Challenge 1: Survey of the fashion, textiles and technology ecosystem

The UK fashion, textiles and technology (FTT) industry lacks strong data and compelling evidence compared to other creative sectors regarding existing Research & Development initiatives, opportunities for business growth and job creation.

Our understanding of the polycentric nature of the relevant FTT networks, from makers to suppliers, to data scientists, to media agencies, is not sufficient. For this reason, we consulted with several hundreds stakeholders in order to gain a fine-grained picture of the industry across the country, by mapping the sub-sectors of the FTT ecosystem.

We looked for owners, founders and CEOs up and down the country working in all aspects of fashion – from high street retailers, charities, jewellers, workspace providers, advanced manufacturing to advertising and beyond to take part in our survey.

In July 2021 we published the report, Business of Fashion, Textiles & Technology: Mapping the UK Fashion, Textiles and Technology Ecosystem, please download as follows:

  • Full Report (94 pages with a full analysis of the survey, as well as a breakdown of the results by business size, geographic location etc.) – Download here
  • Summary (40 pages that focusses mostly on key findings and recommendations) – Download here

Its findings are instrumental to highlight the unspoken needs of the sector, such as to identify the adequate investment and skills needed, as well as to inform the key policy provisions that can sustain its growth and global competitiveness.


Dr Alessandra Vecchi



Alessandra is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management at the University of Bologna in Italy where she has held a Marie Curie Fellowship from 2012 to 2018 and works as a Senior Research Fellow at London College of Fashion at the University of London Arts in the UK. Among other areas, her research operates at the intersection of international business and fashion, with a focus on the internationalization of fashion businesses, brand acquisition and the influence of disruptive technologies on fashion and textile companies. Core skills and competences include:

  • Fashion business and management
  • Mixed-methods business research
  • International partnership building
Black and white image of Lipi Begum

Dr Lipi Begum

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Lipi has over fifteen years’ experience as an educator of contemporary fashion business cultures. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). Lipi has industry experience in fashion retail, social enterprise and trend forecasting, and has worked as a sustainability consultant for the United Nations, Better Work in Textiles and Garments project for the Bangladesh Ready-made Garment Sector. She regularly advises local charities and schools on fashion and textiles projects. She is co-editor of the book South Asian Youth Cultures: Fashion Media and Society (Bloomsbury 2018). Core skills and competencies include:

  • Multidisciplinary fashion research
  • Global consumer cultures
  • Community engagement and enterprise
Black and white image of Jane Harris

Prof Jane Harris

Principal Investigator


Jane draws upon over 25 years experience in transdisciplinary research, with a background in textile design and extensive experience of computer graphic imaging.  Jane’s role includes working with internal and external stakeholders including industry partners, up to Government Ministerial level.

Jane devised novel approaches to the digital representation of dress and textiles. With a track record of leading collaborative industry and academic research and development initiatives, involving cross disciplinary creative industry practitioners. Jane’s experience includes board-level representation in sector-leading organisations such as the Victoria & Albert Museum and advisory roles for the EU, EPSRC, AHRC, ACE and Arts Foundation. She is Director of Research and Innovation (Stratford) and Professor of Digital Design & Innovation at University of the Arts London. Core skills and competences include:

  • Strategic leadership and project direction
  • Design research in digital and material cultures
  • CGI for fashion and textiles
  • Knowledge Exchange


Black and white portrait of Graeme Evans

Prof Graeme Evans

Former Principal Investigator (until Dec 2019)


As the former BFTT Partnership Director, Graeme draws on over 40 years experience in project management in international industry working for UK and US as director of a design consultancy and cultural facility; and as a leading research and policy expert on the creative industries in UK and Dutch universities. He has led over 30 research projects for Research Councils, UK government, the European Commission, cultural agencies and industry/trade bodies. In his role as a research centre and institute director, he has attracted over £25m in R&D funding. This has included leading large research consortia working on themes such as city growth, electric vehicles, sustainable design, rapid prototyping and digital clusters (e.g. Digital Shoreditch/Tech City). Graeme regularly advises the UK Culture Ministry and other agencies, as well as overseas cultural and economic ministries (e.g. OECD) on creative city and industries strategy, including programme evaluation and investment appraisal. He has held chairs/professorships in Design at both Brunel and Middlesex Universities, specialising in sustainable/urban design and innovation. He is currently Emeritus Professor at the University of the Arts London,  where he previously served as Professor in Creative and Cultural Economy.