Challenge 4: Reimagining the consumer and retail experience

Industry Lead: Holition

A marked shift in consumer demand has opened the door to the fashion experience economy. Consumer engagement for fashion, textile and technology (FTT) businesses now entails a complex mix of providing compelling experiences and convenience, further complicated by the collision of physical and virtual retail environments.

Advances in technology offer greater opportunity for integration and complementarity between the high street and online channels.

For SMEs, online retail provides immediate access to international markets without any physical presence, but evidence suggests that physical retail space also offers good returns for small firms.

Retail interventions such as pop-ups and short-run exhibitions represent valuable experiences for consumers, and have the potential to launch smaller brands.

Technology has accelerated rapidly over the past two decades, with the power of consumer data and visualisation capabilities yet to reach fashion businesses in a wholescale manner.

Two surveys have now been created to help understand digitally produced experiences organised by cultural institutions, alongside what you may like to see and experience in the future.


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 image of Susanne Kuechler

Prof Susanne Kuechler



Susanne’s extensive experience and expertise in material cultural studies includes working with a wide range of industrial partners, and understanding the opportunities represented by, and innovating with, alternative materials. An anthropologist of international renown, Susanne leads a forward-thinking Department at UCL, which consciously seeks to bring anthropological insights to bear on contemporary industrial challenges.  Susanne has led large-scale RCUK, EU Commission and consultancy projects with businesses seeking to understand the cultural impacts of their practice. Core skills and competences include:

  • Uptake and acceptance of new material innovations
  • Culture and commerce
  • Ethnographic research
Black and white portrait of Joanna Norman

Joanna Norman

Senior Researcher


Joanna Norman is Director of the V&A Research Institute. Her background is principally curatorial, with projects including exhibitions (Baroque, V&A 2009 and Treasures from Budapest, Royal Academy of Arts 2010), media collaborations (Handmade in Britain, V&A/BBC4 2011-12), permanent gallery redevelopments (Europe 1600–1815, V&A 2015) and new museums (the Scottish Design Galleries at V&A Dundee, opened 2018).  Joanna has published widely in association with these projects, as well as on the history of performance and on period rooms and the reconstruction of historic interiors inside and outside the museum environment. As Director of VARI she oversees the V&A’s research activities, including academic partnerships and postgraduate programmes, R&D for exhibitions, research affiliations and a portfolio of externally-funded research projects relating to the V&A’s collections and practices, including its internationally renowned collection of textiles and fashion.


Sonnet Stanfill

Senior Researcher


Sonnet has over two decades of practice in museum curation; she is a Senior Curator at the V&A Museum and is an experienced, innovative arts leader. She curated exhibitions in fashion and worked on education and gallery development projects with a broad appeal and scholarly impact. She is committed to diversity and inclusion in the cultural sector and to mentoring early career museum professionals. Her visitor-focussed approach to exhibitions, programming, and education initiatives has contributed to the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) transformation into an international art and design destination.

Black and white portrait of Dr Adam Drazin image

Dr Adam Drazin

Senior Researcher


Adam Drazin is an anthropology lecturer at UCL (University College London), where he coordinates the MA in Material and Visual Culture and teaches design anthropology. His work has been published in books and journals including Ethnos, Social Anthropology and the Journal of Design History.  He is co-editor of the journal Home Cultures and recently edited, with Susanne Küchler (2015), the volume The Social Life of Materials, about anthropological and ethnographic approaches to materials and materials innovation.  His forthcoming book on Design and Anthropology will be published by Routledge.

  • Design Anthropology
  • Material Culture
  • Ethnography



Dr Liz Tregenza

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Liz Tregenza is a fashion and business historian with a particular interest in twentieth and twenty first century everyday fashion. She has previously worked as a museum curator, most recently for Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service and has taught historical and critical studies to fashion and textiles students at a number of British universities. Liz also runs her own vintage clothing business, Advantage In Vintage and is interested in vintage fashion consumption more widely. She completed her Design Star funded PhD on Frederick Starke and London Wholesale Couture at the University of Brighton in 2018 and is turning her thesis into a book (under contract with Bloomsbury).  She is also co-editing a book entitled ‘Everyday Fashion in the United Kingdom Since 1550’. Core skills and competencies include:

  • Fashion history research
  • Sustainable approaches to fashion consumption
  • Digital entrepreneurship
Black and white portrait of Mark Dinoulis

Dino Dinoulis

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Mark (Dino) Dinoulis was involved in some of the early pioneering research into machine learning whilst studying Computer Science at Manchester University during the 80s. He then went on to build a career within the Fin Tech industry, managing the development of Investment Banking Financial Risk Management Systems before deciding to move his career in a more creative direction, completing an MA Fashion Photography degree at UAL where he used leading edge technologies and machine learning to create captivating visual works within the domain of fashion, costume and performance. Dino’s work on the BFTT programme, focusses on the application of Deep Generative Learning models as an enabler of sustainable fashion. He is currently investigating the use of Generative models in the reconstruction of 3D human body shape and form and for the real-time photorealistic rendering of fabric and garments. Core skills and competencies

  • Machine learning
  • Augmented reality
  • Fashion photography
  • Project management
Black and white portrait of Emma Tilfors

Emma Tillfors

PhD Student


Emma is a PhD researcher in the anthropology department at UCL, investigating independent diasporic fashion designers, looking specifically at their use of digital tools and the significance of their work in negotiating identity and building networks. Emma’s background is in Economics and Development, with a BA in Economics from UCSD, and an MSc in Anthropology and Development Management from the London School of Economics, as well as previous experience with NGOs and international organisations. Her research stems from an interest in the intersection of digital entrepreneurship, notions of identity and belonging, and the creative freedom of the fashion industry.



Industry Partners