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New Landscapes: UAL and British Council select businesses for fashion R&D programme 2023

By Veerle Versteeg


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New Landscapes R&D scheme, image courtesy of University of the Arts London.

The Fashion, Textiles and Technology Institute (FTT) at the University of the Arts London (UAL) and the British Fashion Council (BFC) have selected six small businesses from the UK and abroad that will progress onto the second round of the New Landscapes: Fashion, Textiles and Technology (FTT) Catalyst R&D Grant Scheme.

The selection follows an international call for R&D proposals in the field of sustainable and innovative fashion and textiles.

The selected business partnerships, Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMEs) from the UK and Official Development Assistance (ODA) countries, will receive funding, specialist support both academically and business-wise.

The six UK SMEs and their overseas partners are from Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Philippines, and Malaysia. The business partnerships will work with FTTI and the British Council to further develop the R&D concepts of sustainable fashion, textiles and technology.

UAL FTTI will guide the candidates in the R&D process which will take place over a five-month timeframe, from April to August 2023.

FTT UAL and the British Council have awarded grants to the following international business partnerships: Zoe Powell from London and Bertram Flesch from Indonesia, Gabrielle Shiner-Hill from London and Nusrat Mahmud from Bangladesh, as well as Phoebe Brown from Wales and Bhaavya Goenka from India.

In addition, the business partnerships of Iyabo Ademosu from London and Chioma Ogbuddimkpa from Nigeria, Piarve Wetshi from London and Maria Ferida San Gabriel from the Philippines, and lastly Caroline Hyde-Brown from Norwich and Ummi Junid from Malaysia will also receive a grant.

For four out of the six selected partnerships it is the first time they receive an award. Two of the candidates will receive follow-on funding.

UAL FTT and British Council reveal selected business for New Landscapes R&D grant scheme 2023

In terms of the R&D focus of each partnership, Zoe Powell and Bertram Flesch aim to create a circular alternative to conventional cotton and synthetic fibres. Gabrielle Shiner-Hill and Nusrat Mahmud will develop advanced methods to support the education of 2D and 3D digital garment representation and sampling skills.

Phoebe Brown and Bhaavya Goenka will create a platform that connects people in India to UK indigenous textile menders. Iyabo Ademosu and Chioma Ogbuddimkpa will explore the optimization of water hyacinth fibres sourced from Nigeria.

Piarve Wetshi and Maria Ferida San Gabriel will determine how the weaving community can become more credible actors within the wider fashion and textile ecosystem. Caroline Hyde-Brown and Ummi Junid will explore the potential of food waste to achieve less harmful and accessible textile dyeing methods.

Commenting on the selected partnerships, Professor Jane Harris, director of the UAL FTTI, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this R&D programme again, building on the success of the initial pilot programme in 2022 and launching four new partnership awards, and two follow-on funding awards.”

“The net of international collaboration has been geographically cast wider in this new call and will continue to address the wider industry’s relationship with climate change. Our approach enables a supported risk-taking R&D culture, and an exchange of knowledge and methods of designing and producing in a more sustainable and socially engaged way.”

Hannah Robinson, programme Manager, architecture, design, fashion at the British Council, added: “We are thrilled to be embarking on the next chapter of the New Landscapes programme together with UAL FTTI.”

“At a crucial time for the sector, an exciting global cohort of practitioners are set to respond to the multidisciplinary nature of fashion and explore important cultural, technological and environmental questions through their collaborations.”

The New Landscapes: Catalyst Research & Development Grant Scheme was launched as a collaborative pilot project in 2021.

Through the scheme, the UAL Fashion, Textiles and Technology Institute (UAL FTTI), British Council and five Official Development Assistance (ODA) hope to make progress when it comes to a global sustainable fashion and textiles sector.

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