Grady & Robinson + Mulberry
Grady + Robinson is creating the first supply of leather made from the hides of animals raised on regenerative farms in the UK. The goal of the business is to supply brands and designers with vegetable tanned leather that is traceable to its farm source, made entirely in the UK, and biodegradable at the end of a product’s useful life.
It is not currently possible to finish leather at a commercial scale with ingredients that are known to be sustainable, natural and biodegradable. And yet, finishing is a crucial step that determines the material’s suitability to a particular product. The BFTT project sought to identify ingredients and processes for leather finishing that are traceable, natural, sustainably produced, and biodegradable in the finished leather.
Technical trials were completed in collaboration with the Institute for Creative Leather Technology at Northampton University. Mulberry supported the project with feedback, performance testing, and interpreting test results. Through this creative R&D, Grady + Robinson have identified prospects for further development that may result in novel approaches to leather colouration and finishing, using sustainable methods and materials.
R&D Project Lead
Liz is a designer, researcher and educator with over 20 years of experience working across product and fashion accessories. She is a consultant and collaborator on multi-disciplinary creative research and innovation projects within Innovate UK, Arts Council England and Kings College Research. She exhibited internationally and received commissions from the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) New York for Items: Is Fashion Modern?. She was also shortlisted for Beazley Designs of the Year and Design Museum awards, nominated for The Arts Foundation Material Innovation Fellowship, and a finalist for International Talent Support 2013 for accessories.
R&D Company Lead
Grady & Robinson
Sara created and directed programs at the Glynwood Center for Regional Food & Farming, advancing regenerative agriculture and food culture in the Hudson Valley. She now consults for food and farming enterprises in the UK and France, providing strategic planning, research, and project management. Inspired by a belief that regenerative agricultural practices are a critical solution in renewing soils, stewarding land, and reforming food and fashion systems, Sara Grady and Alice Robinson are creating a new supply of vegetable-tanned leather made from the hides of animals raised on regenerative farms in the UK.
R&D Company Lead
Grady & Robinson
Alice expertise is in creating collections from animal hides that would otherwise be discarded. Her work explores the relationship between food and fashion by following the journey from farm to finished products and revealing the life behind the leather. Alice trained as an accessory designer and is an Alumna of the Royal College of Arts. Her work is shown at the London Design Festival, Victoria and Albert Museum and MAD, Brussels; her collection ‘11458’ was acquired by the V&A in 2020. Inspired by a belief that regenerative agricultural practices are a critical solution in renewing soils, stewarding land, and reforming food and fashion systems, Sara Grady and Alice Robinson are creating a new supply of vegetable-tanned leather made from the hides of animals raised on regenerative farms in the UK.
Rosie Wollacott Phillips
Head of Group Sustainability
Rosie Wollacott Phillips is Head of Sustainability at Mulberry, the British luxury lifestyle brand internationally acclaimed for quality and design. This year, Rosie was named one of the 50 Most Influential People in British Luxury by Walpole. Since the launch of Mulberry’s Made to Last Manifesto in April 2021, the brand has been focussed on transforming its leather supply chain into a regenerative and circular model and investing in finding more sustainable solutions to the environmental challenges raised by the leather industry.
Prof Jane Harris
R&D Academic Mentor
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
Prof Mohammad Mahbubul Hassan
R&D Academic Mentor
Mohammad Mahbubul Hassan is a material scientist with 24 years of academic and industrial research experience in sustainable textile and polymeric materials development. He completed his PhD in Textile Chemistry in 1999 at the University of Manchester under a British Commonwealth scholarship. Previously, he worked as a senior scientist in the Bioproduct and Fibre Technology Team of the New Zealand Pastoral Agricultural Research Institute for 18 years and as a lecturer at Yamagata University for two years. His expertise is in the following areas:
- Sustainable textiles and biodegradable polymeric materials
- Eco-friendly multi-functional textiles
- Smart, healthcare and cosmetotextiles