18 November 2019

BFTT at the British Textile Biennial

Our Research Fellow Dr Lipi Begum participated in the roundtable discussion ‘The Fabric of Our Times’, which was organised by Creative Lancashire jointly with BFTT, at the inaugural British Textile Biennial in Blackburn Museum and Arts Gallery.

Panel members and an audience of over 50 people who raised concerns across the industry included: Beverley Lamey, University of Central Lancashire; Brant RichardsCo-founder of HebTroCo – British manufacturers of trousers based in Hebden Bridge started through Kickstarter; Danielle Slinger, Course Coordinator of Textiles & Fashion at Blackburn College;  Denise Pearson, Managing Director of Deni-Deni – a small family business based in Rossendale Valley that makes leather goods and furnishings for the fashion industry; Glenda Brindle from Creative Lancashire Board; Paige Earlam from Plexus Cotton – a global agri-business in cotton; Rajan Soond from Blackburn CollegeSandra Dartnell, Partnership Manager at Creative & Cultural SkillsSarah LloydHead of Design at Panaz – a global supplier of decorative fabrics for hospitality and healthcare, Suzanne Jennions from Try & Lilly and chaired by Gemma Potter from Transformation North West – a training programme that applies R&D to maximise new products and services in fashion.

In her speech, Lipi pointed out how the fashion, textiles and technology industry lacks the specific data and feedback to attract Research and Development (R&D) investment for business growth and job opportunities. BFTT is currently running a survey to tackle this challenge by opening it to the industry across the UK.

Lipi also shared some of the early findings such as knowledge of small-scale sub-sectors that exist within the FTT industry, vital elements for growth required by SMEs, skills and training needed and challenges and opportunities that the sector might see in the next decade. These findings will be valuable to industry (SMEs, large-scale companies and government) to initiate R&D opportunities.

The survey is still open and you are welcome to participate and make sure that your voice is also heard.

We thank everyone who contributed to the discussion and Ed Matthews-Gentle at Creative Lancashire for organising this event.