Future Fashion Factory’s First Innovation Call Boosts Yorkshire Businesses

Yorkshire textile and fashion businesses are set for an injection of support for collaborative research and development (R&D).

More than £230,000 has been allocated to nine separate industry-led R&D projects in the region in the first round of innovation calls made by Future Fashion Factory, a new £5.4 million programme supporting collaborative R&D in the UK fashion design and textile industry.

Six calls are planned for the Future Fashion Factory in the first four years of the programme, allowing companies to access R&D aimed at driving business growth – from designing new product lines and establishing new markets to developing and commercialising advanced technologies, improving productivity and reducing waste in the creative design and manufacturing process.

Led by the University of Leeds alongside the University of Huddersfield and Royal College of Art, Future Fashion Factory is harnessing existing design expertise and manufacturing assets in Yorkshire and the wider UK to drive growth in high-value national and international markets.  The programme is part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme, an £80 million initiative led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of the Industrial Strategy.

The fashion industry is worth more than £32 billion to the UK economy and Yorkshire has been a major UK centre for textile design and manufacturing for centuries, with companies in the region supplying high-value luxury fabric to the world’s best-known brands. Many export over 60% of their production.

Stephen Russell, Future Fashion Factory Director and Professor of Textile Materials and Technology at the University of Leeds, said:

“Innovation has been at the heart of Yorkshire’s fashion and textile industry since its earliest days. We’re delighted to be part of this tradition by delivering ambitious projects that will add value to the businesses in the Future Fashion Factory, accelerating growth, creating new jobs and paving the way for innovative application of new digital and advanced textile technologies.”

Paul Meller, Associate Director of Creative Arts & Digital Humanities at the Arts and Humanities Research Council said:

“It’s great to see the fantastic progress the Future Fashion Factory has made and we are proud to support such an ambitious and innovative programme. We look forward to seeing the impact this investment will have for both the fashion industry and the regional economy in the years ahead.”

The next funding call opens on 2 September 2019 and closes to expressions of interest on 15 October 2019. If you have a project you would like to develop, please contact the team to discuss your idea before submitting an expression of interest.