This blog is now closed - please go to http://tfrcconnections.blogspot.com for all the latest news and updates on the VF Student Competition.


Fabric Sample Day for VF Competition

The Applications for the VF Future Fashion Textiles Competition Mentoring Awards have come in and we are just in the process of going through them. The winners will be announed on 14th April so watch this space!

VF Corporation have sent us some of their fabrics which will be available to all students and graduates who are applying to the competition, either for the Mentoring Award or putting an application in for the deadline in July.

We are organising a Fabric Sample Day where you will be able to come and collect some samples of the fabric for your design developments. We have some 100% indigo dyed denim from Cone Denim, one of the oldest denim mills in the US, some high performance fabrics from D30, a UK company and a range of other fabrics that are still coming in. It will be at Chelsea College of Art & Design on Wednesday 4th May 12-1:30pm. We will post more details about which room it will be in shortly.

Please RSVP if you would like to attend this: ted@chelsea.arts.ac.uk


Sustainable Textiles Research Seminar

Prof. Mike Press, is coming to speak at Chelsea College of Art & Design, as part of the TFRC Sustainable Textiles Research Seminar series. It will be an Open Lecture titled 'Hand-made Knowledge' on 25th March in the Lecture Theatre at Chelsea College of Art & Design, 2 - 3pm.

Mike is Associate Dean of Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design and has written and researched widely on design, innovation, contemporary craft and the management of creativity. He has authored three books, including The Design Agenda: a Guide to Successful Design Management and The Design Experience. His research and writing spans three areas: design and crime, the future of craft, and co-design. He is also an experienced supervisor and examiner of PhDs in design, and has been an advocate of practice-based approaches to design research.

Most recently he has been involved in a scoping project to develop a design school in Rwanda.

Image left: Mike Press
Image right: Kntted Remotes, Hazel White


TFRC Research Lectures 2011

Keep an eye on the TFRC and TED blogs in the weeks ahead, as we will be promoting a series of lectures and seminars that you will find very useful for the competition. The first of these is next Thursday at LCF. You must book a place by emailing tfrg@tfrg.org.uk if you want to attend

Digital Textiles:Thursday 3rd March 2011, 2-5pm, room 301, LCF John Prince’s St.
Speakers: Douglas Atkinson, Dr. Petar Goulev, Di Mainstone, Fong Wong.
Invited workshop and talks about smart materials, textiles and clothing augmented with electronics, photo-voltaics, electroluminecense, printed or structural fabric technologies for sensory and affective responses.

Future Sustainable Textiles:<>Friday 25th March 2011, 2 – 3pm, Lecture Theatre, Chelsea
Future Science Textiles:<> Wednesday 18th May 2011, 4.30pm – 6.30pm, CSM,
Speaker: Marina Wallace


Thoughts on the VF competition post launch...

'Looking Back to Look Forward', TED's TEN design strategies, www.tedresearch.net

I really enjoyed thinking about the five themes prior to the launch event, and writing the research questions. The potential in this competition for combining ideas around technology, science, and sustainability for fashion textiles is immense. Placing the consumer and their needs first should give the students and graduates a real incentive to undertake primary research, and make entries through collaboration and partnerships. There are so many overlaps between the themes that I think the first thing the students should do is highlight all the questions that resonate with them and their work, and create a brief that fuses together their interests.

What would I do? As a designer and researcher myself, my interests lie in the use of old textiles to create the new, and the low impact embellishment of these surfaces, with a focus on durable man-mades like polyester. I have become more and more interested in 'design activism' lately, so I would also try to approach a project thinking about the value of social change through design too. I would probably choose a brand like Nautica, and find out as much as I could about how their designs have changed over the years. I would research the viability of them
upcycling and engaging with their customers and local communities in new ways. So I guess the questions I would write into my own, personal brief would be from a mix of themes:

An understanding of the story behind the making and production of fashion and textiles?
A visionary application of knowledge and skills from the past, to create future fashion?
The connections that can be achieved between consumer, producer, and retailer
The value found in the methods and systems of co-creation and co-design
The future vision for social enterprise design and production concepts?
An ability to be more sustainable through: material and technique choices closing the loop and zero waste approaches?

To inform this, I would spend the £250 on conducting primary research with a consumer group, (see image below - research in action!) and I would also try to save some of the money to enlist a graphic designer help me present the concept at the end. (Thanks Emma N and Suzanne L, for these ideas that you suggested at the launch lectures).

Just to recap on the these:

Simplicity Regained – This theme is about regaining control, offsetting the speed and complexity of life by adding fun experiences, or easy, versatile products that simplify life and increase one’s fluidity. It is also about longevity and durability.

An allowance for a greater appreciation of time?
A better sense of a quality of life, connecting us with our emotions more?
An understanding of the story behind the making and production of fashion and textiles?
A visionary application of knowledge and skills from the past, to create future fashion?
The ‘ease of care’ that future fashion and textiles may embody?

Networked Lives – This theme is about connecting with technology and other people whenever and wherever you are. It is about participating and getting others help and support in life.

The benefits and potential for using electronic / wearable technology.The connections that can be achieved between consumer, producer, and retailer?
The value found in the methods and systems of co-creation and co-design?
The future vision for social enterprise design and production concepts?
Can brands in the future allow consumers to buy experiences or content instead of physical garments ?

Responsible Living – This theme is concerned with the way we can all make a difference in the world and in our own lives, both socially and environmentally.

The importance of lifecycle design, and how this can be communicated to the fashion consumer?
An ability to be more sustainable through: material and technique choices; ‘closing the loop’; and zero waste approaches?
Create garments or textiles that are only worn once and are completely compostable, or, conversely, make heirloom garments designed to age beautifully?
How Biomimicry can enable the fashion and textile designer to design more sustainable materials and products?

Trust Rebalanced – In this theme the designer is asked to consider how textiles and fashion can help manage life’s risks and protect what we value. It is about safeguarding assets and identity, and protection from the environment.

How new textiles could offer the wearer/user protection from crime and contemporary urban situations? How new textiles and fashion could offer the wearer protection from all kinds of environmental factors like pollution and the weather?

Health & Wellness – In this final theme the designer looks at proactively navigating health & wellness choices, and production systems for the individual and community.

The design and engineering of textiles / garments that enhance / compliment a person’s body shape, age, level of fitness, or sporting performance?
How textile technologies like moisture management and compression can enhance the body's physical performance (and recovery), for fashion-forward silhouettes and urban clothing?
The use of textiles / garments to transfer essential vitamins, minerals, scents, or other benefits, to promote wellbeing to the body/wearer ?
The use of unwanted waste-streams or crops to feed living ‘production’ organisms ?
A development of living ‘materials’ that could become the new design and production tools of the future?

By Becky Earley, TFRC Acting Director