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New Composites: Diversifying material sources in a circular textile economy

University of the Arts London

The New Composites project aims to increase understanding of the circularity potential of new biobased and recycled fibres to encourage fibre diversity across the industry. To move away from the ubiquitous and polluting use of cotton and polyester, alternatives must be understood and integrated to textile design practice.

The project addresses the lack of information on composition, production processes and recyclability criteria for alternative fibres and yarns and will provide recommendations for their use directly based on recycler parameters. It acknowledges that often alternative fibres need to be blended with other materials to compensate for cost of performance challenges.

The recommendations for circular composites with emerging sustainable fibres will be tested in the practice of a range of textile designers from contract to craft approaches, producing a series of textile demonstrators that will show the potential for design with recycled and biobased materials in circular systems.

Project team

Academic Supervisor: Kate Goldsworthy

Research Associate: Laetitia Forst

Non-Academic Partner: Circular Textiles Foundation, Coléchi, Salt and ReWeave

Kate Goldworthy

Kate Goldsworthy is Professor of Circular Design & Innovation, and Director of the UAL Innovation Lab at University of the Arts London. Her research interests include designing for sustainability, the

Laetitia Forst

Laetitia Forst is a postdoctoral research fellow at UAL. She holds a masters degree from the Ecole National Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs Paris in textiles and materials design, and completed her PhD

Tim Cross

Tim Cross is the founder of The Circular Textiles Foundation. The Circular Textiles Foundation was founded by Tim Cross based on the learnings of developing technology for the mechanical recycling of

June Swindell

June Swindell is the founder of Salt. Salt creates innovative textiles for interior designers and architects working in commercial, retail, and residential spaces in the UK and worldwide. Specifically

Kirsty McDougall

Kirsty McDougall Woven Textiles is a textile design studio specialising in weaving based in Hastings. Kirsty McDougall has worked in textile design for 18 years, beginning as a freelance designer for


Colechi, co-founded by Piarvé and Tina Wetshi, is a research agency and collective actioning sustainable development across the fashion industry and consumer landscapes. They work to humanise clothing