UAL’s Fashion, Textiles and Technology Institute (FTTI), in partnership with British Council, announced a GBP140K (US$174k) funding package for UK and Official Development Assistance (ODA) countries to enable sustainable design and innovation (R&D) across a wide range of industry sectors.

Spanning the UK, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Philippines, and Malaysia, the six UK Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and their overseas partners will work with FTTI and the British Council on the ongoing delivery of sustainable fashion, textiles and technology R&D concepts. The R&D process will take place between April and August 2023, under the guidance of UAL FTTI.

The six New Landscapes: FTT Catalyst R&D Grant Scheme partners and projects have been selected following a proposal process in January.

Zoe Powell, London + Bertram Flesch, Indonesia (follow-on funding, SukkhaCitta)
R&D Focus:
to create the blueprint for a simple, scalable technology that presents a viable, circular alternative to conventional cotton and synthetic fibres. In the first round of New Landscapes R&D program in 2022, Zoe Powell and Bertram Flesch successfully prototyped a circular yarn made of locally grown, regenerative cotton and denim waste. Now, they aim to bring these novel fibre blends to into full production, creating the foundation for a self-reliant circular apparel industry that provides opportunities to Indonesian artisans and farmers, and reduces waste and emissions.

Gabrielle Shiner-Hill, London + Nusrat Mahmud, Bangladesh (follow-on funding, Bureau 555) R&D Focus: develop advanced methods to support the education of 2D and 3D digital garment representation and sampling skills. With follow-on funding, this project focuses on the digital representation of textile materials and garment forms, and the use of digital visualisation tools in order to increase adoption of digital product design and manufacture within the apparel supply chain.

Phoebe Brown, Wales + Bhaavya Goenka, India (first award) R&D Focus: create a publicly available, free to use, pilot online community platform which connects people in India to UK indigenous textile menders. This project aims to create a digital platform to highlight and share a wide variety of indigenous textile practises and mending techniques, which have cultural significance to both India and to Wales, and celebrate the links across communities, whilst providing key learning for both menders and the public.

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Iyabo Ademosu, London + Chioma Ogbuddimkpa, Nigeria (first award) R&D Focus: explore the optimisation of water hyacinth fibre sourced from Nigeria, to become more viable in the form of a yarn, and subsequently woven fabric. Focussing on the processing of the dried stem of water hyacinths (which is very coarse) and working closely with the local workforce who hand-weave these materials, this project will focus on making water hyacinth more workable for textile contexts, with the aim of scaling up production of resulting material.

Piarve Wetshi, London + Maria Ferida San Gabriel, Philipines (first award) R&D Focus: determine how the weaving community can become more credible actors within the wider, potentially global, and more sustainable fashion and textile ecosystem. Recognised global certifications such as Global Organic Textile Standard and Fair Trade, are not readily accessible to SME’s, especially in low-income countries like the Philippines. This project seeks to map relevant stakeholders, across the UK and Philippines weaving industry, and determine the barriers to growth that currently exist within this industry.

Caroline Hyde-Brown, Norwich + Ummi Junid, Malaysia (first award)
R&D Focus:
explore the potential of food waste such as coffee, tea, fruit and vegetables, to achieve less harmful, and accessible textile dyeing methods. This project will outline the potential of food waste, grow related skills and access to relevant knowledge. It will additionally seek to restore used garments through these novel dyeing methods.

Hannah Robinson, programme manager, architecture, design, fashion at British Council, said: “At a crucial time for the sector, an exciting global cohort of practitioners are set to respond to the multidisciplinary nature of fashion and explore important cultural, technological and environmental questions through their collaborations.”

Professor Jane Harris, director of the UAL FTTI, added: “The net of international collaboration has been geographically cast wider in this new call and will continue to address the wider industry’s relationship with climate change. Our approach enables a supported risk-taking R&D culture, and an exchange of knowledge and methods of designing and producing in a more sustainable and socially engaged way.”