Nottingham Trent University part of the fabric of international trade fair

Nottingham Trent University has become an integral thread in the fabric of one of the largest global fairs for fibres, yarns and knitwear thanks to strong industry links.

Nottingham Trent University has become an integral thread in the fabric of one of the largest global fairs for fibres, yarns and knitwear thanks to strong industry links.

For five years, the University has increased its ties with SPINEXPO in Shanghai, China – an event attended by thousands of designers, buyers and decision makers from retailers, international brands and manufacturers.

It was the first university to exhibit at this prestigious fair and, this spring, students' work will be a recurring feature throughout the event's stands.

This is the first year postgraduate students have been invited to show in their own dedicated space. The stand will feature final collections by MA Fashion Design, Fashion Knitwear Design and Textile Design Innovation students who graduated in September 2013. Exhibits include complex combinations of hand and digitally crafted textiles, including laser-cut coats by Zhuo Gu, power knitted dresses by Lin Gao and printed garments by Katja Wukovits who has also been commissioned to the design graphics for the event.

Work of second year and third year students from the university's textile and knitwear courses, along with the latest innovations from Nottingham Trent's Advanced Textile Research Group, will all be on show to the world.

For the first time, 43 second year students from the textile design and fashion knitwear courses have worked collaboratively on a project which will result in eight display stands at the fair from March 11 to 13.

The students were supplied with the latest yarns through SPINEXPO and asked to create eight separate concepts, showcasing what the newest trends in those products could be used to create.

Combining their disciplines in knit, weave, print and embroidery, the students have been working in teams, using the yarns to create fabric samples and garments which will be shown in eight separate, trend-themed displays.

Tina Downes, principle lecturer in Textile Design at Nottingham Trent University, said: "It has been an extremely valuable project for the students in terms of the team work and collaboration and also in understanding and experiencing the pressures of the industry through working on a live project like this."

Sponsorship is allowing two students who have worked on the project to attend the fair.

Cherry Kerby-Steele, one of those travelling to Shanghai, said: "The project has been exciting to be a part of, particularly watching it develop and unfold. Working collaboratively has allowed us to bounce of each other's ideas, perhaps thinking of another take on the development of your own work that you might not have previously thought of. I hope to gain a wider knowledge of yarns and fabrics, which will help influence my future designs."

Fashion Knitwear students are also creating three individual looks to display on a separate stand and this year a handful of textile design graduates from the MA Textile Design course will be exhibiting their work at the expo.

The work of students will also be showcased by Consinee Cashmere, a world leader in luxury yarns, which asked third year textile design students to design embellishments for several of their high-quality cashmere products which they will display during the fair.

Nottingham Trent University's links to SPINEXPO have proved instrumental in securing work placements and employment opportunities for graduates and raising the profile of the University internationally.

Cementing Nottingham Trent University's expertise and reputation in the textile industry, for the first time the University's Advanced Textile Research Group will showcase its cutting edge work.

Researchers in the group, including PhD student Anura Rathnayake and MA alumni Anna Piper, have produced a garment incorporating light emitting diodes (LEDs) to showcase a unique technology which could transform the manufacture of smart and interactive textiles.

Anna, who has been sponsored by the organisers of SPINEXPO to travel to the show and run a seminar about textile research at Nottingham Trent University with course leader for MA Fashion, Textiles and Knitwear, Dr Katherine Townsend, said: "Going to SPINEXPO and exhibiting my woven textiles is a great opportunity to share my design work with an international audience, to network and gain valuable feedback from industry which I can take forward in my future work. As a weaver, it is also a brilliant opportunity to find out about new innovations in fibres and yarns, which will hopefully allow me to establish yarn sourcing contacts and gain inspiration for my research."

Current techniques involve the insertion of the electronic module after the clothing has been produced, which results in it being inflexible and requires it to be removed before washing. But the group's work in manufacturing Micro Electronic Textiles (MET) truly integrates the electronics into the fibre by embedding sensors, smaller than the size of a pinhead, into the heart of the yarn. This process produces a smart textile which retains the fabric's basic characteristics of being tactile, flexible, machine washable and can be tumble dried.

Professor Tilak Dias, who leads the Advanced Textiles Research Group at Nottingham Trent University, said: "The prototype uses LEDs but the technology will also lead to a wide range of applications for washable wearable electronics. Although the concept is technology led, its focus is around design accessibility."

The new technology could be used to produce programmable fashion garments, garments for performance monitoring in sports or for social interactions and will be on show to the international audience attending the expo.

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Nottingham Trent University part of the fabric of international trade fair

Published on 24 February 2014
  • Category: Press office; School of Art & Design

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