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As part of The Emperor's New Clothes, a PechaKucha session will provide a platform for researchers to present current work in the area of sustainable fashion and textiles.

PechaKucha (pronounced “peh-cha-ku-cha”) presentations are a rapid-fire performance of 20 image-rich slides. Each slide shows for exactly 20 seconds before automatically moving to the next. Total presentation time is 6 minutes, 40 seconds.

Philippa Hill, PhD student, University of Leeds

Can we have it all? A balance between functionality and sustainability

Chemistry use in textiles has enabled a plethora of functional finishes and performance textiles. Multifaceted functional textiles are continuously sought to satisfy increasing demands in terms of performance, user health, safety and protection. A developing challenge is to strike a balance between performance and sustainable chemistry use: Do alternative chemistries provide sufficient functionality? Or does chemistry use provide ‘better things for better living’?

A critical point in the textile industry’s chemical use is the continuing discussion regarding chemistry to impart repellency. Can a re-examination of the product’s use and re-evaluation of the necessary functionality resolve the ongoing quest to find alternative chemistry, with equivalent functionality to that of fluoropolymer chemistry? This postgraduate research focuses on consumer use of repellent apparel questioning their role in sustainability and influence on chemistry use. In repellent apparel, can there be a balance between functionality and sustainable chemistry use?

Chetna D. Prajapati, PhD student, De Montfort University with Edward Smith, Faith Kane and Jinsong Shen (De Montfort University and Loughborough University)

Biotechnology for textile coloration and surface pattern

Biotechnology for textile coloration and surface pattern proposes enzymes (bio-catalysts) as innovative textile design tools. Current textile coloration methods and techniques employed to create surface patterning, specifically dyeing and printing systems are known to have a negative impact on the environment caused by resource intensive production processes. The use of enzyme technologies offers an attractive alternative to conventional processes, with potential economic and environmental benefits. The research presented demonstrates the ability of two specific enzymes, laccase and protease, as creative tools to transform simple compounds into textile colorants, or achieve innovative decorative surface effects through controlled application, respectively. Processes developed claim important advantages of simple processing methods which use milder operating conditions, eliminate additional chemical use and reduce energy consumption.

Holger Schallehn, Research Fellow, Reutlingen University, Germany

Why the emperor doesn’t need new clothes anymore: Sustainable ways of fashion consumption

Product-Service Systems in textile industry contain alternative ways of fashion consumption like renting or second-hand of clothing and may reduce resource use in the textile industry. However, these ways of consumption are not widely implemented. Many types of Product-Service systems are based on used products. Understanding of consumer acceptance of used clothing could help to improve Product-service system offerings. The Purpose of my current research is to identify key factors, which influence consumer acceptance of used clothes. Results indicate that a variety of possibilities exist to advance Product-service systems, and thus, may improve sustainability in textile business.

Katelyn Toth-Fejel, Research Assistant, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion

Setting a course: Charting sustainability actions in fashion education and its related industries

In fashion, there is growing consensus that movement towards sustainability can only be realised by a bold reconfiguring of its fundamental structures. This and a rapidly evolving knowledge base present unique challenges for industry-academia partnerships. In this shifting space, not enough is known about current sustainability perspectives or activities taking place in each area.

This study compares fashion sustainability actions from perspectives in industry and academia. This is accomplished through interviews of individuals working in fashion and sustainability, including industry professionals, teachers and postgraduate students. The study draws on an existing partnership between Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion and luxury fashion group, Kering, led by Professor Dilys Williams with Katelyn Toth-Fejel as project team member.

As a result, it finds examples of how present day perspectives and actions compare across varied stakeholders. It describes key themes for future work between industry and academic partners.

Jade Whitson-Smith, Lecturer, University of Huddersfield

Do we need to change minds to change garment use behaviour?

Consumer engagement is often promoted as a solution to the environmental and social issues associated with garment consumption. But, how much does a consumer’s attitude influence their behaviour? My research into consumer garment use behavior suggests that other factors, such as context, personal capabilities and garment characteristics, have a greater influence on behaviour. Lehner, Mont & Heiskanen (2015) propose that ‘in order to change behaviour we do not always need to change minds’. The impact of consumer garment use could be reduced in other ways, such as influencing behaviour through social marketing or product design. However, without engaging the consumer in issues of sustainability are we allowing them to forsake the dialogue on sustainable fashion?

This PechaKucha aims to explore the role of consumer engagement in the future of sustainable fashion.

Lehner, M., Mont, O., & Heiskanen, E. (2015). Nudging - A Promising Tool for Sustainable Consumption Behaviour? Journal of Cleaner Production, 1–12

Angharad McLaren, Lecturer, and Helen Hill, Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University

Exploring Design & Testing for Clothing Longevity

Every year, 350,000 tonnes of clothing is added to UK landfill. Extending average clothing lifetimes is the most effective strategy in reducing the overall environmental impact of the clothing industry. Generally, consumer behaviour favours low price, lower quality, fast turnaround clothing and many items are unworn because they no longer fit or have become outdated. Nevertheless, consumers find it frustrating when garments fail to meet expected lifetimes.

Designing products for longer lifetimes has become a UK Government policy objective and part of the SCAP 2020 Commitment, alongside supporting consumers to reduce their footprint.

Nottingham Trent University researchers worked with industry partners to identify the knowledge, skills, processes and infrastructure necessary to adopt design for clothing longevity, and exposed the technical, behavioural and strategic obstacles to doing so. These complexities, challenges and barriers will be presented, outlining a tool kit designed to help companies tailor their own longevity strategies.