Aalto's strong textile expertise showcased at New York Textile Month event

DIALOGUES – Creating New Textile Futures event in New York 2–6 November, as part of the New York Textile Month, brings together Aalto University from Finland and the Parsons from the United States to reimagine the landscape of tomorrow’s textiles and fashion.
Two hands hold a green textiles surface surrounded by rich green nature all around
Textile design by Elisa Defossez. Photo: Elisa Defossez and Toni Oinonen

As the textile and fashion industries are undergoing significant turmoil, the urgent need for solutions to critical challenges, from overproduction, irresponsible waste, and supply chain management to the exhaustive use of natural resources, grows more significant. The new generation of textile and fashion designers is crucial to unlocking these challenges, together with the introduction of groundbreaking novel processes and material innovations that offer smart, circular alternatives for the materials in use today. 

The DIALOGUES exhibition in Tribeca, New York from 2 to 6 November and the seminar at Parsons – The New School on 2 November will showcase the textile expertise of Aalto University and Parsons School of Design. It will feature creative design work, material solutions and design pedagogy, as well as a topical, multidisciplinary dialogue on the future of textiles.

Aalto University's broad-based textile pedagogy, textile thinking, will be strongly featured at the event.

‘At Aalto, textile and fashion education are linked together. Fashion students also learn the basics of woven textiles as well as knitwear, fabric printing, finishing and dyeing, so they have a broad understanding of textiles and their properties from the very beginning’, says Professor of Textile Design Maarit Salolainen.

According to Salolainen, the key to Aalto's textile education is to create a bridge between technical skills and creative design. The teaching also emphasises a comprehensive understanding of textile materials, structures, processes and systems to enable the sector to meet the challenges of sustainable development.

Aalto's textile and fashion students have world-class skills. Modern workshops at Aalto University are an important part of education. The multidisciplinary university provides a platform for open-minded crossing of boundaries and bringing together students from different backgrounds in courses.

‘We make extensive use of our unique studios in our teaching. Students learn about the practices and processes of the textile industry. We also collaborate a lot with other Aalto University schools. We want to offer our students a holistic understanding of textiles and a multidisciplinary learning environment’, says Salolainen.

Our students have a broad understanding of textiles and their properties from the very beginning."

Adjunct Professor in Textile Design Maarit Salolainen

The book ‘Interwoven’ illustrates Aalto's pedagogy in textile education

Maarit Salolainen's book "Interwoven - Exploring Materials and Structures" (Aalto ARTS Books, 2022), published in autumn, will also be presented at the event. The book also includes contributions by textile design lecturers Maija Fagerlund and Anna-Mari Leppisaari. At the heart of this epic of textile teaching is Aalto's textile thinking pedagogy.

The book introduces the reader to the world of woven fabrics, comprehensively illustrating how the history of textiles has been intertwined with innovation since prehistoric times--for example, the invention of the binary code in the early 19th century with the invention of the Jacquard machine--and guides the reader to future material innovations and sustainable solutions for the industry. 

Business Finland and Finnish fibre innovation companies participate in the Dialogues seminar. The exhibition will also showcase business cooperation projects in Aalto, such as Kuura (Metsä Group) and Ioncell.

The DIALOGUES exhibition features Aino Ojala, Elisa Defossez, Francesco Furlan, Jarno Kettunen, Laura Rusanen, Leevi Ikäheimo, Leonardo Hidalgo Uribe, Mithila Mohan, Nora Bremer, Praejeen Kunawong, Sofía Guridi, Ulla Vahteri, Yoonsik Kim and You-Chia Chen

Dialogues concept and exhibition curation: Maarit Salolainen and Anna-Mari Leppisaari
Production: Nora Bremer
Exhibition architecture: Hanna Anonen
Visual identity and graphic design: Aino Salonen, MA Programme in Visual Communication Design

The Dialogues event is organised in cooperation with Parsons, the Finnish Consulate in New York, the Finnish Cultural Institute, Business Finland and Juni Communications.

After New York, the Dialogues by AaltoTEXTILES exhibition will be on show at Dipoli in Otaniemi from late November to February. The exhibition will feature research projects and student work related to textiles at Aalto University. The opening of the Dialogues event at Dipoli is 28.11.

The Dialogues – Creating New Textile Futures exhibition and seminar will take place as part of New York Textile Month (NYTM) 2–6 Nov 2022.

Exhibition: November 2–6, 11:00–6:00 PM Opening reception, November 2, 6:00-9:00 PM 80 W. Broadway, New York, NY 10007 

Seminar: November 2, 3:00–5:00 PM Starr Foundation, UL 102, University Center, Parsons School of Design 63 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY-10011 


Adjunct Professor in Textile Design, Maarit Salolainen, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, [email protected], +358504428381 

Production Assistant Nora Bremer, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, [email protected], +358509170991

Read more:

New York Textile Month

Master's Programme in Fashion, Clothing and Textile Design 


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Aalto University’s pedagogy in textiles studies relies on ‘textile thinking’

"Interwoven - Exploring Materials and Structures" by Professor Maarit Salolainen is a thorough overview of the textile design pedagogy at Aalto University

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Interwoven-kirjan harmaansävyinen kansi, jossa on kuparilankainen kudos.

Interwoven dives into textile design and weaving

Interwoven is a joyoys exploration into woven textile design with almost 500 pages and over 1500 photographs.

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