Innovative enterprises secure £693,000 R&D investment

Yorkshire textile mills, independent fashion brands and manufacturers have been successful in Future Fashion Factory’s second innovation funding call, securing more than £693,000 investment in research and development.

Future Fashion Factory is part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme, an £80m initiative led by by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The programme is led by the University of Leeds in partnership with the University of Huddersfield and Royal College of Art.

The successful projects will enable businesses to access the expertise of these institutions, as companies collaborate with researchers to tackle major challenges. Seven of the nine successful projects announced are:

  • Building a digital data archive of historic fabric designs (Abraham Moon & Sons, Guiseley)
  • Developing a predictive model to determine the right-first-time settings for weaving high-value fabrics based on the fabric specification (Bower Roebuck, Holmfirth)
  • Wireless 3D-zoned heaters that can be printed onto garments (Conductive Transfers, Barnsley)
  • Finding a second life for automotive leather in the fashion industry (HSSMI, London)
  • Exploring immersive communication techniques to support growth of independent fashion brands (Nomad Designerwear, Barnsley)
  • Identifying digital technologies to upscale hand-crafted garment production (Something Wicked, Leeds)
  • Detecting weft misalignment in the fabric finishing process with an intelligent sensory system (WT Johnson, Huddersfield)

Professor Stephen Russell, Future Fashion Factory director and professor of textile materials and technology at the University of Leeds, said: “Collaboration is crucial to address the challenges faced by the fashion and textile industry.

“We are proud to deliver projects bringing researchers and companies together, enabling them to share expertise and develop innovative products.

“The UK has a world-class fashion and textile industry, full of highly skilled professionals known for the quality of their products.

“These projects will help UK businesses to increase their competitive edge in a changing global landscape, creating value and ultimately driving economic growth.”

In August 2019 Future Fashion Factory announced that nine projects had been approved as part of its first funding call, representing over £645,000 investment.

Funding call three will open to expressions of interest on 30 April.

Businesses of all sizes and specialisms working in the fashion and textile industry are eligible to apply, provided they become Future Fashion Factory members. Membership is free. Find out more at