• The Future Fashion Factory has been set up to explore and develop new digital and advanced textile technologies to boost the design of high value creative products, helping designers and manufacturers work more collaboratively in a circular economy to increase productivity, shrink lead times, lower costs and reduce waste.?

A digital system to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the wool dyeing process, and a initiative to reduce the leadtime on a UK made-to-measure suit to just 48 hours, are among nine projects set to receive more than GBP645,000 (US$779,526) in R&D funding.

The projects are the recipients of the first innovation funding from the Future Fashion Factory, an industry-led collaborative research programme linking the textile design and manufacturing centres within the Leeds City Region with the creative design and retail centre of London.

It brings together expertise from ten core industry partners, with many more forming a wider network spanning design, manufacturing and retail in the UK.

The programme involves collaboration with the Universities of Leeds, Huddersfield and the Royal College of Art, as well as the Textile Centre of Excellence in Yorkshire. It is part of the Creative Industries Cluster Programme, delivered by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and funded by the government's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The successful projects focus on challenges faced by businesses across the fashion and textile industry, and include:

  • Abraham Moon & Sons: A digital system for enhanced accuracy and efficiency of the wool dyeing process;
  • Advanced Dyeing Solutions/Roaches International: A process to digitally evaluate, relay and visualise the aesthetics of textile fabrics to users in a different location;
  • AW Hainsworth and Yorkshire Textiles: Digitising early designs from Leeds Industrial Museum to produce a 'new heritage' fabric for electronic jacquard manufacture;
  • Deluxe Beds: Design of a modular mattress product;
  • Gieves & Hawkes: Reducing the lead time on a UK made-to-measure suit from 6-8 weeks to 48 hours;
  • Joshua Ellis: Market assessment of high value recycled cashmere products manufactured in the UK;
  • Laxtons: Development of immersive technology for staff training in large-scale textile production;
  • Whiteford Felt & Fillings: Data analytics supported market research of new outerwear product lines;
  • WT Johnson & Sons: Developing a new digital analysis system for quantitative prediction of the effect of selected process conditions on fabric handle and finish.

The news was announced on the programme's Twitter page.

"It's fantastic to see the range of businesses working with Future Fashion Factory in response to their first funding call," says Dr Paul Meller, associate director at UKRI's Arts and Humanities Research Council. "These pioneering partnerships between industry and universities will drive innovation in this vibrant and rapidly expanding sector and underpin economic growth in the region."

Future Fashion Factory supports projects where industry partners and researchers at its three academic centres collaborate to solve real business challenges.

Its second innovation funding call opens on 2 September 2019.