Caitlin Agnew

Caitlin Agnew

COURSE: Textiles 2020


Printed Textiles and Surface Design 2020


Fashioning Textile Futures

Key Words: New material innovation, circular design, bio design, bio-plastic, sharing community, research, experimentation, fashion flare, bespoke fashion, Surface design


The bio-material community is an emerging design sector which focuses on finding new ways to approach sustainable material innovation using green Chemistry. The process of material creation is an amalgamation of science, cooking and design. The driving force behind the material research is centred around bio-degradable materials, the principles of circular design and zero waste.

Sustainable fashion collections often place emphasis on the ‘worth’ of the fibres used to construct the clothes. The collection of apparels is often assembled with fabrics namely, organic cotton, bamboo and hemp. Frequently, the use of these natural fibres is the selling point for the collections. Timeless garment design combined with natural, sustainable materials, is often championed over the textile design element of the collections. Timeless designs encourage consumers to ditch keeping up with trends and the throw away the fashion culture, by creating pieces that are unending in their ability to be worn over long periods of time. The seemingly infinite wear of the items means there is less need to constantly update wardrobes. Subsequently, reducing the accumulation of textile waste gathering in rubbish tips.

The outcome of this project focuses on creating samples for a new fashion concept that balances textile design with innovative sustainable materials and processes. Adapting existing textile processes to be more environmentally responsible: for example; creating an eco-friendly binder for screen printing, to allow surface pattern design to be more viable when creating sustainable fashion collections.
The materials within the project are all biodegradable. Subsequently, the future disposing of the textiles in the project will be less damaging to the planet. The samples are not made to last but are still sustainable, allowing the materials to be led by design concepts spanning further than the fibres used to construct them.

The fashion industry is currently facing a crisis of excess textile waste accumulating in landfill sites around the world. A consequence of the throw away culture many consumers have adopted towards fashion. Fuelling the inspiration for imagery for this project is the period of baroque, a previous time of excess; a period where the ownership of quantity and quality goods was used to show wealth, resulting in the rich owning an excess of land, clothes and other materialistic items. The excess ownership in the baroque period does not differ greatly to the excess amassing of clothes in many consumers wardrobes today, as a result to adhering to fast fashion. The link between the excessive consumption of textiles within today’s society and excess display of wealth in the baroque period, creates the concept of ‘excess in baroque’ to be an ideal line of inquiry to pursue for design inspiration.

The bio-material sector is in an emerging phase, consequently the materials are not available for commercial use. The uniqueness of the textiles lends itself to the bespoke fashion and textile market. In the future, the aim is for the textile innovations that started as part of this project to be commercially viable within the fashion industry, hence the title of the project ‘Fashioning Textile Futures’ .