Each project addresses a challenge identified by industry partners from Future Fashion Factory’s community of over 270 fashion businesses and professionals

Each project addresses a challenge identified by industry partners from Future Fashion Factory’s community of over 270 fashion businesses and professionals

Future Fashion Factory has secured more than GBP2m (US$2.7m) in funding for innovation in the fashion and textile industry to support projects including a vegan, petroleum, and freshwater-free alternative to down or polyester and a closed-loop footwear manufacturing model developed by Vivobarefoot.

The investment has been secured through Future Fashion Factory's first three funding calls, with 13 additional collaborative research and development (R&D) projects approved in the programme's most recent call. 

Each project addresses a challenge identified by industry partners from Future Fashion Factory's community of over 270 fashion businesses and professionals.

Future Fashion Factory is part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme, an GBP80m initiative led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The programme is led by the University of Leeds in partnership with the University of Huddersfield and Royal College of Art. 

"This year has presented a unique set of challenges for the fashion and textile industry, requiring a raft of new solutions while accelerating changes that were already underway, not least digitalisation," professor Stephen Russell, director of Future Fashion Factory, said.

He added the response to the funding call shows the appetite for innovation among UK businesses.

"By supporting these projects, we want to pave the way for continued growth and resilience in the UK's world-renowned luxury fashion industry."

Successful projects in this call include:

  • A new digital system for 3D-woven fashion design (Twelve Oaks Software) 
  • An AI-driven planning system for producing luxury fabrics (Abraham Moon & Sons) 
  • Customisable, comfortable and effective British wool face coverings with defined filter performance (British Wool) 
  • Digital technologies for lead-time and waste reduction in the colouration of luxury fabrics (DP Dyers) 
  • A "radical" approach to more sustainable cotton production (hydroCotton) 
  • High-quality virtual garment simulation from blockbuster movies to digital fashion (Numerion Software) 
  • A sustainable coloration system to reduce the environmental impact of adding colour and pattern to fashion products (Rose Danford-Philips) 
  • A new advanced and circular material for watersports using nylon from waste garments whilst mitigating micro plastic leaching?(RubyMoon Gym to Swim) 
  • A vegan, petroleum, and freshwater-free alternative to down or polyester for insulated clothing (SaltyCo) 
  • Colour-based machine learning to create new pathways for designers seeking inspiration in visual databases (Visualist) 
  • Closed-loop manufacturing of customisable, sustainable, made-to-measure footwear (Vivobarefoot)