Slow Textile Workshop

I recently attended a “Slow Textiles” workshop by Dr Emma Neuberg.

I arrived with an embroidery hoop in hand at a lovely studio space in West London. Emma introduced Chinese Floral Embroidery and showed us some images to introduce the theme and provide inspiration.

An intro to the historical context gave me a greater sense of purpose and I began to associate a deeper symbolic association with the craft and process. After being introduced to satin stitch I attempted to apply the technique to upcycle some fabric. It was great being in a nurturedenvironment to sew collectively. There was lots of discussion around slow textiles, symbolism and sustainable thinking.

All participants were encouraged to bring a garment or piece of cloth with them for discussion and I really enjoyed this part. Some vintage clothing was used and each piece had a story or detail which reflected something special. 

I left feeling inspired and continued to sew all weekend. I loved working within a shared space and it sparks all kinds of conversations. I think this is a great way to share knowledge, skills and expertise in an interactive way.

Dr Neuger will be hosted a series of new workshops and forming “The Slow Textiles Group” visit her blog for more info.



 will be continuing a series of workshops and forming the slow textile group, visit her blog for more information.

Co-design4… Workshops


Socio-eco innovation by co-designing products & services Co-design4… is a series of inter-connected workshops facilitated by Alastair Fuad-Luke.

The co-design loop’s three pronged strategy which focuses on experiencing, problamatising and solutioning will be used to nurture collaborative exchanges. Co-design means ‘designing together’ therefore multi stakeholder and interdisciplinary action will be facilitated to develop holistic practice.

The workshops are aimed at:

…Design professionals …Design educators …Other professionals working within the sustainability arena …Design and other post-graduates …Socio-preneurs and eco-preneurs …Social and commercial enterprise managers …Sustainability managers or officers

There are 8 scheduled workshops with workshop 9 FREE to any participants in attendance to the previous workshops. Student rates are available.

Workshop 1 Eco-efficiency & Eco-effectiveness, 01 May 2009 The Venue: Hub King’s Cross, 34b York Way, London, N1 9AB, UK Tel: +44(0)20 7841 3450 Visit the website for further information

DIY designer clothing and accessories

The Guardian and The Observer have launched  DIY ethical fashionmake-your-own-bag-make-yo-011make-your-own-bag-make-yo-010: Make your own designer clothes and accessories.

They have collaborated with designers to create step-by-step “how to” guides illustrated with beautiful photographs taking the maker on a journey of marking out, cutting and sewing to create bespoke fashion and accessories.

Allowing you to make your own:

Celia Birtwell stencil print bag
Jade Jagger bracelet
Stephen Jones hat
Vivienne Westwood dress

This offers insights into the design process and allows consumers to create bespoke goods at affordable prices. The hands on approach also allows us to engage in craft and DIY at a time when we are questioning our consumption, providing an alternative to mass produced goods that don’t cost a fortune.

Primark Employ Ethical Trading Director

A report from Drapers today states that budget fashion retailer Primark has created the new role of Ethical Trading Director and is said to be creating a series of other ethical trading roles within their organisation. This shows an effort to show the public and the Ethical Trading Inicitive (who are currently investigating their practice) that they are employing ethical production methods.

This has been prompted after two BBC exposes flagged up the use of child labour in India and the exploitation of immigrant workers in Manchester. Primark has fought back against allegations stating thats its very difficut to maintain ethical standards due to the scale and compelxity of the supply chain. They use aprox 800 suppliers and regulary aduit only half of their supplier.

A report titled “Fashion Victims” published by War on Want in 2006 conveyed that the workers producing our high street clothing pay a larger price – they struggle to survie on low pay, suffer poor working conditions, work very long hours and have no support by trade unions.

I hope that Primarks new inicitive does make a difference by improving working conditions and pay for garment workers. But, I think that we as consumers also have a responsibilty to communicate that we want conditions improved. Its easy to be caught up in the thrill of budget fashion and instant gratfication without full consideration to why this clothing is so cheap and affordable? With the economy in crisis consumers are seeking cheaper alternatives and its very difficult to boycott budget retailers when that’s all that you can afford… But by encouraging retailers to improve their production methods the supply chain will become more transparent allowing us to work together to deleiver affordable fashion in a considerate way – without harming others or the environment.

An interesting case study was Katherine Hamnetts collaboration with Tesco – they worked together to produce her “Choose Love” collection and this was achieved in a sustainble and affordable way proving that it can be done.

My Research

My research aims to re-think traditional fashion design methods by seeking opportunities fo designer/consumer collaboration.

A series of co-design workshops will be used to explore fashion concepts allowing the consumers to become a partner in the design process adding value and an emotional connection with the end outputs to promote a more sustainable relationships to clothing, The design of an online digital platform will evolve parallel to the workshops to network users globally and present further opportunities to share ideas and expertise.
My research is sponsored by Neal’s Yard Remedies and I am linked to the Textile Futures Research Group and TED Research.

Fabrics in Context

Invitation: Fabrics in a context and emotional values. A Danish industrial PhD project related to textile design practice. Anne Louise Bang is completing a period as an Associate Research Student at CSM. She is in the middle of an ‘industril PhD’ as Kolding, Denmark, studying the relationship between human emotions and textile design. The international textile company Gabriel is sponsoring the research and providing unique access to personnel and information. She is also a well known textile designer in Scandinavia and will be discussing both her research and the Danish model of ‘industrial PhDs.

11th Feb 2009 @ CSM, Southampton Row, Room 304 5.30pm – 6.45pm

Cloth Kits

I have been thinking about Cloth Kits since I came across their beautiful stand at the knit and stitch show at Alexandra Palace, London (2008). They are a great way to explore dressmaking if your a novice. The kit consists of a pattern pre-printed onto fabric so no dressmaking pattern or pins are required.

This isn’t a new concept and goes back to 1988, a mail order company who once employed 400 workers. The brand was re-bought in 2007 and re-launched with newly designed fabrics and garments all printed in the UK.
I am going to order this beautiful skirt (shown left) I think the quirky print will cheer me up over the rest of the wintry days teamed with some tights and then again into summer days with a pair of flip flops and a t-shirt. I’ll report back with some photos of my attempts to cut and sew. Have a look on their website – there are lots of different garments and accessories to choose from.
I think this is a wonderful concept to allow the masses to participate in dressmaking in a time where skills have become lost. As prices on the high street continue to drop, it makes fashion more accessible and saves time and pennies (it costs more to make your own). But as skills are no longer passed from generation to generation – who will uphold tradition and value. If I think of the most valued possession in my wardrobe – a handmade black pinafore/skirt (the straps remove) it fits perfect and co-ordinates with almost anything. A friend of my mums made it for me in a day after I presented her with some clippings from vogue. She was so advanced in dressmaking she didn’t even pull out a measuring tape and it still amazes me that its the best fitted item in my wardrobe!
I think a lot can be learned from buying a clothkit we just have to learn to make some time!