Clothing Sustainability Research Group
Unit(s) of assessment: Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory
School: School of Art & Design
Clothing Sustainability is a multidisciplinary research group that focuses on creating knowledge that will support a more sustainable future for clothing design, consumption and culture. Members apply theoretical and practical knowledge from design and related disciplines to environmental and social sustainability, often integrating expertise in design with research frameworks drawn from the social sciences.
The group includes staff from the Fashion, Textile and Knitwear Design (FTK), and Fashion Marketing Management and Communication (FMMC) teams in the School of Art and Design, alongside staff from the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment and Nottingham Business School. They bring diverse and extensive knowledge, experience and resources to tackle the complex issues surrounding sustainability from different perspectives.
Members of the group actively embed sustainability into the curriculum by engaging in research-led teaching activities, supporting the University's commitment to contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (2015).
Group members have produced the Clothing Durability Toolkit to enable companies to recognise, map out and celebrate what they are currently doing to make clothes longer, to identify any gaps in their skills and knowledge, and to develop innovative approaches to clothing longevity tailored to their specific context and requirements.
Key research themes
- clothing longevity, including emotional durability
- sustainable clothing, supply chain and global development challenges
- sustainable business models and clothing systems
- sustainable fashion management
- clothing design, culture and media
- sustainable fashion marketing and trends
- consumer understanding and perception of sustainable fashion / clothing
- social innovation, collaborative consumption and social practices
- craft-based practices
- mending and repair practices
- reuse, closed loop and upcycling practice
- e-textile waste
- interdisciplinary practices and pedagogy
- research to support sustainable clothing design education.
Research undertaken by group members have resulted in a series of project reports:
- Strategies to improve design and testing for clothing longevity, Defra, 2014-16.
- Clothing longevity protocol, WRAP, 2014
- Clothing longevity and measuring active use, WRAP, 2013 (with Ipsos MORI)
- Guidance on design for longevity of clothing, WRAP, 2012
- Clothing behaviour, WRAP, 2011 (with Ipsos MORI)
- Public understanding of sustainable clothing, Defra, 2008
Clothing Durability Dozen toolkit
The Clothing Durability Dozen toolkit has been designed to enable clothing companies to map out and celebrate what they are already doing to make quality clothes that last for longer and, building upon this, to develop innovative approaches to clothing durability tailored to their future requirements.
Developed in collaboration with leading clothing companies, the toolkit may be used both as a reference point for developing new ideas and as a collaborative tool across company departments, utilising knowledge and skills while adopting a joined up, strategic approach.
The context to the project can be found following the Defra-funded research project, Strategies to Improve Design and Testing for Clothing Longevity; following initial development of the toolkit, it was trialled with leading high street retailers and within education and updated to reflect feedback, the final toolkit can be found here:
We welcome applications to undertake a higher degree by research leading to the award of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Master of Philosophy (MPhil). Further information is available via email from the Doctoral School
Opportunities for established scholars and research students to visit for short-term research visits are also available; if you are interested in joining us, please get in touch by email to find out more.
NTU's research projects on clothing for WRAP have involved collaboration with a wide range of leading manufacturers and retailers, including those signed up to WRAP’s Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (to which NTU is also a signatory). We have also concluded research projects for Defra in close collaboration with industry partners, experts and advisors. We have worked in partnership with a range of other research organisations, including Ipsos MORI.
Professor Tim Cooper is Head of the research group. Contributing Editor of Longer Lasting Products (Gower, 2010), his research interests are multidisciplinary, embracing design, consumer behaviour, public policy and environmental ethics. He has managed several clothing research projects funded by Defra and WRAP.
- Mary-Anne Ball
- Dr Naomi Braithwaite
- Dr Vanessa Brown
- Dr Wendy Chapple
- Stella Claxton
- Professor Tim Cooper
- Alison Escott
- Helen Hill
- Dr Alex Hiller
- Professor Anthony Kent
- Julia Kininmonth
- Angharad McLaren
- Professor David Ong
- Tonya Outtram
- Dr Lynn Oxborrow
- Melanie Robertson
- Dr Kath Townsend
- Dr Amy Twigger Holroyd
- Alistair Waite
- Liz Watson
- Dr Yang Wei
- Suzanne Winfield
- Tung Dao
- Deepti Mahajan
- Rachael Wickenden
Publications by members of the Research Group include reports from projects (see links in Projects, above) and conference papers, journals and book chapters:
Twigger Holroyd, A., 2019. Designing fashion fictions: speculative scenarios for sustainable fashion worlds. In: The Design After: Cumulus Conference proceedings, Bogota 2019. Bogota: Universidad de los Andes, pp. 341-351. ISBN 9789587749120
Goworek, H., Oxborrow, L., McLaren, A., Claxton, S., Cooper, T. and Hill, H. (2018) Creativity at work and sustainable product development: Practitioner perspectives from the clothing industry. In: L. Martin and N. Wilson, Handbook of Creativity at Work, Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 563-582
McLaren, A. and Goworek, H. (2017). Investigating the relationship between consumer attitudes and sustainable fashion product development. In Henninger, C., Alevizou, P., Goworek, H. and Ryding, D. (2017) Sustainability in Fashion: A Cradle To Upcycle Approach, Basingstoke: Palgrave
Goworek, H., Fisher, T., Cooper, T., Woodward, S. and Hiller, A. (2013) Consumers’ attitudes towards sustainable fashion: clothing usage and disposal. In: Gardetti, M.A. and Torres, A.L. (eds.) Sustainability in Fashion and Textiles, Sheffield: Greenleaf, pp.376-392.
Claxton, S. and Kent, A., 2020. The management of sustainable fashion design strategies: an analysis of the designer's role. Journal of Cleaner Production, 268: 122112.
Hardy, D., Wickenden, R. and Mclaren, A., 2020. Electronic textile reparability. Journal of Cleaner Production: 124328.
Goworek, H., Oxborrow, L., Claxton, S., Cooper, T.H., Hill, H. and McLaren, A., 2020. Managing sustainability in the fashion business: challenges in product development for clothing longevity in the UK. Journal of Business Research, 117, pp. 629-641.
Sung, K., Cooper, T., Oehlmann, J., Singh, J. and Mont, O., 2020. Multi-stakeholder perspectives on scaling up UK fashion upcycling businesses. Fashion Practice 12(3), pp. 331-350.
Townsend, K., Kent, A. and Sadkowska, A., 2019. Fashioning clothing with and for mature women: a small-scale sustainable design business model. Management Decision, 57 (1), pp. 3-20.
Sung, K., Cooper, T. and Kettley, S., 2019. Developing Interventions for Scaling Up Upcycling in the UK. Energies 12(14), 2778.
Sung, K., Cooper, T. and Kettley, S., 2019. Factors influencing upcycling for UK makers. Sustainability, 11 (3): 870.
Singh, J., Sung, K., Cooper, T., West, K. and Mont, O. (2019) Challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses – the case of textile and wood upcycling businesses in the UK. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 150 (2019) 104439. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2019.104439
Goworek, H., Oxborrow. L, Cooper. T., Claxton, S. and Hill. H. (2018) Managing sustainability in the fashion business: Evaluating challenges in product development for clothing longevity in the UK. Journal of Business Research. Available online (August). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.07.021
Goworek, H., Fisher, T., Cooper, T., Woodward, S., and Hiller, A. (2012). The Sustainable Clothing Market: An evaluation of potential strategies for UK retailers, International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management 40 (12), pp.935-955.
Cooper, T., 2020. Next steps for the UK fashion industry: Sustainability, ethics and growth, Westminster Business Forum policy conference, London/Online, 2 March 2021.
Cooper, T., 2020. Value and Values in a Circular Economy, International Upcycling Symposium, De Montfort University/Online, 4 September 2020.
Twigger Holroyd, A., 2020. Fashion fictions: exploring alternative fashion worlds together. In: Pivot 2020: Designing a World of Many Centers, Tulane University (online), New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, 4 June 2020.
Cooper, T., 2019. Sustainable Fashion through Research, Policy and Practice, Fashion and Design for Sustainability conference, Amsterdam, 27 November 2019.
Cooper, T., 2019. Minimising Fashion’s Impact on the Environment, Sustainability, ethics and the UK fashion industry, Westminster Business Forum policy conference, London, 20 November 2019.
McLaren, A., West, K., Hill, H., Claxton, S. and Cooper, T., 2019. The clothing durability dozen: interdisciplinary industry and educational approaches to clothing longevity. In: FTC Futurescan 4: Valuing Practice Conference, University of Bolton, Bolton, 23-24 January 2019.
Talay, C., Oxborrow, L. and Claxton, S., 2019. Types of relationship asymmetry and the implementation of sustainable product development in fashion supply chains. In: 2019 Global Fashion Management Conference at Paris, ESCP Europe, Paris, France, 11-14 July 2019.
Townsend, K., Prince, E., Escott, A. and Barker, G., 2019. From rag picking to riches: fashion education meets textile waste. In: Textile Intersections 2019, London, 12-14 September 2019.
Cooper, T., Oxborrow, L., Claxton, S., Goworek, H., Hill, H. and McLaren, A. (2017) New product development and testing strategies for clothing longevity, PLATE (Product Lifetimes and the Environment) conference, Delft, 8-10 November.
Claxton, S., Cooper, T., Goworek, H., Hill, H., McLaren, A. and Oxborrow, L., (2017) Pilling in knitwear: a clothing longevity problem beyond design, PLATE (Product Lifetimes and the Environment) conference, Delft, 8-10 November.
Cooper, T., Oxborrow, L., Claxton, S., Goworek, H., Hill, H. and McLaren, A. (2017) Clothing that lasts: developing and testing garments for longevity, ERSCP (European Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production) conference, Skiathos, Greece, 1-5 October.
Goworek, H., Hiller, A., Fisher, T., Cooper, T. and Woodward, S. (2015) Key factors influencing the sustainability impacts of purchase and post-purchase consumer decision-making, International Conference on Research in the Distributive Trades of the European Association for Education and Research in Commercial Distribution, Rennes, France, 1-3 July.
Goworek, H., Oxborrow, L., Claxton, S., Cooper, T., Hill, H. and McLaren, A. (2017). Facilitating Sustainable Business Models: The Case of Product Development in the Clothing Industry. In Reconnecting Management Research with the Disciplines, British Academy of Management conference, 5 - 7 September 2017. Warwick Business School, UK.
Oxborrow, L., Goworek, H., Claxton, S., Cooper, T., Hill, H. and McLaren, A. (2017). Managing Sustainability in the Fashion Business: Exploring Challenges in Product Development for Clothing Longevity. In 2017 Global Fashion Management Conference at Vienna Proceedings: 376-381 (July 6-9, 2017) https://doi.org/10.15444/GFMC2017.05.02.04
Goworek, H., McLaren, A., Claxton, S., Cooper, T.H., Hill, H. and Oxborrow, L. (2017). The relationship between consumer attitudes and product development for clothing longevity. Proceedings of The Circular Economy: Transitioning to Sustainability? CBiS Conference, 11 July, 2017. Coventry University, UK.
Claxton, S, and Kent, A., 2017. Design Management of Sustainable Fashion. Proceedings of EURAM: Making Knowledge Work Conference. 21-24 June 2017, Glasgow, UK: University of Strathclyde.
Goworek, H., McLaren, A., Cooper, T., Oxborrow, L., Hill, H. and Claxton, S. (2016) The impact of consumer attitudes on sustainable product development strategies: The case of clothing longevity, Thriving in Turbulent Times, British Academy of Management conference, Newcastle, 6-8 September.
McLaren, A., Goworek, H., Cooper, T., Oxborrow, L., and Hill, H., (2016). The effect of consumer attitudes on design for product longevity: The case of the fashion industry. In: P. Lloyd & E. Bohemia, eds., Proceedings of DRS2016: Design + Research + Society - Future-Focused Thinking, Volume 10, pp 3831-3846, DOI 10.21606/drs.2016.XXX
Oxborrow, L., and Claxton, S. (2016). Extending clothing lifetimes: an exploration of design and supply chain challenges. In: P. Lloyd & E. Bohemia, eds., Proceedings of DRS2016: Design + Research + Society - Future-Focused Thinking, Volume 10, pp 3815-3830, DOI 10.21606/drs.2016.XXX
Claxton, S., Cooper, T., Hill, H. and Holbrook, K. (2015). Opportunities and challenges of new product development and testing for longevity in clothing. In Product Lifetimes And The Environment (PLATE) Conference Proceedings, 17-19 June - Nottingham, UK. Edited by T. Cooper, N. Braithwaite, M. Moreno, G. Salvia. Published by Nottingham Trent University: CADBE. Pp. 62-68. ISBN 978-0-9576009-9-7.
Cooper, T., Hughes, M. and Claxton, S. (2015). From rag trade to retail: garment failure and the potential for sustainable fashion. In Product Lifetimes And The Environment (PLATE) Conference Proceedings, 17-19 June - Nottingham, UK. Edited by T. Cooper, N. Braithwaite, M. Moreno, G. Salvia. Published by Nottingham Trent University: CADBE. Pp. 73-80. ISBN 978-0-9576009-9-7.
McLaren, A., Oxborrow, L., Cooper, T., Hill, H. and Goworek, H. (2015). Clothing longevity perspectives: exploring consumer expectations, consumption and use. In Product Lifetimes And The Environment (PLATE) Conference Proceedings, 17-19 June - Nottingham, UK. Edited by T. Cooper, N. Braithwaite, M. Moreno, G. Salvia. Published by Nottingham Trent University: CADBE. Pp. 229-235. ISBN 978-0-9576009-9-7.
Oxborrow, L., Claxton, S., Cooper, T.H. and Hill, H. (2015). Product development and supply: help or hindrance to clothing longevity? In Product Lifetimes And The Environment (PLATE) Conference Proceedings, 17-19 June - Nottingham, UK. Edited by T. Cooper, N. Braithwaite, M. Moreno, G. Salvia. Published by Nottingham Trent University: CADBE. Pp. 264-269. ISBN 978-0-9576009-9-7.
More publications may be found by clicking on the names of individual members of the group