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Future Fashion Factory secures 2 million pounds in funding

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

17 Dec 2020


Industry-led research and development programme Future Fashion Factory has secured more than 2 million pounds in funding for “innovation in the fashion and textile industry” over its first three funding calls.

The investment, geared to bringing together industry and academic partners to respond to existing business needs, will fund 13 new collaborative research and development projects to assist supply chain and textiles innovation. 

Each project selected addresses a challenge identified by industry partners from Future Fashion Factory’s community of more than 270 fashion businesses and professionals. These include new AR/VR/MR experiences of high-value fashion and textiles to sustainable alternative materials and designs for outerwear and footwear.

The successful projects include a new digital system for 3D-woven fashion design being developed by Twelve Oaks Software, an AI-driven planning system for producing luxury fabrics from Abraham Moon and Sons, as well as customisable and comfortable British wool face coverings with defined filter performance by British Wool, and a project looking at digital technologies for lead-time and waste reduction in the colouration of luxury fabrics by DP Dyers. 

There is also funding to assist HydroCotton with its approach to more sustainable cotton production, while Numerion Software is developing high-quality virtual garment simulation, and Rose Danford-Philips is working on a sustainable colouration system to reduce the environmental impact of adding colour and pattern to fashion products. 

13 innovative fashion and textile projects receive funding from Future Fashion Factory

Then there is a new advanced and circular material for watersports using nylon from waste garments whilst mitigating micro plastic leaching put forward by RubyMoon Gym to Swim, a vegan, petroleum and freshwater-free alternative to down or polyester for insulated clothing being developed by SaltyCo, and Visualist are working on colour-based machine learning to create new pathways for designers seeking inspiration in visual databases, while Vivobarefoot will receive funding to continue with its development of closed-loop manufacturing of customisable, sustainable, made-to-measure footwear.

Professor Stephen Russell, director of Future Fashion Factory, said in a statement: “This year has presented a unique set of challenges for the fashion and textile industry, requiring a raft of new solutions while accelerating changes that were already underway, not least digitalisation. 

“We had a fantastic response to this funding call, which shows the appetite for innovation among UK businesses. By supporting these exciting projects, we want to pave the way for continued growth and resilience in the UK’s world-renowned luxury fashion industry.”
 Future Fashion Factory is part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme, an £80 million initiative led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The Programme is led by the University of Leeds in partnership with the University of Huddersfield and the Royal College of Art. 

Photo: courtesy of Future Fashion Factory

British Wool
Future Fashion Factory