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The UAL BFTT awards R&D funding innovative new UK textile recycling programme

Brightly coloured yarn in a loose ball
  • Written by
  • Published date25 May 2022
Brightly coloured yarn in a loose ball
Image: Converts high-value fibre from fabric waste into spun yarns © Iinouiio

The UAL Business of Fashion, Textiles and Technology (BFTT) SME support programme has recently awarded Research & Development funding to iinouiio – a pioneering UK textile recycling business.

The BFTT is a Creative R&D Partnership led by University of the Arts London.  It is committed to developing sustainability and innovation within the entire textile industry through - supporting fashion, textiles and technology businesses to use R&D as a mechanism for growth.

Founded by Dr John Parkinson, iinouiio – which stands for “It is never over until it is over” – is a young company with a rich heritage, building on a long-standing family history of textile recycling spanning several decades. It provides a scalable service to transform manufacturing waste streams and post-consumer waste into commercially viable products.

The company will receive academic expertise and strategic business support, alongside financial assistance, to develop a circular solution which will see woollen and luxury fibres recycled into yarns and fabrics.

The programme will play a valuable role in preserving and revitalising the UK’s fabric recycling heritage – bringing new life to a technique first established in the 1800s, when ‘shoddy’ cloth was made from the fibres of shredded old clothes.

In March 2022, iinouiio became part of UK based Camira Group – a global fabric manufacturer with a far-reaching and longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship, sustainable products, and responsible processes. Together, the two companies will work alongside one another to expand their fabric repurposing capabilities, using high value post-consumer and post-industrial textile materials.

The UAL BFTT is one of 9 UK-wide R&D partnerships as part of the £80m UK Creative Industry Cluster Programme (CICP), hosted by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, (AHRC) bringing together world-class research talent with SMEs, leading companies and organisations from across the UK.

The R&D funded project, which will run for 15 months, is being led by the BFTT and iinouiio appointed Project Lead Alice Timmis, a highly skilled weaver with extensive experience working with the textile supply chain, supported by Academic Mentors, Professor Veronika Kapsali, a specialist in Advanced Material Technology and Design, and Professor Kate Goldsworthy, a specialist in Circular Design & Innovation.

We are thrilled to celebrate the partnership between Camira and iinouiio, that builds on the funding support and academic expertise provided by the UAL Business of Fashion, Textiles and Technology, Creative R&D Partnership. The BFTT SME R&D Programme is intended to boost innovation and skills that address sustainability and environmental issues, across the UK fashion and textiles industry. The benefits of which are evident via iinouiio’s emergent high-quality recycled yarns that are attracting a growing network of UK-based companies, to add more sustainable value to future products.

— Professor Jane Harris, Director of the UAL Fashion, Textiles and Technology Institute
The support, expertise, and funding provided by BFTT has been invaluable so far, and we are delighted to continue working alongside them in furthering the potential of this truly pioneering recycling programme. We wouldn’t be where we are today without their assistance, their expert knowledge, enthusiasm and passion for the project, which is surpassed only by our own.

— Dr John Parkinson, Founder of iinouiio
The UAL BFTT is an incredibly forward-thinking cross disciplinary partnership initiative, which makes them a perfect funding partner for Camira and iinouiio. We’re delighted to have their support and dedicated expertise in developing our new textile recycling capability and increasing the ways in which quality fabrics can be reused, remade, and reloved.

— Anthony Croall, Commercial Director at Camira