Research & Art

FTF news

Burning news related to Fashion/Textile Futures research group.
Aalto University Logo

Open position: Doctoral Researcher under the topic Textiles for planetary emergency 

Application closes on 30.11.2023

Open position of Doctoral Researcher in Fashion/Textile FUTURES research group in Aalto university, in collaboration with Swedish School of Textiles and Aalto Bioinnovation Center.

Learn more

Emmi Pouta Dissertation Layered Approaches 2023

Emmi Pouta defended the thesis Layered Approaches - Woven eTextile Explorations Through Applied Textile Thinking 

Emmi Pouta defended the thesis "Layered Approaches - Woven eTextile Explorations Through Applied Textile Thinking". The public defence was held at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Design.

The practice-based approach grounded on textile thinking was found to be well-suited for mapping the design space of woven eTextiles to discover new research opportunities. The approach enables accessing methods based on textile design and construction skills and conducting the investigation through the possibilities of weaving. As a core contribution, this thesis proposes a model for approaching woven eTextiles as electrically functional material systems, in which woven textiles' structural hierarchy collides with circuit design principles.

See doctoral theses in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Mistery Project

MISTERY – Multispectral Optical Sensors for Textiles Recycling Project

MISTERY (Multispectral Optical Sensors for Textiles Recycling) is one of the projects that has received funding from Innovation Challenge 2021 by Refashion. The project aims at prototyping the use of multispectral optical sensors in characterising used household textiles. CEA YSPOT from France coordinates the project. Aalto is taking part in MISTERY by giving expertise in the optical identification of textile materials, and in different textile recycling technologies by a postdoctoral researcher Kirsti Cura.

See more

Sofia Guridi textile
Photo: Vertti Virasjoki, Textiles: Sofia Guridi Sotomayor

Chile is Changing its Skin part of Desenlace de la Forma exhibition

by Doctoral Candidate Sofia Guridi Sotomayor

Material exploration that shows the potential for integration of biomaterials in textile structures, demonstrating their biodegradability, texture, versatility, and capacity for transformation.

Simulating a skin that renews itself, the biomaterial degrades when it comes into contact with water, giving way to a new layer or skin and, in that, to a message concealed in the fabric.
Next to it, the word "grows" acts, revealing part of the message when it perceives the presence of the spectators.

Desenlace de la Forma - Centro de Extensión Palacio Pereira, Santiago, Chile
Duration: 26 Oct 2022 → 30 Jan 2023

See moreEvent website

Sofia Guridi's Light Tissue
Photo: Vertti Virasjoki, Light Tissue by Doctoral Candidate Sofia Guridi Sotomayor

Light Tissue project part of the Dialogues - Creating New Textile Futures exhibition

“Light Tissue” is a sample collection of cellulose-based light-emitting textiles with touch-sensing capabilities. The aim is to propose more sustainable options for smart textiles as an alternative to metals and plastic usually integrated into yarn structures. The final woven, bio-based, biodegradable fabrics could be utilized to create light therapy garments or disposable touch sensors for healthcare.

This project was done in collaboration with Aalto University, VTT and Tampere University.

See moreDialogues exhibition

Transparency and traceability

New report
 – Transparency and Traceability in the Textile Value Chain


Cura, K., Jain, S. & Niinimäki, K. (2022). Transparency and traceability in textile supply chain. Aalto University publication series ART + DESIGN + ARCHITECTURE


This report gives a concise description of the data that is generated across the value chain, and the tools and technologies that can help the value chain to promote traceability, transparency and sustainability in textile and apparel value chains. Writers are Kirsti Cura, Sheenam Jain, Kirsi Niinimäki

This report has been written with the financial support of Fortum Power and Heat Oy, Metsä Spring Oy and ExpandFibre co-financed by Business Finland. Furthermore, this research work was supported by the Academy of Finland’s Strategic Research Council’s Grant n:o 327299 Sustainable textile systems: Co-creating resource-wise business for Finland in global textile networks (FINIX) consortium, and the Academy of Finland’s funded project the Circular Design Network (CircDNet), Grant n:o 337714 (Special funding for RDI partnership networks). 

Read the article on AaltoDocs

Hot or cool report launch

Report Launch Online – Unfit, Unfair, Unfashionable | resizing fashion for a fair consumption space | Hot or Cool

The report will be available to download on the 25th November, 2022


With retail mega-event Black Friday just around the corner, it is more important than ever to raise the alarm over how the fashion industry is leaving our climate threadbare - and, in particular, how the industry’s oversized climate impact is being driven by the richest in society. 

A new report from the Hot or Cool Institute, titled ‘Unfit, Unfair, Unfashionable: Resizing Fashion for a Fair Consumption Space’, published jointly with the Rapid Transition Alliance, will launch on the 24th November 2022. It argues that current fashion consumption and production is unsustainable, structurally unfair, and in need of urgent reform to align with global climate agreements and binding legislation. To mark the report launch, a webinar will take place on Thursday 24th November at 10am GMT / 11am CET / 5am EST. 

See more

Sustainable fashion management

New textbook – Sustainable Fashion Management

Henninger, C., Niinimäki, K., Jones, C. & Cano, M.B. (2022) Sustainable Fashion Management. London, New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780367564551

This book provides a holistic and accessible approach to sustainable fashion management. It offers an interdisciplinary and practical outlook, combining theory with practical application from a management perspective and underpinned by the Sustainable Development Goals throughout.

The book helps students to gain a better understanding of what sustainable fashion is and how it is implemented across the fashion industry, through business model innovations, innovative designs, new technology and digital approaches, and material innovations. Global case studies are employed throughout each chapter, including fashion companies and events of all sizes, alongside other pedagogical features to aid learning, including key learning points, chapter objectives, and textboxes explaining key terminology.

Find the book

Cover

Natalia Särmäkari defended the thesis From a Tool to a Culture

November 3, 2022

MA Natalia Särmäkari defended the thesis "From a Tool to a Culture: Authorship and Professionalism of Fashion 4.0 Designers in Contemporary Digital Environments". The public defence was held on 28 October 2022 at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Design.

How does digitalisation transform the field of fashion design? The research provides new knowledge on digital fashion from the perspective of the fashion designer profession. The extensive empirical research material deepens the understanding of how the field of digital fashion re-professionalises fashion design and reconstructs the social status of designers.

See doctoral theses in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture

New Cotton Project installation
New Cotton Project Installation launch

New Cotton Project launches an installation at the Fashion for Good Museum

November 3, 2022

The New Cotton Project marks a key milestone with the launch of an exhibit installation in the Fashion for Good Innovation Lounge. The installation celebrates the recent launch of Adidas and H&M Group’s garments produced through the consortium, which are the first to be produced through the demonstration of a potential circular ecosystem. Aalto University releases an overview white paper on Circular Business Models and the New Cotton Project Ecosystem’s Blueprint, sharing accessible insights and analysis from the project.

See the full press release

Biocolour seminar image
Follow BioColour seminar streaming 14.10.2021

BioColour - Exploring sustainable colour

October 14, 2021

Biocolour – Exploring Sustainable Colour seminar is both an introduction to the exhibition of the same name (Valo and Katve 1 and 2 galleries, Arktikum, Rovaniemi 14.10.-5.12.) and an independent opening to various themes of sustainable color and biocolourants. The seminar program includes presentations about the backgrounds of the exhibition, research fields related to biocolours as well as future visions of colour by various experts in science, art, design, and education. We also hear presentations by people working with biocolourants. Welcome to follow seminar streaming

Designed for circularity

Designed for circularity webinar recording

September 9, 2021

Does textile waste and circular economy make out the basis of success for the fashion of the future?  Associate Professor of design and fashion, Kirsi Niinimäki from Aalto University in Helsinki, led the discussion with Petri Alava/Infinited Fiber Company, Elina Ibounig/Marimekko, Laura Roman/Halti and Ina Budde/Circular.Fashion

The webinar was organised in collaboration with FINIX project and the Embassy of Finland, Berlin.

Defence of doctoral thesis in the field of design, MA Essi Karell

The title of the thesis is Closing the Loop through Clothing Design: Wishful Thinking or Achievable Practice?

Read more
Blue fabric scraps and yarn against blue background.
NewSilk Youtube video.png
The New Road to Silk: Bio-based production of silk like materials | Video by Fotoni Film 2021

NEWSILK project 

The New Road to Silk: Bio-based production of silk like materials

May 6, 2021

Three and half year's Academy of Finland funded project NEWSILK has ended.  In the project, material researchers worked together with designers with the aim to produce new types of silk-like materials in the context of synthetic biology. What makes sense in interdisciplinary collaboration between disciplines? How materials will be made in the future? How we can learn from the nature?

Please watch our outcomes on Youtube.

Hidden photovoltaics enables freedom to design e-textiles

The Sun-powered Textiles project explores a practical and scalable solar cell textile technology

Read more
A close-up image of a woven textile structure to be used to cover the solar cell.

Multidisciplinary project 'Shimmering wood' shortlisted in Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards

Shimmering wood is an innovation of Noora Yau and Konrad Klockars.

Read more
Shimmering wood
Photo by Bettina Blomstedt

Collaboration between Aalto and small businesses: Case of Sun-powered Textiles

April 29, 2021

Sun-powered Textiles project was featured in Fab-magazine (4/2021) with project specialist Elina Ilén sharing her insights on the collaboration between Aalto and small businesses.

Check the full article here.

Photo by Bettina Blomstedt. 

Open call for Sustainability journal

Special Issue "Sustainable Textiles and Garments in the Context of a Circular Economy: Extended Use, Material Circulation and New Business Understanding" 

This Special Issue will focus on sustainable textile and fashion in the context of a circular economy, and therefore, we expect to receive contributions especially from the following themes:

  •     How to slow down the system;
  •     How to extend the use time of textiles and garments;
  •     How to improve the recyclability of textiles and garments;
  •     How to construct new business models linking to a circular economy.

Deadline: 30th of November, 2021.

Editors for this special Issue are Kirsi Niinimäki and Natalia Moreira.

More information here

Going beyond cotton

Aalto University part of a consortium that harnesses collaboration and cutting-edge technology to create circular fashion.

Read more
New Cotton Project

Theses: Threading the needle – together!

Taking care of your clothes is an environmental act, says Marium Durrani. Communal clothing repair workshops are popular around the world and have now landed also in Finland to push against unsustainable fast fashion practices.

Read more
Marium Durrani ompelemassa käsin vaatekappaletta, jossa on kukkakuosi.
Finix projekti | Kestävä vaate -kampanja
Finix project | Sustainable garment campaign

Sustainable garment campaign

April 9, 2020

At the time of COVID-19 pandemic, Finix project aims to support sustainable Finnish textile and clothing businesses through Sustainable garment campaign (kestävä vaate -kampanja). For this purpose, members of the Finix project created a list of businesses, which hopefully will survive over the crisis and continue working towards more sustainable clothing and textile industry in the future. The campaign is shared through social media with the hashtag #kestävävaate.

More information (in Finnish): https://finix.aalto.fi/kestavavaate-kampanja/

A smart jumpsuit provides information on infants’ movement and development

A new innovation by University of Helsinki and Aalto University makes it possible, for the first time, to quantitatively assess children’s spontaneous movement in the natural environment.

Read more
lapsi älypotkupuvussa kuva: sampsa vanhatalo / helsingin yliopisto

Revival of garment mending: communal reskilling addresses global issues of textile waste

Dissertation of the month: Mending clothes, one of the oldest practices known to humankind, nowadays stands for global awareness of the textile waste problem.

Read more
Marium Durrani
Symposium Fashion and Design for Sustainability
Symposium Fashion and Design for Sustainability | Fashion & Technology research group | Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Fashion and Design for Sustainability: Research and Practice

November 27, 2019, Amsterdam

FTF group leader Kirsi Niinimäki will give a speech in the  symposium Fashion and Design for Sustainability : Research and Practice that takes place in Amsterdam later this autumn. The symposium is linked to Irene Maldini's PhD ceremony, bringing together four international professors in fashion and design for sustainability including Kirsi NiinimäkiTim Cooper, Kate Fletcher and Conny Backer who will all reflect on the relationship between research and practice in these fields, building on examples of their own work.

The professors will also act as opponents in Maldini's public defence titled as Can design confront consumerism? A critical study of clothing volumes , personalisation, and the wardrobe, taking place on November 26.

PLATE 2019
Kirsi Niinimäki introducing the keynote speaker Otto von Busch at PLATE conference. Photo: Fraunhofer IZM 2019

PLATE 2019 Conference

September 18-20, 2019, Berlin

The 3rd international PLATE conference gathered over 200 participants to Berlin to share their insights of product lifetimes and sustainable practices in the development, production, use, reuse and recycling of products from various fields. In the conference, FTF members Kirsi Niinimäki, Marium Durrani and Essi Karell presented the following research papers focusing on repair and clothing design practices:

Durrani, M., Niinimäki, K. & McLaughlan, S. (2019). Designing for and with Garment Repair: an Exploration of Future Possibilities.

Karell, E. & Niinimäki, K. (2019). Deconstructing the Clothing Design Process for a Circular Economy.

Design Culture Salon: Can design research save the planet?

September 11, 2019, Helsinki Design Week

As part of Helsinki Design Week's official programme, Finland’s leading design researchers from Aalto University debated how design could address the global ecological crisis. "What is needed so that design research has an impact on the ‘real world’? How might design profession benefit? How can design researchers work with others in new ways to address the urgent challenges of climate change, and what are the implications?"

The discussion was moderated by Guy Julier, Professor of Design Leadership from Aalto, and accompanied by Eeva Berglund, Adjunct Professor of Environmental Policy, Michael Lettenmeier, sustainability consultant and author of 1.5 Degree Lifestyles, Mikko Jalas, Professor of Sustainable Consumption, Ramia Maze, Professor of New Frontiers in Design and Kirsi Niinimäki, Professor of Fashion.

More about Design Culture Salon.

Tomorrow's Sustainable Lifestyles Showcased in Otaniemi

One of Helsinki Design Week's main events, Designs for a Cooler Planet, will showcase Aalto University's cross-cutting future prototypes, such as a nanocellulose bicycle, microbial headphones and Ioncell clothes

Read more
Nanocellulose bicycle Photo: Eeva Suorlahti
Pukeudu puuhun - SuomiAreena 2019
Pukeudu puuhun - kestävyyttä vaatebisnekseen | SuomiAreena 2019 | Suomen Akatemia

Dress up in wood - sustainability into fashion business

July 18, 2019, Pori

Doctoral Candidate Essi Karell joined SuomiAreena's panel discussion 'Dress up in wood - sustainability into fashion business'. The discussion was organised in Pori by the Academy of Finland and Sitra.

Panelists:
Ali Harlin, Professor, FinnCERES, VTT
Essi Karell, Doctoral candidate, Fashion designer, Aalto University
Janne Laine, Professor, Vice President for Innovation, Aalto University
Leena-Kaisa Piekkari, Circular Economy Specialist, Sitra

Moderator:
Kirsi Alm-Siira, News Anchor, Journalist, MTV Uutiset

Watch the panel discussion at MTV Uutiset.

Ommel festivaali 2019

Clothing Design in a Circular Economy

June 8, 2019, Espoo

Doctoral Candidate Essi Karell gave a lecture 'Clothing Design in a Circular Economy' at Finland’s largest sewing event Ommel 2019.The lecture gave an overview of circular economy related challenges in the context of textile products. What could all 'sewists' consider when aiming for product longevity, reusability and recyclability?

Sustainable fashion in a circular economy / Kirsi Niinimäki (ed.)
Sustainable Fashion in a Circular Economy | Editor Kirsi Niinimäki | Aalto ARTS Books

Book Launch: Sustainable Fashion in a Circular Economy

February 5, 2019, Espoo

Edited by professor Kirsi Niinimäki, group leader of F/T Futures research group.

The promotion of sustainable fashion within a circular economy is a vital contemporary topic. This publication presents up-to-date research about the various levels of circularity at work in the fashion industry. Experts of design, consumption, business and industry explain how circularity in the production and consumption of fashion can be approached in manifold ways. This collection of texts highlights the fresh, critical thinking that is currently influencing the fashion industry to adopt the practice of sustainable transformation within a circular economy.

The publication addresses the following themes:

  • How to include consumers within the changing process of fashion consumption?
  • New design and business strategies for the circular transformation of fashion.
  • Developing a systems approach to circularity, which includes the recycling and recovering of materials at an industrial level.

Purchase your copy at Aalto University Shop!

Namkyu Chun dissertation cover
Re(dis)covering Fashion Designers: Interweaving Dressmaking and Placemaking | Namkyu Chun

Re(dis)covering Fashion Designers: Interweaving Dressmaking and Placemaking

November 15, 2018, Helsinki

MFA Namkyu Chun defended his doctoral dissertation 'Re(dis)covering Fashion Designers: Interweaving Dressmaking and Placemaking', having PhD Pammi Sinha from University of Leeds as opponent, and professor Kirsi Niinimäki from Aalto University as custos.

'Re(dis)covering Fashion Designers: Interweaving Dressmaking and Placemaking' discusses the social role of fashion designers. It departed from the encounter with the mystification of what they actually do and the unclear contribution to society as a profession. While critically reflecting on design thinking approaches that have contributed to the expansion of design, this book also questions if design can be generalized without the careful understanding of cultural differences among subfields of design.

The dissertation invites a dialogue embracing the material and immaterial worlds of fashion through two studies in Helsinki, Finland. The metaphor of weaving is adopted to not just interlace the narratives of the studies but also to be used as a piece of fabric patchworking the gap between design and fashion. The two studies were constructed to both recover and rediscover fashion designers. The notion of recovery is presented in relation to the meaning of the fashion design pro­fession in the contemporary fashion system due to certain prejudices. Meanwhile, the notion of rediscovery is tied to the prac­tice of fashion designers, especially the ignored tradition of dressmaking and their shared culture. The results suggest both rethinking what they are capable of and exploring possibilities to expand their role. The studies woven together present an original contribution of fashion designers as engaged actors of society beyond image-making.

Future Fabric
Future Fabric | Helsinki Think Company

Futures Fabrics, Futures Consumption

September 18, 2018, Helsinki

Professor Kirsi Niinimäki gave a presentation 'Futures Fabrics, Futures Consumption' at Helsinki Design Week‘s event Future Fabricon 18th of September, addressing the following question: How does the future of textile industry look like? The event approached the future of Finnish fashion from three perspectives: 

  • Futures material technologies; how to create new ecological materials. 
  • From technology into industry; can expensive innovations revolutionise the fashion system?
  • Can a small country overcome scalability challenges?

The event was organised by Helsinki Think Company in Science Corner (Tiedekulma). Helsinki Think Company is the entrepreneurship society of the University of Helsinki.

Touch Interwoven – Interactive Textile as an Interface Between Physical and Digital Worlds

September 12, 2018, Espoo

Doctoral Candidate Emmi Pouta presented her research at Smart Textile Summit, which is a continually organized networking event that deals with the latest Finnish smart textile research and industry. The first event focused on human experiences with smart textiles in different forms of our everyday life.

Event was organized in collaboration between Happy Textiles Bazaar, Aalto University Experience Platform, Aalto University Materials Platform, and Start North. Event was a part of the official Helsinki Design Week program.

The title of the presentation was 'Touch Interwoven – Interactive Textile as an Interface Between Physical and Digital Worlds'.

More about the event here.

Fashion/Textile Futures

The Fashion/Textile Futures research group explores new perspectives on human-centered design research. The group approaches research in the field of fashion, clothing and textiles in multi-faceted ways.

Back to FTF website
Sofia Ilmonen Biocolour
  • Published:
  • Updated: