Challenge 5: Circular Materials

Industry Lead: Kukri Sports

The sports and wider apparel industry is heavily dependent on non-renewable synthetic materials, and yet little consideration is given to the post-use and potential second life of these garments.

While progress has been made in developing bio-material alternatives to synthetics, these will take time to fully evolve, penetrate mainstream apparel and sportswear pipelines and achieve consumer acceptance. Meanwhile, materials repurposing and business innovation opportunities are not being fully exploited in the UK.

The waste management industry faces a twofold environmental challenge, characterised not only by the continual production of oil-derived synthetics, but the use of mixed synthetic (recyclable) and natural (biodegradable) materials in the fashion industry; this dramatically complicates the recycling processes needed to create usable recycled materials.

In the meantime, synthetic and blended textiles continue to be produced without any forward planning for recycling or repurposing, with little connection between producers of synthetics and industrial waste management functions. The separation of synthetic polyester from feed stock (raw waste material) offers multiple re- and upcycling opportunities.


Black and white portrait of Kate Goldsworthy

Prof Kate Goldsworthy



Kate is Professor of Circular Design and Innovation and Co-Director of the Centre for Circular Design at UAL, a world-leading research centre using practice research to innovate, steer and support circular economies and communities around the globe. Kate’s design research operates at the intersection of materials science with design and sustainability principles. As industry and Governments raise the priority of sustainable business, Kate has undertaken a range of industrial consultancy projects for fashion and textiles organisations including Worn Again Technologies Ltd, Filippa K, VF Corporation and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Core skills and competences include:

  • Laser finishing for fashion and textiles
  • Circular economy and circular design research
  • Sustainable business consultancy in the fashion sector


Black and white portrait of Tincuta Heinzel

Dr Tincuta Heinzel

Senior Researcher

Loughborough University

Dr Tincuta Heinzel (TH) is Senior Lecturer in Textiles at Loughborough University. Her practice and research evolved around electronic and reactive textiles, technical textiles innovation processes, including nano-textiles, as well as social, economic and cultural aspects of textiles and textiles industry. She won her PhD in 2012 from Paris 1 University Pantheon-Sorbonne and worked on a series of research projects related to the integration of electronic textiles in smart environments at Berlin University of the Arts (Germany) and Nottingham Trent University (UK). She also hold research positions in electronic arts at KHM – Academy of Media Arts Cologne (Germany) and ZKM – Center for Media Arts, Karlsruhe (Germany). She joined the School of Design and Creative Arts at Loughborough University as Senior Lecturer in Textiles in 2017, having previously held a position as Fulbright Senior Research Fellow at Cornell University (USA) in the Nanotextiles Laboratory.

Core skills and competences include:

  • Electronic and reactive textiles
  • Design aspects of functional textiles
  • Anthropology and design researchCritical textiles
Black and white portrait of Melissa Wagner

Dr Melissa Wagner

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Loughborough University

Dr. Melissa Monika Wagner (MMW) is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Loughborough University. She holds a PhD from University of Lille (ENSAIT-GEMTEX) and worked in the research group Human Centered Design (HCD) under the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctoral Program SMDTex (Sustainable Management and Design for Textiles). Before, she completed her Master of Arts in Textile Innovation and Branding at University of Leeds in 2014 and her Bachelor of Engineering in Textile Engineering and Management from Saxion University of Applied Sciences in 2013. Core skills and competences include:

  • Sustainable design of fashion and textiles
  • Consumer behaviour
Black and white portrait of Rosie Hornbuckle

Dr Rosie Hornbuckle

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

University of the Arts London

Rosie is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University of the Arts London. She completed her PhD at Kingston University where she also worked in Rematerialise, a collection of materials selected by sustainability criteria. In 2015 Rosie joined the Centre for Circular Design (UAL) to work on the EU H2020 Trash-to-Cash project where she was the lead for the design research task aimed at developing a new methodology for Design-Driven Material Innovation (DDMI). She has taught at undergraduate and post-graduate levels across design disciplines on the subject of design, sustainability, materials and research. Alongside BFTT Rosie works on the EU H2020 Pharma-Factory project at London College of Communication (UAL) using co-design methods to explore stakeholder value in new plant-based technologies for healthcare. Core competencies include:

  •  Materials communication
  • Co-design methods  
  • Circular design research
  • Design research visualisation

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