The UK is renowned for the creativity of its designer fashion sector, predominantly made up of micro start-ups and small businesses, often designer graduates from one of the UK’s creative arts universities and respected fashion departments. These design-led businesses exemplify one of fashion’s many paradoxes – while they frequently provide creative innovation for the wider fashion industry, most struggle to survive economically. Understanding the innovation needs of such key influencers within the UK designer fashion industry is crucial for the resilience and sustainability of the sector.
By connecting UK based fashion and textile designers with academic researchers at University of the Arts London (UAL) the F.I.R.E project (Fashion, Innovation, Research, Evolution) opens a new space for innovation through collaboration, testing ways to help designer-fashion businesses access the knowledge based in research being done at UAL and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) that could be applied more broadly to stimulate sustainability and prosperity for this often fragile area of fashion.
F.I.R.E has developed a research-focused online space where UK based fashion and textile designers and academic researchers can upload their work and ongoing projects, and potentially find new partnerships. Join us!
Our initial knowledge exchange project F.I.R.E.up catalyzed four collaborative projects between London-based fashion and textile designers and UAL researchers, which produced exciting results and great case studies to demonstrate various ways to approach collaboration between the designer fashion sector and academia.
Please scroll down to read more about these catalyst projects and see our F.I.R.E.up catalyst and overview films on our F.I.R.E – fashion vimeo site.
Further F.I.R.E projects include:
Knowledge Landscape – an interactive questionnaire for fashion and textile designers about collaboration.
What’s Digital About Fashion Design? investigating how fashion design businesses might understand and utilise more digital resources in their design and production processes.
Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), F.I.R.E.up was a cross-UAL project led by CSF’s Prof Sandy Black at London College of Fashion and developed with Prof Adam Thorpe at Central Saint Martins, Prof Becky Earley at Chelsea College of Art and Design, and team members Alex McIntosh, Gabrielle Miller and Duska Zagorac.