologies and seeks new approaches to the design and creation of fashion-related products through the relationship between craft practices and advanced technology.

A key concept underpinning this research is the notion of Considerate Design, developed with the Interrogating Fashion Research Cluster she established in 2005: responsible design that takes into account the wider environmental, ethical, social and individual needs of products and their user,s together with life cycle thinking. New contexts, new business models and new awareness of compelling environmental and social issues are creating new paradigms for fashion.

Following on from Interrogating Fashion, Sandy led the Considerate Design project, which aimed to assist designers in developing sustainable fashion products to ultimately reduce fashion consumption but increase consumer delight. As principal investigator of two EPSRC/AHRC funded projects, Interrogating Fashion and Considerate Design, both part of the research initiative ‘Designing for the 21st Century’, she brought together academics, fashion and textile designers, computer and material scientists, artists, musicians and researchers to discuss future ideas and changing paradigms for fashion in the 21st century.

Most recently Sandy led the FIREup project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, a collaborative knowledge exchange platform researching ways to connect academic research with the designer fashion sector to help build viable and sustainable businesses.

Through her numerous PhD students, Sandy has helped establish design-led research in fashion practice, integrating innovative practice and methodology with theoretical frameworks, in order to develop hybrid design researchers who both understand and can lead new thinking in a space that spans both practice and theory.

Sandy’s personal research continues in knitwear, utilising the potential of advanced technology for three-dimensional structures. Drawing on her background in both knitwear design and mathematics, her research explores new forms in the realisation of knitwear, using advanced technologies and design based on mathematical concepts of topology.

Students

Current students and thesis titles

Zhirui (Kiwy) Huang, Computational Fashion - Digitising Fashion Design and Pattern Making Process.

Lara Mendonca Guterres Torres, Towards a practice of unmaking: a strategy for critical fashion design practice.

Anna-Louise Meynell, Safeguarding traditional livelihoods: Addressing the impact of globalisation on handweaving practices in North East India.

Katherine Pogson, Deep fashion: craft values as transformative tools to create new relationships with fashion artefacts, and more sustainable futures for consumers and makers in the UK.

Reiner Rockel, Self-regulating, knitted fabric system capable of moisture harvesting to establish an aeroponic micro-environment sustaining plant life (practice based).

Rhian Solomon, Designer Facilitator: The Body as a Meeting Place for Advancing Collaborations between Design and Reconstructive Surgical Fields to Enhance Methods in Clinical Practice.

Emily Towers, The practice of mending: unravelling its effect on the wearer’s relationship to clothing.

Paul Yuille, Fast-fashion resource responsibility: how might raising the awareness of a UK fast-fashion consumer group through enhancing their understanding of the materiality of the sector, guide them to have more responsible resource use?

Completed students and thesis titles

Flavia Amadeu, Reflecting on capabilities and interactions between designers and local producers: through the materiality of the rubber from the Amazon rainforest.

Emma Rigby, Fashion Design and Laundry Practices: Practice-Orientated Approaches to Design for Sustainability.

Jessica Bugg, Interface: Concept and Context as strategies for Innovative Fashion Design and Communication: An Analysis from the Perspective of the Conceptual Fashion Design Practitioner.

Nicolas Cambridge, Son of Samurai. Daughter of Butterfly: fashioning Japanese identity in the sartorial culture of the United Kingdom, 1980-2006.

Julie King, Colour Forecasting: An Investigation into how its Development and Use Impacts on Accuracy.

Caterina Radvan, Inclusive Design Solutions for Women's Fashion through advanced Knitting Technology.

Martina Steinmetz, The Modern Woman’s Business Suit – An Investigation into Incorporating Freedom of Movement in the Block-pattern Construction for Soft-tailored Mass-produced Womenswear.

Hormazd Narielwalla, Patterns as documents and drawings.

Selected research outputs