Dr Amy Twigger Holroyd is Associate Professor of Fashion and Sustainability in the School of Art & Design. She leads research projects at the intersection of fashion, making, design and sustainability. She also contributes to BA and MA teaching, supervises PhD students and is Chair of the Art, Architecture, Design and Humanities Research Ethics Committee.
After studying for a BA and MA in fashion and textile design, Amy launched her experimental knitwear label, Keep & Share, in 2004. She sold her knitwear nationally and internationally and received a number of awards, including the Crafts Council Development Award. Her work has been featured in many publications, from Vogue to Fashion Theory; in books including Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys by Kate Fletcher, The Culture of Knitting by Jo Turney, and Knitting: Fashion, Industry, Craft by Sandy Black; and in UK and international exhibitions.
Amy studied for a PhD at Birmingham City University from 2010 to 2013. Entitled Folk Fashion: Amateur Re-knitting as a Strategy for Sustainability, this work utilised a participatory workshop-based methodology to generate new insights about experiences of making, remaking and fashion. The research formed the basis of her first book, Folk Fashion: Understanding Homemade Clothes, published by I.B.Tauris in 2017.
From 2014 to 2016 Amy was a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, working on the AHRC-funded Design Routes project. This research explored how design can make a meaningful contribution in revitalising culturally significant designs, products and practices to make them relevant to the needs of people today. A co-edited book, Design Roots: Culturally Significant Designs, Products, and Practices, was published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2018.
Since joining NTU in 2016 Amy has co-edited a second book, Fashion Knitwear Design. The chapters were written by the team of specialists who deliver the university’s highly respected fashion knitwear design courses.
Amy’s inaugural lecture from January 2021 provides an overview of her work in fashion and sustainability over the past twenty years.
Amy’s research focuses on fashion transitions: the participatory exploration of alternative, open and plural fashion systems that respect the Earth’s capacity to support life.
From 2021 to 2023 she is undertaking a Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship, funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council. Her Fellowship project, Fashion Fictions, brings people together to generate, experience and reflect on engaging fictional visions of alternative fashion cultures and systems. The initiative takes fashion design from its usual commercial context to instead explore speculative scenarios with diverse groups of participants through written outlines, visual and material prototypes and ‘everyday dress’ projects.
Amy is Principal Investigator of Crafting the Commons, an AHRC-funded network interrogating connections between craft practices and ideas of the commons and commoning. The network has informed the development of We Are Commoners, a major touring exhibition by Craftspace. She also coordinates Stitching Together, a network of researchers, professional textile practitioners, project commissioners and textile enthusiasts that aims to foster critical dialogue around participatory textile making in research and practice. The network was funded by the AHRC from 2019 to 2021.
Amy’s ongoing initiative Reknit Revolution, which emerged from her PhD research, supports knitters to rework the items in their wardrobes. This work was showcased at a major solo exhibition at Rugby Museum & Art Gallery in 2017.
Amy is currently working on a co-authored book, Historical Perspectives on Sustainable Fashion: Inspiration for Change, to be published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2022.
Amy supervises six PhD students:
- Director of Studies: Sally Cooke, ‘Home clothes construction in the context of sustainable fashion: design strategies for promoting the development and application of basic sewing skills’, Midlands4 Cities PhD studentship (2019-2023)
- Director of Studies: Emily Rickard, ‘Exploring the use of creative, open-ended knitting as a form of journaling to record emotions, with consideration for mental well-being’, Midlands4Cities PhD studentship (2019-2023)
- Director of Studies: Bethan Pagett, 'Natural dyeing in contemporary craft cultures', NTU PhD studentship (2020-2023)
- Second supervisor: Elsa Ball, 'Negotiating fashionable identity through hair and the salon: implications for sustainability and fashion', Midlands4Cities PhD studentship (2020-2024)
- External supervisor: Selene States, 'A Suite of Changes: A Political Timeline of the "Pantsuit" 1919–1946', Bauhaus University Weimar (2019–2023)
- External supervisor: Iryna Kucher, ‘Mending Futures’, Designskolen Kolding (2020–2023)
- Member of AHRC Peer Review College (2019–)
- Treasurer, Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion (2019–)
- External examiner, PhD examinations (2019–)
- External examiner, MA Fashion Futures, London College of Fashion (2018–2022)
- External examiner, MA Textiles / MA Surface Pattern, University of Wales Trinity St David (2017–2021)
- Peer reviewer (journals): Craft Research / Fashion Practice / Journal of Textile Design, Research and Practice / Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education
- Peer reviewer (conferences): Research Through Design / Culture Costume and Dress / Cumulus
- Peer reviewer, Bloomsbury Academic book proposals
- Invited presentations since 2006 including Garment Stories and Sustainability: Past, Present and Future, University of York Annual Fashion Symposium / Tricky Design: Design Ethics for a Complex World, Design Museum, London / With For About: Art and Democracy, Heart of Glass, St Helens / Creative Networks lecture series, Leeds Arts University / Craft Futures seminar series, Northumbria University
- Member, Design Research Society (2010–)
Twigger Holroyd, A. (2017). Folk Fashion: Understanding Homemade Clothes. London: I.B.Tauris.
Twigger Holroyd, A. & Hill, H. (eds) (2019). Fashion Knitwear Design. Marlborough: Crowood Press.
Walker, S., Evans, M., Cassidy, T., Jung, J. & Twigger Holroyd, A. (eds) (2018). Design Roots: Culturally Significant Designs, Products, and Practices. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
Selected journal articles
Shercliff, E. & Twigger Holroyd, A. (2020). Stitching Together: Ethical dimensions and innovative approaches to participatory textile making (Introduction to guest-edited Stitching Together Special Issue: Part 2). Journal of Arts & Communities 11(1-2), pp.3–11.
Shercliff, E. & Twigger Holroyd, A. (2020). Stitching Together: Participatory textile making as an emerging methodological approach to research (Introduction to guest-edited Stitching Together Special Issue: Part 1). Journal of Arts & Communities 10(1-2), pp.5–18.
Twigger Holroyd, A. (2018). Reknit revolution: knitwear design for the domestic circular economy. Journal of Textile Design Research & Practice 6(1), pp.89–111.
Twigger Holroyd, A. (2018). Finding distinctiveness in the dustbin: engendering a sense of place through waste. The Journal of Resourcefulness 1, pp.70–9.
Twigger Holroyd, A., Cassidy, T., Evans, M. & Walker, S. (2017). Wrestling with tradition: revitalising the Orkney chair and other culturally significant crafts. Design & Culture 9(3), pp.283–99.
Twigger Holroyd, A. (2017). From stitch to society: a multi-level and participatory approach to design research. Design Issues 33(3), pp.11-24.
Selected book chapters
Twigger Holroyd, A. (2018). Forging new futures: cultural significance, revitalization, and authenticity. In: S. Walker, M. Evans, T. Cassidy, J. Jung & A. Twigger Holroyd (eds) Design Roots: Culturally Significant Designs, Products, and Practices. London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp.25-37.
Twigger Holroyd, A. (2018). Digital transformations, amateur making, and the revitalization of traditional textile crafts. In: S. Walker, M. Evans, T. Cassidy, J. Jung & A. Twigger Holroyd (eds) Design Roots: Culturally Significant Designs, Products, and Practices. London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp.291-303.
Twigger Holroyd, A. (2017). Making it mine: personalising clothes at home. In: I. Kuksa & T. Fisher (eds) Design for Personalisation. Farnham: Gower.
Twigger Holroyd, A. (2014). Openness. In: K. Fletcher & M. Tham (eds) Routledge Handbook of Sustainability and Fashion. London: Routledge, pp.253-61.
- fashion and sustainability
- speculation and fashion
- design and sustainability
- amateur making (mending, knitting, sewing)
- homemade clothes