The school’s research program in the field of fashion now goes by a new name. It was previously know as M3 – mode, miljö och marknad (fashion, environment and market in Swedish), but has been renamed F3 – Fashion Function Futures.
The objective of the program is develop new knowledge about the textile chain of values, from ideas to consumption, and finally recycling. ‘Fashion’ includes fashion and the whole fashion industry. ‘Function’ unites research where the function is in focus, and comprises sports and leisure, but also domestic textiles. Finally, ‘Futures’ is based on responsibility for the future, and will be common ground to all projects carried out under the program. It is a matter of seeing future textile manufacture through lenses of environmentalism and recycling. It could be said that it is an approach to the consumption of tomorrow.
“We are now working on getting the real research projects, capable of achieving change, under way. We hope to get good response from fashion companies both in the region and internationally,” says Jan Carlsson, project manager for the research platform.
From Artistic Studios to Mail Order and Retailing
Fashion is a phenomenon that attracts and affects us all. The fashion industry is also one of the oldest trades and one of the most important driving forces in society. Research in fashion and textiles is united at the Swedish School of Textiles, through several research studios focusing on design, fashion logistics and fashion management. This is the place where the path from design to garment wearer is examined. Another part of the program covers consumer behaviour, trade and services. This part includes researchers in marketing and management from the School of Business and Informatics.
While fashion appeals to many, we are consuming clothes in enormous amounts. One thing that is certain is that in the future, we cannot consume in the manner we do today, taking into account population increase and waste of natural resources. Textile waste today amounts to 70 billion metric tons. That is why research into recycling of textile waste, conducted at the School of Engineering, is involved. The School of Education has the Center for Work Life Science, where researchers will examine the sustainability and vitality of various businesses.
Björn Brorström and Jan Carlsson have a lot of faith in the fashion research being devised at the university. Positions have been moved forward and there is a common denominator in development work.
“In addition, we will also be involving researchers from the School of Library and Information Sciences in F3. They will study the importance of the cultural sphere in the development of society and business,” adds Björn Brorström.
In all, more than 50 researchers from almost all of the schools at the university will be involved. It will thereby be the greatest interdisciplinary project in the history of the university.
A declaration of interest was recently handed to the KK foundation, and the application to become a KK profile is to be handed in at the beginning of September. If the application is successful, the project will receive six million SEK over a period of eight years, in all 36 million SEK.
The requirement is that the university and business parties provide the same amount.
“We hope to clear this by the end of the year, but our investment in this field is not dependent on the outcome. F3 is greater than the KK profile,” says Jan Carlsson. “This is to good to just let it pass, everything is about to fall into place, and the university can join in and develop the field of textile fashion.”
* KK profile: The objective is that a seat of learning, in a systematic way and during a longer period of time, builds and works as a competitive research environment in a well delineated and, to the business sphere, important field of knowledge. The investments coming from the business sphere have to amount to at least 50% of the overall investment.
In order to strengthen research in Sweden, and develop the business sphere, the KK foundation has supported the construction of profiled research environments at new universities and university colleges. In a profile effort, a university aided by several companies develops a unique research concept that is internationally competitive. Then a qualified research environment is constructed around that concept.
The profile investment is long-term. The foundation has invested a total of 21-36 million SEK for up to six years and the business sphere has contributed the same amount. The objective is to establish research during that period, thus allowing it to continue with other endowment. The research profile is to fit in with university development and strategy. It is to be connected to basic education and research at the university. Research environments that have received support from the KK foundation cover a vast area, such as data, IT, environment, economics and electronics.