Slow Textiles conference at Stroud

TED members Becky Earley, Clara Vuletich and Emma Neuberg will be presenting their thoughts and ideas at the Slow Textiles Conference part of the Stroud International Textile Festival on Saturday May 8th 2010.

The conference is chaired by Helen Carnac (who curated the Taking Time: Craft and the Slow Revolution exhibition currently on tour nationally) and themes being explored include the use of new technologies in sustainable textile design and the role of the designer in creating 'slower' products and services.
Clara Vuletich will also be running a workshop on quilting and patchwork with Katherine May (whose new quilts are currently in Libertys), from textile collective bricolage on Sunday 9th May.
Tickets are £50 for the Saturday conference and £35 for the Sunday workshop.


Call for Designer to work with ethical fabrics

Mumo is an ethical fabric supplier who work with small Brazilian communities developing a
range of high-end fabrics for fashion and interiors. The range includes handwoven silks and cottons, ecological fish leathers and handmade latex from small farming communites living in the Amazon jungle.

They are looking for a designer to work on developing a small range of homeware products. This is a very exciting design opportunity as you will be able to see your designs made into products using beautiful ethical fabrics.

The application involves following a design brief developed in collaboration with TED and the successful applicant will work closely with Kirstin Samuel from Mumo over three months from May - July 2010.

If you are interested, please email Clara Vuletich ted@chelsea.arts.ac.uk for the design brief and details.


TED Postcard from Pakistan

Yemi Awosile wrote: I'm working in the National College of Arts in Lahore with the Head of Textiles Iram and her two senior lecturers, Attya and Saima as part of the New Silk Road project, a cultural exchange organised through the British Council. I love their enthusiasm for their students and their own work. It's hard to believe that these women have full time jobs, work for other companies, work on their own projects and look after their families all at once. I guess they get their energy from the glorious Pakistani sun! Attya and Saima are two very talented women and I'm hoping to pick up some skills from them, specifically hand-embroidery and natural dying.

So far I've had four workshops with textile students that have gone well. I introduced them to my work and research into cork and to the work of TED. I also introduced them to several UK designer/ makers such as Linda Florence, Margot Selby and Katherine May and I even picked up an extra student from the architecture department!

Lahore is an exciting and lively city and the people here are unbelievably accommodating. They have such a beautiful nature; it’s so different to what I'm used to in the UK and worlds apart from what we hear about in the UK media. If anything, the biggest thing I've learnt is that you can't judge others by our 'western' ideas and we're probably not as open minded as we think we are.

On Thursday, I visited the several textile factories in a town called Faisalabad, two and half hours outside Lahore. I had a tour around two factories that specialise in textile dyeing, printing and embroidery.

There is so much to see and do here and one month is not long enough!...I will write next time I have the chance.
Read more about Yemi's visit on her blog.


Chelsea MA student Mai Trebuil wrote: In January I attended a conference hosted by the United Nations on sustainability and biodiversity issues within the fashion and luxury industries, in Geneva. There were several panel discussions with a range of speakers including biodiversity experts, designers, representatives from large companies such as Nestle, Gucci Group and LVMH and sustainable fashion representatives from Made By and the Ethical Fashion Forum.

The panel speakers discussed topics such as responsible sourcing, legislation, certification and educating younger generations towards a shift in values.

The opening panel sought to redefine biodiversity and sustainability within our current consumerist society. Petko Draganov (UNCTAD) emphasized the necessity of the inclusion of all stakeholders, by building lasting partnerships between local producers and multinational companies. This was later seen in the Weleda Group presentation on their model sourcing of arnica. By offering basic training to insure quality as well as set up biodynamic farming to increase habitat biodiversity, Weleda insures a long lasting partnership and strives to create win-win situations.

The panel on how to implement a successful sustainability strategy included Allana McAspurn from Made-By (UK) who discussed her business as a sustainable fashion consultancy, and Made-By's aim to “make sustainable fashion common practice”. Made-By has developed a labelling concept, with a track and trace component, as well as a supply chain support service with scorecards to encourage benchmarking. Their report 'Environmental Benchmark for Fibres' is available to download, and controversially places bamboo as one of the least 'sustainable fibres' and recycled polyester as 'highly sustainable'.

The next panel discussion was about The Rise of the Ethical Consumer and Eco-fashion in the Mass Market. Claire Hamer, founder of ei8ht, related her experience as a buyer for Topshop and her upcoming partnership with ASOS to set up a “Green Room”. She stated matter-of-factly: “We’ve outsourced our supply chains”. Fast fashion has been focusing on the consumer and short-term profitability. There has to be an increased consciousness. Her work for high street giants like Topshop sourcing fairly traded garments & accessories has showed her that partnerships, collaborations and the creation of platforms are essential to harbour change in the industry. Her advice was also to target buyers rather than designers or managers, as they are really the one deciding which materials are chosen for production. Her quadruple approach – profit, people, planet, product – aims to produce a clear message of what the label is all about especially in age where brands are marketing lifestyle rather than pure product.

The final panel was titled The Influence of Affluence: Luxury Brands as Sustainable Role Models. Burak Cakmak from the Gucci Group emphasised business longevity in sustainable sourcing as well as fostering innovation around sustainability by funding research in leading universities. He cited the example of the recent funding by the Gucci Group of the TFRG PhD 'Sustainable Technology for Future Luxury'.


The Forum for the Future have launched a great new initiative called Fashion Futures: 2025, a series of films that propose four scenarios for how the future of the fashion industry may look in 2025.

The films include visions on 'slow fashion' and 'community couture' and are really insightful tools for imagining how we may produce, buy, live with and dispose of fashion and clothing.

They are designed as tools for all parts of the fashion industry, from retailers to manufacturers to designers and consumers and are set in 2025 for a good reason. According to Matilda Tham, future forecasting often uses a 15- 20 years time span for scenario building. Tham calls this time 'uncontaminated space' - if it was any shorter it would not allow for enough scope for change and if it was any longer, it feels to far out of our reach.

Hopefully these films will help all of us to steer our fashion future in the direction we want it to go.


TED Postcard from Tel Aviv 3

Becky Earley wrote: Today was spent in a group crit with 15 of the 60 final year students from Shenkar College. We looked at a wide range of work, but in summary the highlights for me were:

- a collection of cube partition / lighting objects made from recycling black drinking straws (pictured)

- a project using pressed and dried flowers that focussed on the ghostly remains, digitally printed onto fabric with the background devored away leaving a deconstructed floral print on the cloth

- a carpet concept based on childhood feelings of lying in wild flower meadows, and rendered into sculptural form through felting and using factory discarded threads

- and a collaboration between a weave student and a print student who have created exquisite modern / antique interior fabrics using stunning ink drawings and fabrics woven using linen and metal fibres.

Tomorrow I meet a group of the tutors to reflect upon the workshops and lectures, and discuss what sustainable textiles means to them.


Craft Rally at Chelsea

TED and Chelsea College of Art & Design will be hosting the Craft's Council exciting new initiative called Craft Rally, a network event for makers at all stage of their careers.

The first Craft Rally will take place at Chelsea on 25th March and will include presentations, workshops and opportunities for networking. TED member Becky Earley will be discussing her work as a maker and academic exploring sustainability and Clara Vuletich and the textile collective she is part of, bricolage will be on hand to help participants record their thoughts and ideas onto a tablecloth with 'Cloth Non-Confidential'.

What does craft’s relationship to sustainability, resourcefulness, activism or community mean to your practice? How could collaboration with other craft-makers and disciplines generate new and exciting ways of looking at your own approach? All of these questions and more will be encouraged and explored.

Tickets are £40 and bookings are essential.


TED Postcard from Tel Aviv 2

Becky Earley wrote: Today I gave my lecture to the whole college and talked about some of my projects from 1994 to today. I also introduced the TED strategies and the Design Stories. The talk went well, and I was pleased that it was not only the textile students who were inspired by it - the industrial design students, graphics, and fine art students also came along.

After lunch I gave a Top 100 workshop, with 12 of the textile students using lace to overprint polyester shirts from my collection. It is 7.10pm now, and they are still queuing up for the transfer presses to finish their creation before 8pm. Attached here is one by Ela - a work in progress. This shirt was given to her by her aunt and she brought it in to show me, but I made her work on it!


TED Postcard from Tel Aviv

Becky Earley wrote: It's Day 1 of the 'Masterclass in Sustainable Textile Design', Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, Tel Aviv. I've had a lively session with students discussing the Textile Lifecycle lecture in the morning, followed by 6 hours of the interconnected design thinking workshop in the afternoon. Twenty students worked through ideas about fast and slow, ethical production, new technologies, multifunction, and systems and services design, to come up with concepts for new upcycled textile buisnesses.

The group worked in 3 teams and generated ideas about: upcycling and loaning umbrellas in Tel Aviv for the tourist industry (it has been raining here a lot lately!); a new website representing a collective of designers working with upcycling but also co-ordinating local waste streams for local industry; and a city centre project about re-designing business parking spaces to be multifunctional and to become urban garden spaces at the weekends where festivals for swishing could take place. I did have time for lunch - the head of textiles, Uri Tzaig, took me for lunch to Tel Aviv's new port, to see the Israel fashion design label comme il faut and their design centre which plays host to a number of stylish and enterprising businesses.

More to follow on Becky's time in Tel Aviv shortly.