Heriot-Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design is hosting a free event on the future of sustainable textiles and fashion.
On Thursday 8 February at 3.00pm, the University will host a panel discussion on sustainable textiles at its Galashiels campus called Sustainable Clothing: Where do we go from here?
The event, which can also be joined online, will look at how the textile and fashion industry has changed over the past 30 years and how to reduce the environmental footprint of fashion and textiles in the future.
We need to slow fashion down – and that’s not just about reducing how much we make and consume.
One of the speakers at the event is Dr Lisa Macintyre, an Associate Professor of Textiles at Heriot-Watt University and an expert in textile technology.
She said: “We need to slow fashion down – and that’s not just about reducing how much we make and consume. It’s also about allowing the time for quality to be re-introduced. We need more people who are able to make informed and less unsustainable choices. And that requires education and focus on the properties of different materials, their quality and how to make the best product.”
Until the 1990s, the textile and fashion industry had a significant focus on producing quality garments, with lots of testing and product development, Dr Macintyre said. When fast fashion came along in the 1990s there wasn’t the time – or money – for testing and product development, so it stopped happening.
“This drove prices down, so that the less ‘fast’ fashion brands had to reduce their efforts to compete with ever cheaper garments,” Dr Macintyre added.
Other speakers at the event will include Sophia Murden, a PhD student working with Dr Macintyre on a sustainability research project on ‘fibre fragmentation’ in the environment.
“This is about how textiles can break down and release fragments of fibres into the environment during use and washing,” Sophia explains. “These are commonly known as microplastics or microfibers. It’s a field of research that’s still in its infancy – and several research groups are working on developing new test methods to analyse how fibres fragment when clothes are being washed and worn.”
Dr Euan Winton, an Assistant Professor of Design at Heriot-Watt’s School of Textiles and Design, will also speak at the event. Dr Winton’s research crosses many areas of design and addresses significant environmental issues through collaboration with organisations, communities and individuals, including approaches to help the NHS achieve net zero goals. In 2023, Dr Winton and Dr Lucy Robertson presented ‘Metamorphosis’ an evolving exhibition at the Great Tapestry of Scotland which focused on rethinking waste materials as resources of our futures.
Dr Britta Kalkreuter, Director of Research at Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design, will moderate the panel discussion.
Dr Kalkreuter said: “This will be a fascinating event where we deep dive into the sustainability of fashion and textiles and ask our expert panellists what one thing we can all do as consumers and professionals to make the future of fashion more sustainable.
“We’ll also take an eye-opening look at what it takes to make a pair of jeans today, in terms of resources like water, energy and time.
“We’re looking forward to an informative and inspiring afternoon of reflection and debate on how to wear clothes and wear them well in the future.”
Sustainable Clothing: Where do we go from here? takes place between 3pm and 4.30pm on Thursday 8 February at The Board Room, High Mill Building, 3rd Floor, Heriot-Watt University, Netherdale, Galashiels, TD1 3HF.
To register for the in-person event – Click here to book your in-person place at Sustainable Clothing: Where do we go from here?
To register for the online event – Click here to book your online place at Sustainable Clothing: Where do we go from here?