skip to main content

Essential coronavirus info
Your safety is our first priority.

Circular design

Researchers at UAL are using design to produce new thinking on what a circular economy might look like - where waste is eliminated and materials are reused.

Building on expertise in rethinking textiles and the fashion system, UAL researchers are leaders in developing approaches and understanding of circular design, with a particular emphasis on fibres and materials.

Learn about the Centre for Circular Design and read highlights and insights from projects across UAL.

Three images of model wearing various materials
Image courtesy of UAL


  • Short-life circular material samples from the Mistra Future Fashion programme
    Credit: Alys Tomlinson Alys Tomlinson, Short-life circular material samples from the Mistra Future Fashion programme
    Pushing the limits of 'fast' and 'slow' fashion  

    Researchers from UAL worked with partners from science and the fashion industry to design materials for different speeds of use, production and recovery.

  • Fabric created as part of the EU funded Trash2Cash project
    Fabric created as part of the EU funded Trash 2 Cash Project. Image courtesy of Rebecca Earley.
    Recycling textiles into high value products  

    Trash-2-Cash is an EU H2020-funded project using design to enable collaboration and exploration of material life cycles between 17 partners from 10 different countries.

  • The Ted Ten cards
    Image courtesy of UAL, The TEN cards, Earley and Politowicz (2012), Centre for Circular Design
    Ted Ten: cards for sustainable textile design  

    Explore the principles of sustainable textile design through the Ted Ten - a pack of cards by UAL design researchers which promote workshop discussion and engagement from designers in industry.

  • The Service Shirt
    The Service Shirt, 2018 ©Jelly Luise
    The Service Shirt  

    Working with collaborators across the fashion system, the Centre for Circular Design created the prototype ‘Service Shirt’ designed to have a 50-year life cycle.


The idea of a polyester shirt with a 50-year life cycle (the 'Service Shirt') existing in public ownership and being widely circulated and used, supporting new social innovation networks and giving agency, was the insight that excited us most. We found new questions emerged which ask us to consider sustainable and circular fashion in a much more socially connected way.

Professor Becky Earley, Co-Director of the Centre for Circular Design

Shirt Stories

Watch Professor Earley’s professorial platform lecture.


Read all publications

More themes

  • Exterior of Make space with people on ladders
    Make @ Story Garden (photo: Adam Razvi)
    Value and valuation through design

    Exploring how value is created and understood through design and use.

  • Woman reading London underground map
    Braille tube map by Ziyue Wang, photographed by David Poultney
    Systems and design

    Improving the ways in which designers can develop a better understanding of the contexts they design for and in.

  • People sat around a blackboard
    Make @ Story Garden (photo: Adam Razvi)
    Policy contexts and implications

    Developing a better understanding of policymaking, design and public policy.

  • A person holding a flower pot made out of seaweed
    Seaweed flower pots by Diana Tso
    Design for sustainability

    Find out about how our researchers are using design to build up knowledge and develop new approaches on how to address the challenges of sustainability.

  • Farmers having a discussion in a workshop
    A co-design session with dairy farmers, image courtesy of Alison Prendiville
    Health and wellbeing

    Working with external partners in the life and medical sciences to produce insights and new, actionable ideas, based on people’s lived experiences.

  • People at a flower market
    Columbia Road Flower Market by Jo Mansfield
    Place and community

    Researchers at UAL use design to engage, inspire and support communities and places.

  • Student at a grad show
    Image courtesy of UAL
    Public and social innovation

    UAL researchers use approaches from design to intervene in public sector, government and social innovation contexts.

  • A group of people wearing anti-theft bags
    Caption Young people with anti-theft bags by Design Against Crime Research Centre, photographed by Tom Willcocks
    Social action and criminal justice

    UAL's ground-breaking work using design research to address issues in the criminal justice system and to facilitate social action.