Projects circular fashion

Read more about our projects

Since the academic year 2017-2018, WUR students have been working on questions such as: What new, sustainable materials can we develop for the textile industry? What is an ideal, fair, clean and sustainable fashion system? How does this relate to the behaviour of consumers and new business models? Student guidance is provided by WUR researchers, designers, experts from the industry and ArtEZ Centre of Expertise Future Makers.

Together with ArtEZ we developed the research project The Future of Living Materials (TFoLM); the results of the first five TFoLM studies were exhibited during the first edition of State of Fashion (June-July 2018), during the celebration of 100 Years WUR (September-October 2018) and during Dutch Design Week in October 2018.

Creating textile from flower waste: replacing the polluting textile industry with flower textile

Creating textile from flower waste:In this ACT project students are challenged to conduct a study into the development of a sustainable flower textile. Currently flowers are only produced for one purpose, being beautiful inside our home. Sadly flowers only last two weeks and are quickly discarded. By using this flower waste, they become a replacement for the current, very problematic, cotton textile production. The commissioner Jessica Rijkers is a graduate student at the Willem de Kooning Academie Rotterdam. She wants to reframe the current production system and searches for new production methods that will cut back the impact of fashion industry on our environment.

Period: May – July 2019

Designer involved: Jessica Rijkers

Jellyfish: From nuisance to innovative product applications - Research into the jellyfish tissue culture and biodegradable coating

The aim of the ACT project is to obtain expertise in order to grow a larger surface of jellyfish material with a protecting biodegradable coating and improved properties of the materials like flexibility. The commissioner Charlotte van Alem is a designer which conducts art & design research about how Jellyfish can be processed into sustainable materials. Also referred to as the Medusae-Project. This project came into existence as Charlotte became aware of the consequences of the growing number of jellyfish that cause nuisance and she wondered whether we could actually use the Jellyfish material. The ACT-team is asked to provide scientific support on the possibilities of growing a larger surface of jellyfish material with improved properties and a protecting biodegradable coating.

Period: May – July 2019

Commissioners: Charlotte van Alem and Dr. Jeroen van den Eijnde, ArtEZ University of the Arts

Project: Fashion collection Marinero inspired by the sea: using sea weed to produce usable fibers

In this ACT project students are asked to research how to produce and process sea related natural materials as sea weed into usable fibers. The commissioners’ vision is to design a new kind of production system which results in into adaptive garments that grow with us individually. In addition to that, this production system strives for sustainability by using recycled plastic waste from the sea and by using sea based materials instead of traditional land based materials as cotton. Topics as production and harvesting of sea based materials, processing sea related natural materials into fibers and consequences of using sea based materials for fashion industry will be addressed in the project.

Period: May – July 2019

Designer involved: Jef Montes, Studio Adaptive Skins

Fashion Made in Holland II

Within the course Environmental Project Studies a team of students work on the project “Local Fashion: the environmental effects of re-establishing clothing industry in the Netherlands”. At the moment fair made fashion and other products are already very common and are part of the retail offer. These products are mainly produced outside of the Netherlands. There is little awareness among consumers for fair made and local produced fashion in The Netherlands. The team researches the positive environmental effects of fair made produced fashion in Holland. How an increase in purchases of local made clothing by 1% can lead to a saving in transport/ CO2 emissions, less overproduction of clothes and due to that less incinerations of redundant clothes.

Period: March- July 2019

Commissioner involved: Fashion Made in Holland

Recycling and end-of-life strategies for textiles

The aim of this research project is to develop improved and new strategies for the safe reuse and recycling of carbon-based materials; textile and composite materials. Within the project it is studied which technological routes offer the best potential for the development of recyclable/circular materials (sorting, recycling, redesign, material development). Lessons learned from paper and plastic recycling will be used to tackle textile recycling including technical challenges and solutions, consumer perception and behavior and safety and risks issues.

Period: January – December 2019

Contact person: Paulien Harmsen, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research

Local linen

This ACT project is about making a transition towards local linen thereby exploring the economic and environmental conditions for locally cultivated flax. This assignment ties in with ‘The Linen Project’, a long term multi-disciplinary research project within the Ecosystems research area of studies within “Fashion Held in Common”, the new curriculum of the ArtEZ MA Fashion Design that started in September 2018. Within the project we are looking at how we can revive the local production of linen and linen products in the Netherlands in a sustainable way. We ask ourselves how we can reconnect to the deep transformative human values of fashion and design by starting to actually grow our own raw materials again. The end-report contains advice on how sustainable farming practices of fiber flax production could be introduced in the region of Gelderland. This advice includes the mapping of suitable areas for flax cultivation and a choice for suitable fiber flax varieties.

Commissioner: Mark van Vorstenbos, ArtEZ University of the Arts

Period: January – March 2019

Bone porcelain

In this ACT project we explore bone porcelain as indicator of animal welfare thereby exploring the relationship between animal living conditions, bone quality and porcelain strength. bone chinaImportant is to understand why the quality of organic animal bone might result in a better quality of bone china and what this quality says about the quality of life of the animal.

Commissioners: Studio Nienke Hoogvliet and Dr. Jeroen van den Eijnde, ArtEZ University of the Arts

Period: March – May 2019

Consumer and blogger strategies to change the fashion system

This MSc thesis project focuses on political consumerism, or ‘’voting with your dollar’’, which is a way for consumers to have an influence on the current fashion system. Sustainable clothing consumers in The Netherlands aim to change the fashion system by avoiding certain stores (boycotting) and supporting certain stores (buycotting). Bloggers use the discursive strategy of blogging without being too ‘’preachy’’. The results of this research contribute to the holistic understanding of the behaviour of sustainable consumers, and give insights in the theory of political consumerism.

Period: September 2018 – March 2019

The role of triple helix in the Dutch Circular Textile Valley

This MSc thesis project studies the role of business, government and knowledge institutions in the creation of regional hubs within the Dutch Circular Textile Valley (DCTV). As an analytical model the triple helix model is often used to explore the roles of different stakeholders in innovation processes. The project specifically focuses on the roles of stakeholders in the DCTV Hub in the region of Gelderland, such as companies, local and provincial government and knowledge institutions such as ArtEZ University of the Arts and Wageningen University & Research.

Period: September 2018 – April 2019

Living Colors: Naturally produced pigments for the textile industry

In this ACT project students are asked to explore which natural pigments can be extracted/produced by plants, algae and microorganism and to which extent this is feasible in relation to the fashion industry. Students are invited to research the potential of these ‘living colors’ for the transition to a more sustainable fashion system. Possibilities are researched to create a new color palette and a new visual aesthetics through sustainable biodesign and upcyling colors.

Period: March – May 2018

Designers involved: Ilfa Siebenhaar & Laura Luchtman

3D printed clothes from biodegradable waste - the future?

Cellulose – a substance that can be found in many natural fibres – can be used as raw material for sustainable textiles. Five Master students (of degree programmes such as Plant Biotechnology and Development Studies) investigated which waste streams yield the most cellulose, including sugar beet leaves and stems as well as old paper. Subsequently, they looked at how cellulose can be processed (sustainably) into textiles and what the quality of this end-material is. They also interviewed consumers: Would you wear clothing made of biodegradable waste? The advice: "Engage the consumer in the story!"

Period: September - October 2017

Designers involved: Tjeerd Veenhoven, Lilian van Daal, and Eric Klarenbeek

Oranges in your shoe - leather from fruit waste

The process of producing conventional leather is not sustainable due to the high pollution and use of the carcinogen chromium. In order to research the possibilities of fruit leather, two important elements were investigated: (1) analyzing the technical and production feasibility of producing fruit leather, which included an overview of feasible plant waste as the potential natural materials and layer structure within a new compacted system; and (2) analyzing the marketability, which included an overview of consumer acceptance and likelihood of purchasing.

Period: January – March 2018

Designers involved: Luc Aarts & Tjeerd Veenhoven

Linked Data: Collaboration enabler across the circular economy?

The aim of this project was to investigate the use of semantic web technologies to increase collaboration across the Circular Economy. The investigation focused on developing an approach for the conversion of material passports into Linked Data representations. Three scenarios were developed: for food, buildings and fashion. Results indicate that actors and products can be connected and meaningful answers can be obtained for circular collaboration patterns. Expected users of this data model are: umbrella organizations and governments wishing to accelerate the Circular Economy, businesses and consumers wishing to find circular trade partnerships.

Period: May – November 2017

Circular Fashion in Indonesia

In his Master’s thesis, a student in Management Studies investigated the best practices for a circular fashion industry in Indonesia. The fashion industry in Indonesia is currently focusing on themes like water, security and alternative biodegradable materials. The Indonesian Fast Forward programme’s vision of the future is to create a fashion industry in which creativity, commerce and the environment are on par with each other. This thesis project included a comparative case study of the 17 main companies in the field of circularity in fashion in Indonesia. The result was that collaboration and transparency are key themes for the sector to develop to the next level of circularity.

Period: September 2017 – March 2018

Sustainable fashion: A quantitative analysis of consumers' purchase behaviour

A MSc student in Marketing & Consumer Behaviour wrote her thesis on potential strategies to positively influence Dutch students’ purchase behaviour of sustainable clothes. In two consecutive quantitative studies a total of 308 students were reached. The results showed a positive relationship between the attitude, perceived norm, personal agency and perceived customer value. The thesis contributes to previous studies by shedding light on consumers’ purchase behaviour of sustainable clothes.

Period: March 2017 – January 2018

SOFE: Sustainable & Social Fashion Enterprise

The Social & Sustainable Fashion Enterprise (SOFE) is a European-funded training programme in which a positive impact on the environment and people is key and which provides fashion-entrepreneurs with skills and a network.

Website: http://www.sofehub.eu/

Rebound effects in circular fashion

This MSc thesis project investigates the phenomenon of rebound in relation to the Circular Economy (CE) through qualitative inquiry. The rebound effect, known originally from the energy efficiency literature, occurs when improvements in efficiency or other technological innovations fail to deliver on their environmental promise due to (behavioral) economic mechanisms. The main findings include realizations about the low to nonexistent awareness of this effect amongst organizations, and the identification of specific and general instances of rebound effects in the fashion industry.

Period: September 2018 – March 2019

(re)Made in Amsterdam: creating textiles from waste streams

This MSc thesis project studies opportunities of local production networks for the textile- and apparel industry in the Amsterdam metropolitan region, based on circular economy principles. The potential for local waste to be converted into wearable fibers and textiles will be explored. Additionally, possibilities for value chain alternatives that could close the material flow whilst providing circular textiles will be investigated.

Period: November 2018 – June 2019

Absorptive capacity in the textile sector

This MSc thesis project explores opportunities for inter-organizational learning between SME’s and multinationals in the fashion industry. As a mature industry the fashion industry currently experiences lock-in; an inability to adopt to change. External pressures like global warming and rising criticism from consumers make that actors in the textile industry need to reorganize themselves. Start-ups, SMEs and corporates are starting inter-firm innovation collaborations. The project investigates how they learn from each other and what they learn to become more explorative, dynamic and adoptive to external changes.

Period: September 2018 – April 2019

Fibre hemp: in search of ecological fashionable textiles

Hemp fibre crop has the potential to provide strong and attractive fibres to produce different fashionable fabrics. The main research question in this ACT project was: What are the most promising combinations of production and technologies yielding the ultimate fibre and quality for the textile industry in an ecological way? The project reviewed the current state of the art in post-harvest crop processing and bio-refining of hemp crop, taking into account the environmental impact and economic feasibility of the various routes. The team provided a review report and presented the results with recommendations to selected stakeholders.

Period: March – May 2018

Inspired by nature: Biomimicry in fashion

In this project the relationship between biomimicry and sustainable principles for applications in the field of fashion, textiles and design was explored. Literature research complemented with interviews disclosed the potential of biomimicry in the fashion industry. Findings showed five examples of biomimicry in fashion and five potential innovations of applying biomimicry to textiles. One novel opportunity was explored in-depth: the ability of the Chinese juniper tree to catch particulate matter through its epicuticular wax structure.

Period: January – March 2018

Textile as Living Skin

In addition to cellulose, mycelium, algae, and kombucha are also interesting sustainable raw materials for textile and interior design. Forty Bachelor and Master students of different degree programmes participated in the "Circular Economy: Theory and Practice” course in which they investigated how to use the Cradle to Cradle perspective for a transition to a circular fashion system. The abovementioned raw materials – and the impact that clothing made from these materials might have on personal identity – were the focus of this project.

Period: November - December 2017

Designers and entrepreneurs involved: Aniela Hoitink, Emma van der Leest, and Iris Houthoff

Fashion Made in Holland

Four Bachelor students of Management Studies are writing their Bachelor thesis for Fashion Made in Holland (FMIH). FMIH's goal is to revive the Dutch fashion industry. Dutch designers are very well-known in the world, but in the past decades, we have outsourced the production of clothing to other countries. Nowadays an average piece of clothing travels 1900km before it arrives in the hands of the consumer. At the same time, fashion academy graduates often cannot find a job. FMIH wants to stimulate local production and employment and decrease the environmental impact.

Period: November 2017 – January 2018

Website: http://www.fashionmadeinholland.nl/

Circular fashion in The Netherlands: Discourse & practice

For her Master’s thesis in International relations, a student is using ethnographic research to investigate how circularity is evolving in both “practices” and “discourses” within the Dutch fashion industry. Questions are: Who are the leading actors and why? What stories do they tell each other and, in doing so, what discourses are created? What “best practices” can we define and are there any tensions between the discourses and practices?

Period: November 2017 – April 2018

"Get funky: start wearing fungi"

Would you wear a dress made of mould or shoes made of fruit leather? How can you convince consumers to buy sustainable clothes? Bachelor students of the degree programmes Communication Sciences and Consumer Studies developed behavioural change campaigns in which they used persuasive techniques to inspire consumers to buy circular fashion.

Period: November - December 2017

Mylium: mushroom leather

The start-up Mylium founded by biotechnologist Iris Houthoff explores opportunities to create a sustainable alternative to leather and provide additional revenue streams for mushroom growers.

Website: http://www.mylium.nl/

Circular Economy Student Hub

Next to research and teaching projects, we organize events together with the Circular Economy Student Hub. Please check their

for an overview of what we have done in the past and for opportunities to get engaged!