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Amy Twigger Holroyd

Amy Twigger Holroyd

Associate Professor

Nottingham School of Art & Design

Staff Group(s)
Fashion, knitwear and textile design


Dr Amy Twigger Holroyd is Associate Professor of Fashion and Sustainability in the School of Art & Design. Through design-led participatory research, she explores plural possibilities for post-growth fashion systems: alternative ways of living with our clothes that meet our fundamental human needs and respect ecological limits. Amy also contributes to BA and MA teaching, supervises PhD students and is Chair of the Art, Architecture, Design and Humanities Research Ethics Committee.

Career overview

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 Clothespublished by I.B.Tauris in 2017. The practical side of the project developed into Reknit Revolution, an initiative that 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.

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.

Soon after joining NTU in 2016 Amy 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.

Research areas

Through design-led participatory research, Amy explores plural possibilities for post-growth fashion systems: alternative ways of living with our clothes that meet our fundamental human needs and respect ecological limits.

The main vehicle for this research is her Fashion Fictions project, which brings people together to imagine, explore and enact alternative fashion worlds as an unconventional route to real-world change. Amy founded the project in 2020 and it has already involved thousands of participants across six continents. Fashion Fictions was funded by a Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship from the Arts & Humanities Research Council from 2021–23. A book exploring common themes within the diverse fictional visions, Fashion Fictions: Imagining Sustainable Worlds, is currently under contract for Bloomsbury Academic.

Other activities support the development of Amy’s key interests. In 2022–2023, for example, she ran a Degrowth Discussion Series for research and teaching colleagues in the Fashion, Textiles and Knitwear Design department at Nottingham School of Art & Design. The co-authored book Historical Perspectives on Sustainable Fashion: Inspiration for Change (Bloomsbury Academic, 2023) enabled her to consider the use of historical precedents to inform future sustainability transitions. She is a board member and treasurer of the Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion, an international organisation working for systems change in fashion.

Amy has a particular interest in commons and commoning, which dates back to her investigation of the ‘fashion commons’ in her doctoral work. This interest was enhanced through leadership of Crafting the Commons, an AHRC-funded network interrogating connections between craft practices and ideas of the commons active from 2019 to 2021. The network informed the development of We Are Commoners, a major touring exhibition by Craftspace in 2021–22.

Another interest is participatory textile making as a means of research. Amy collaborates with Dr Emma Shercliff to coordinate Stitching Together, a network 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 supervises six PhD students:

  • Director of Studies: Sally Cooke, ‘Material Encounters: fashion sustainability examined through beginners’ experiences of learning to sew clothes at home’, 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 (2019–2024)
  • External supervisor: Iryna Kucher, ‘Mending Futures’, Designskolen Kolding (2020–2023)

External activity

  • Member of AHRC Peer Review College (2019–)
  • External examiner, PhD examinations (2019–)
  • External examiner, MA Fashion Futures, London College of Fashion (2018–2023)
  • 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

Sponsors and collaborators



Twigger Holroyd, A., Gordon, J. F. & Hill, C. (2023). Historical Perspectives on Sustainable Fashion: Inspiration for Change (second edition). London: Bloomsbury.

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., 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.

See all of Amy Twigger Holroyd 's publications...

Press expertise

  • fashion and sustainability
  • speculation and fashion
  • design and sustainability
  • amateur making (mending, knitting, sewing)
  • homemade clothes