Transition Student Project

Here at TED we have been very interested in the Transition Town movements that have been emerging all around the world, where local communities are working together to build a low energy future to live and work in and to encourage a more sustainable life. The second year textile students here at Chelsea are working on their next project which is titled Transition.

The first Transition Town was founded in Totnes in Devon and there are now several London boroughs that have also joined up. Brixton has now become a Transition Town and several TED members have been involved in initiatives there including Clara Vuletich, and the textile collective she is part of bricolage, who had a temporary space in Brxiton Market last year.

The historic indoor market in Brixton has been transformed over the last year and had a 'community facelift'. Artists and small businesses were given empty shops for two months and there is now a thriving market of restaurants, cafes, theatre groups and independent boutiques.

The project will end with a fashion show of the textiles and garments produced and the show will take place in Brixton Market on Thursday March 31st. We will be following the progress of the project, which will also be documented on the Chelsea Textile Student blog.

TFRC/VF Competition launches

The VF/TFRC Student Competition launch was a great success yesterday with over 120 students and tutors attending.

We heard from a wonderful range of speakers who all explored the latest innovations in textile and fashion design and research and for their last presentation slide they were all asked to reveal how they would spend the £250 if they won a mentoring prize.

Dr Emma Neuberg presented her reasons for setting up the Slow Textiles Group, a group of people who meet regularly to learn and exchange textile skills and knowledge . For her, 'slow' is about quality rather than time and Emma explained the many benefits of encouraging re-use and hand skills including an improvement in well-being and reduced stress. Emma said she would spend her £250 on generating good primary research to support the project proposal.

Alex Deschamps - Sonsino, an interaction designer, summarised the most interesting interaction projects around the theme of 'Responsible Living'. For students who are thinking of using new technologies in their proposals, Alex emphasised that they understand the technology properly and that the appropriate technology has been chosen for the right reasons. Alex would spend her £250 on a Arduino Lilypad, a microcontroller board designed for wearables and e-textiles.

Adam Thorpe from Vexed Generation and Design Against Crime used Mazlow's infamous 'Hierarchy of Needs' to structure his exploration of the theme 'protecting what I value', through some of the many varied projects he has worked on as a designer delivering garment and material innovations for urban environments. Adam would spend his £250 on a second hand bike from ebay as its the best way to get around town and is a primary research tool for garment design for urban mobility.

Di Mainstone is a fashion designer who designs 'artefacts' or garments for the body that are used in performance. Di explained her recent interest in exploring objects and garments that have a multifunctional or modular application and how her design processes were very often co-designed with collaborators from other disciplines.

Suzanne Lee was the final speaker, and she presented her BioCouture project, and outlined the current emerging field of researchers who are designing using living organisms. Suzanne would spend her £250 on making sure the project and the 'back story' was well communicated whether it is through good images, a website or a short film or animation, and emphasised that this was often the most overlooked area for textile and fashion designers.

The Application Form is now available on the TFRC Project blog, on the right hand column.


Competition launch event on Monday - places going fast!

Places are filling up fast in the 150 seater Lecture Theatre for Monday's launch event. If you would like to reserve a space please email tfrg@tfrg.org.uk.

The competition aims to encourage and support student work that explores future focused design questions for fashion and textiles. The judges are looking for entries that show new fashion / textile work that has been generated:

· Through original research and investigation
· By experimentation with technique and materials
· With an innovative approach to technology

The Five Themes - The entries should consist of textile and fashion concepts, designs, visualizations and objects that embody the theme that you have chosen to work with. There are a number of research questions within each theme, and you are advised to address one question in particular, although it is anticipated that you may end up incorporating more than one question / idea as your entry develops.

VF Brands - We advise that you research the VF brands, and select a particular line to work with.

Collaborations - between more than one designer, especially where the partnerships bring together skills and expertise from across different disciplines, are encouraged and supported, but are not a requirement of the entry.

Mentoring Awards – You may enter the competition by applying for a mentoring award, or by submitting an unmentored application directly in July. You can enter if you are a UAL student, or a graduate who left college in the last two years.

The guest speakers at the launch will help contextualise the five themes and the questions.


Slow/Fast becomes a trend

Last autumn, TED Members Melanie Bowles and Emma Neuberg ran their Slow/Fast workshops at the V & A, where participants were encouraged to explore both hand and digital approaches to textile making. The course was awarded the 'Best Creative Course' in 2010 by the participants and was quite ground breaking in it's approach.

Mel, Emma and their project has now been written up in Stylus.com, by Chelsea alumni Alsion Gough who works for this trends forecasting website, exploring what the Slow movement means for the textile and fashion industry.

The co-design element of the new Slow approaches is key, as Alison explains, "Further removing brand controls, open sourcing and shared knowledge is crucial for the slow movement and, as the slow textiles group strives towards an empowerment of the consumer, the role of digital and downloadable is gaining momentum...".



A few things we have been watching, reading and talking about lately around co-design and collaboration......

There's a new book called What's Mine is Yours: the Rise of Collaborative Consumption, by social innovator Rachel Botsman. She was speaking at the RSA last week, and we couldn't get in as it was all sold out. But you can hear the talk here and a talk she gave on TED.com (that's not us by the way! we are getting confused with the American TED more and more!)

We have been very interested in this new trend in consumer behaviour for a while now, and what it means for designers.

One of our favourite fashion projects that involves online networks and a type of collaborative consumption is the Uniform Project. Founder Sheena Matheiken, was also on TED, and you can watch her talk here and listen to her interview on Radio 4 recently here.

While she wore the same dress for one year, she accessorised it with pieces that were all second hand and all donated or given or swapped. She looked fabulous every single day and by offering a daily update, readers became part of her story and were also encouraged to donate funds to support a charity in India.

In this world of hyper-consumerism, where we have and know everything, consumers are wanting to make more meaningful purchases. This relates to a talk we attended here at Chelsea last week by Glen Adamson, writer and thinker around craft and design. While there were many interesting points made (and hopefully there will be a review of the talk by one of the TED members shortly), the title and thrust of the talk was 'Affective objects' - the idea that hand-crafted objects arouse an emotional response in us, and that something that has been made with attention to detail, care and skill, reminds us of the beautiful and profound in life, and is an antedote to our modern living.


TFRC to launch UAL-wide student competition with VF Corp, USA, Monday 21st February 2011

TFRC have joined up with VF Corporation in the USA, the parent company to brands including Wrangler, Lee and Seven For All Mankind, to launch the Future Fashion Textiles Competition for all fashion and textile students and recent graduates of the UAL. The launch of the competition will be on Monday 21st February, (2 - 6pm, 272 High Holborn). The five themes will be contextualised and explored by a speaker for each theme. The themes are 'Simplicity Regained', 'Health & Wellness', 'Networked Lives', 'Responsible Lives' and 'Trust Rebalanced'. Speakers will be announced next week.

The overall winner will be announced in mid July given a cash prize of £1,500 and their work will be shown at the VF US Summit Exhibition in September. They will also be flown out to the event, to see the show and to network.The competition will run as an open call to all textile and fashion students at the University, and will also be open to recent graduates (last two years), with a deadline for entries in early July. However, working from this launch event, students and graduates will also have the opportunity to submit a short proposal in March. Ten of these proposals will then be chosen and those students will recieve a £250 budget and two mentoring sessions from TFRC members.

These themes all have aspects of sustainability running through them and they also strongly relate to TFRC's own research themes of digital, science and sustainable textiles. With an impressive line-up of world-leading textile designers and researchers planned to speak, the event should be really insightful and worth attending, even if you are not going to enter the competition.

For more information on the launch event and to keep up to date as more speakers are announced, keep an eye on the
TFRC blog.....

TED goes to Copenhagen this April

Becky Earley and Prof. Kay Politowicz have been accepted to speak at the Towards Sustainability in the Textile and Fashion Industry conference in Copenhagen in April.

Becky's paper is titled Upcycling Textiles: Adding Value Through Design and will propose new textile design theory for the practice of upcycling. The paper will reflect upon the Ever & Again project (2005 – 2010) that asked twelve designers to create recycled textile products that would have value added to them in the course of recirculation. The paper will consider: the research questions; the research methodologies utilised and developed; and the concepts that were developed by the designers in order to arrive at a definition of the upcycling of textiles, and a set of guiding principles for best practice. The paper concludes with visions for future practice, including the Twice Upcycled work which explores forward recycling concepts for the polyester economy.

Kay's paper is titled "We Cannot Afford Cheap Things": Teaching, Research and Enterprise and explores the relationship of teaching, practice-based research and enterprise in the education of textile designers. While UK Higher Education teaching budgets have been subject to cuts in funding, there has been a recent establishment in practice-based research activity amongst teachers on art and design courses that is just beginning to flourish.

This paper will outline several models for research into teaching, and teaching into research, that have been piloted through TED at Chelsea College of Art and Design.