Industry-led research and development programme Future Fashion Factory has secured £2m in funding for new innovation projects, which include sustainable alternatives to traditional materials and design processes.

The £2m was achieved in three separate funding calls to industry partners. Future Fashion Factory has approved 13 new projects for development following the latest call.

These include a new digital system for 3D-woven fashion design under development by Twelve Oaks Software; a vegan, petroleum and freshwater-free alternative to down or polyester for insulated clothing put forward by SaltyCo; and HydroCotton’s approach to more sustainable cotton production.

Each project addresses a challenge identified by industry partners from Future Fashion Factory’s community of more than 270 fashion businesses and professionals.

Future Fashion Factory was set up last year to improve speed, productivity and sustainability in the UK’s clothing supply chain. It is led by the University of Leeds, in partnership with the University of Huddersfield and Royal College of Art.

Based in Leeds, at the heart of Yorkshire’s textile manufacturing industry, it initially received £5.5m in funding from non-governmental public body the Arts and Humanities Research Council and planned to raise an additional £3m from industry.

Professor Stephen Russell, director of Future Fashion Factory, said: “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.”

The full list of 13 projects are:

  • • A new digital system for 3D-woven fashion design (Twelve Oaks Software)
  •  An AI-driven planning system for producing luxury fabrics (Abraham Moon & Son)
  • Customisable, comfortable and effective British wool face coverings with defined filter performance (British Wool)
  • Digital technologies for lead-time and waste reduction in the colouration of luxury fabrics (DP Dyers)
  • A radical approach to more sustainable cotton production (HydroCotton)
  • High-quality virtual garment simulation from blockbuster movies to digital fashion (Numerion Software)
  • A sustainable coloration system to reduce the environmental impact of adding colour and pattern to fashion products (Rose Danford-Philips)
  • A new advanced and circular material for watersports using nylon from waste garments whilst mitigating micro plastic leaching (RubyMoon Gym to Swim)
  • A vegan, petroleum and freshwater-free alternative to down or polyester for insulated clothing (SaltyCo)
  • Colour-based machine learning to create new pathways for designers seeking inspiration in visual databases (Visualist)
  • Closed-loop manufacturing of customisable, sustainable, made-to-measure footwear (Vivobarefoot)



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