Saturday April 21st marks the opening day of the exhibit ‘Fashioned from Nature’ at the Victoria and Albert museum in London. One of the objects on display is a paper-textile garment from the ‘ultra fast forward’ fashion design concept, developed collaboratively by Prof. Kay Politowicz and Dr. Kate Goldsworthy from UAL with Dr. Hjalmar Granberg from RISE.

As a part of the design theme within Mistra Future Fashion, paper-like textiles are being developed in an effort to explore the different speeds of fashion. Wearable ‘paper’ is the inexpensive 21st-century fabric with an intentionally short lifespan and can be recycled or industrially composted. Made from unbleached wood pulp and other bio-based materials, the non-woven paper is finished using natural dyes, laser surfacing, and efficient ultrasonic construction. Energy and chemicals are reduced at every stage.

The paper is part of a larger study, focusing on ‘speed of cycle’, the aim is to better understand the challenges cycle of speed may bring to design and to prepare for the subsequent action research phase. The research includes development of design research prototypes and new materials. The aim is to develop the discourse from fast and slow pure and simple, to a level where multiple, proportionate speeds can be both understood, tested via LCA and ultimately engineered to improve the circular efficiency of a product.

The basis of the project emerged from Textile Toolbox project during Mistra Future Fashion phase 1, where researchers from UAL first produced prototypes exploring circular speeds; ‘asap paper’, ‘digital seamsdress’ and ‘fast refashion’. In phase two these designs have been further developed into ‘ultra fast forward’ and ‘super slow’ concepts.