Leeds School of Design: leading the way in fashion research

A selection of coloured cotton fabrics in grey, red, orange, green, light blue and dark blue organised into sections with the hand of a fashion research manager reaching out to choose the green fabric at the Leeds School of Design.

At the University of Leeds, our unique Masters course in International Fashion Marketing and Design Management is delivered fully online by the Leeds School of Design.

The interdisciplinary school is ranked 8th in the UK for Art and Design (Complete University Guide, 2023) and brings together creativity and innovation to explore new ideas. Alongside fundamental design and technology research, it also tackles real-world problems in fashion by using advanced technologies and design thinking.

Read this blog to explore the longstanding reputation of the School of Design and the cutting-edge research currently underway.

What is the University of Leeds School of Design?

The School of Design is a department within the University of Leeds which brings together expertise from a range of design and technology specialisms. Ranked in the Global Top 100 and 15 in the UK (QS World Rankings, 2023), we offer a variety of specialist courses including the online fashion management Masters, while also facilitating world-leading research initiatives.

What is the FMM (Fashion Marketing and Management) group?

The Fashion Marketing and Management (FMM) group is a multidisciplinary research group within the School of Design that specialises in fashion research such as brand design, digital innovation, management, marketing, sustainability and more. The purpose of the FMM is to conduct research which addresses a whole host of environmental, social, cultural, and economic challenges that the industry faces while developing new insights to help those studying lead the future of fashion.

What research projects are currently underway at the School of Design?

Research is integral to the School of Design and heavily influences operations at the University of Leeds. Our team of researchers, including those in the FMM group, work extensively in the fashion industry to impact society through four interconnected themes of culture, economy, environment, and health. Here are some of the top research projects currently in progress:

1. Creating a dress from Magnum ice creams

Leading ice cream brand Magnum recently partnered with the University of Leeds to create the ‘Vegan Dress’; a gown made from the by-products of its popular ice creams.

The creation was made possible by using 3D printed technology at the School of Design that incorporated sustainable materials with leftover cocoa bean husks to create a fully organic biopolymer dress. It was debuted at Paris Fashion Week and marked the start of a new partnership between the University of Leeds and the dessert brand which will explore further opportunities for accessible and sustainable fashion.

2. Tackling environmental waste in fashion

Another example of the School of Design leading sustainable change in fashion is the launch of a new voluntary agreement which makes the university the first to reduce the impact of UK clothing and home fabrics industries on the environment.

Textiles 2030 is a new initiative by WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production), established in line with the Paris Agreement and the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. The goal is to transform the UK’s fashion culture into one where products are made sustainably, used longer and then reused or recycled. This is driven by issuing leading retailers such as John Lewis and Primark with water and carbon reduction targets. The School of Design will empower clothing brands and recycling organisations to achieve these goals by offering access to their leading experts who will help to set targets and measure sustainable progress.

“The energy and ambition of Textiles 2030, its industry signatories and the parent organisation WRAP, are inspiring, and we look forward to working with so many other key organisations over the ten-year period of the initiative to continue to address the impact that UK clothing and fabrics have on the environment”.

Dr Mark Sumner,
Lecturer in Sustainability, Fashion and Retail,
University of Leeds School of Design

3. Developing a new polyester dyeing technology

Researchers at the University of Leeds have also been crowned recent winners of the Circular Future Fund prize for their work in developing a new polyester dyeing technology.

Currently, a major challenge of recycling polyester fabric is the presence of dyes, which makes fibre-to-fibre recycling almost impossible. Therefore, researchers in the School of Design are developing a solution that uses new technology to deploy carbon dioxide and separate dyes from fibre, enabling easier recycling of polyester for fashion products. The share of the £1 million prize will enable the team to further explore the ability to recycle polyester, alongside assessing the economic and environmental benefits of doing so.

“Polyester is the global clothing industry’s most consumed fibre, yet fibre-to-fibre recycling for the material is unfeasible because of the chemicals involved in the dyeing process. This award from the Circular Future Fund will allow us to take a significant next step in tackling the global environmental and economic issue of polyester recycling”.

Professor Richard Blackburn,
Professor of Sustainable Materials,
University of Leeds School of Design

Study International Fashion Marketing and Design Management with the University of Leeds

Our online International Fashion Marketing and Design Management Masters is perfect if you are looking to start a fashion brand or lead an existing one.

Delivered online by the School of Design, you’ll experience our world-leading UK institution without the need to relocate. You’ll be taught via our award-winning virtual learning environment, Minerva, through live sessions with module tutors in a mixture of structured and open-ended learning techniques.

You’ll also benefit from our cutting-edge research and a dedicated employability lead who offers career and employability events, and networking opportunities in the form of bi-weekly fashion forums and a dedicated LinkedIn group.

Revolutionise the Fashion Industry

Want to discuss the opportunities of our online International Fashion Marketing and Design Management Masters?

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