MISTRA Future Fashion

Date: 2011 - 2015

Principal Investigator: Becky Earley

Funded by: MISTRA, Sweden

This research programme is funded by the Swedish Government via Mistra, the Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research, to bring about a significant change in the Swedish fashion industry leading to sustainable development in the industry and wider society.

Changes to the key stages in the lifecycle of a product - changes in the supply chain to the design of clothing, to the materials used, to consumer behaviour and the influence exerted by government are the subject of multi-disciplinary focus. The consortium structure integrates eight cross-disciplinary research projects, including natural, social and political sciences and design, creating a common research platform.

Fashion has a significant environmental impact on climate change and water. The fashion industry and particularly Swedish based fashion companies have a huge potential to contribute to effective and economic shifts towards more sustainable practice.

TED will address the question, ‘How can sustainable design processes be created and embedded within companies and gain the participation of consumers?’ The research will be led by Rebecca Earley and will be comprised of close co-operation between the TED’s TEN strategies for sustainable design and research into man-made fibres from cellulosic compounds. The design task is to employ layered design thinking in textiles and fashion to innovate at all stages of the cradle-to-cradle ‘environment’.

An emphasis on the inclusion of consumer behaviour as part of the extended supply chain all points to the circle of design, production, use and disposal as equally important areas for innovation. At the Konstfack Art School in Stockholm, Guest Professor Kay Politowicz will explore a range of these ideas, from an Experience Design perspective.

Year One of the Project will include the development of a series of workshops using the TED's TEN, to a variety of audiences including students, textile/fashion researchers at UAL and Konsfack and small and large size fashion businesses.

Year Two will be a review of 'best practice' using interviews, transcriptions from events, questionnaires and scoping techniques, and will include developing the basic framework of the project's website. An online exhibition of prototypes and concepts is planned for the end of year three, and a final web platform at the end of year four will offer the international design community a toolbox for sustainable making and action. A full time PhD studentship is linked to the project which will contribute research on the social relationship of fashion to consumption.

www.mistrafuturefashion.com  www.textiletoolbox.com

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