26 July 2023

Business of Fashion Textile and Technology SME R&D Showcase

The Business of Fashion Textile and Technology Creative R&D Partnership (BFTT CRDP) recently hosted beneficiaries of BFTT funding, showcasing research and development (R&D) projects, at Plexal, Here East. Bringing together over 60 members from across the BFTT network, focusing on SME businesses, early career researchers, and partners. The event marked the first in-person gathering of SMEs from across the BFTT Programme, providing a valuable platform for sharing R&D, knowledge exchange, collaboration and networking.

Professor Jane Harris, Director of the UAL Fashion, Textiles and Technology Institute and Amy Hulme, BFTT Project Manager, led the event which featured SME presentations on the sustainability-driven R&D projects funded through the BFTT Programme. Guest speaker Andrew Roughan, Plexal CEO, shared insights on the importance of understanding the different levels of support needed for entrepreneurs and start-ups at the forefront of business innovation which Plexal host.

Throughout the day, attendees engaged in dynamic roundtable sessions, addressing both the successes and challenges throughout delivery of their R&D projects, and sharing synergies, potential solutions, and initiatives to support business success and growth across the UK fashion, textiles and technology industries.

A physical showcase featured some of the ground-breaking sustainable/circular innovation achieved through the BFTT SME R&D Programme, from bio-material development, woven and non-woven textiles innovation, finishing and colouration, circular manufacturing, highlighting the transdisciplinary nature of the BFTT.

The Business of Fashion, Textiles and Technology, Creative R&D Partnership – as part of the AHRC funded Creative Industries Clusters Programme – is a five-year programme that has supported UK-based SMEs to undertake ambitious R&D within the fashion, textiles, and technology sectors, with the focus on sustainability. The comprehensive initiative combines bespoke packages of funding, design-led STEM academic expertise, and strategic business support.


Professor Jane Harris, Director of the UAL Fashion, Textiles and Technology Institute:

“It has been a privilege to support the ambitions of so many fashion, textiles and technology companies through the BFTT CRDP. A vital part of BFTT’s delivery has been to create opportunities to showcase the skills and expertise of the businesses supported to date. They each share; genuinely sustainable/circular innovation, expert knowledge, value for society, and passion for the future of this field which warrants further investment.  This level of R&D is incredibly important given the key agenda set by climate change – and the very real global challenge stemming from wider textile and apparel sectors.”

Andrew Roughan, CEO, Plexal

“Plexal is here to provide places for innovators, to help people share points of view and to give SME’s an alternative to an office environment. It is important to keep nurturing these businesses for future generations. The energy, passion and commitment of the BFTT SME’s is incredible. Plexal are humbled to have hosted the BFTT ecosystem of businesses and researchers for this event and we look forward to collaborations in the future”.