International conference to support the Scottish textile sector

International conference to support the Scottish textile sector

Textile designers and industry experts from across Scotland will come together to embrace new technologies at an international augmented fashion conference hosted by Robert Gordon University (RGU) from Wednesday 16th to Friday 18th November.

The conference is organized by a multidisciplinary team leading an international project called “Augmented Fashion”, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UKRI. The team includes researchers in computer science, fashion and textiles, and creative and cultural affairs from RGU and Donghua University, Shanghai, China, who work together to address skills gaps and foster innovative and sustainable practices in creative industries in the UK and China.

ICAF 22 kicks off at noon on Wednesday November 16 at RGU’s Sir Ian Wood Building with a free-to-view exhibit available throughout the conference. The following two days of the conference will be broadcast live for the remainder of the event with free access for all.

Visitors to the exhibition will have the chance to explore a virtual tour of the Harris Tweed Hebrides Mill, led by Glasgow-based design collective Lateral North. There will also be networking opportunities and immersive technology demonstrations by leading figures from Scotland’s textile and fashion industry who will show the role that digital skills, computer coding and new technologies play in craft practices.

RGU scholars Dr. Karen Cross from the School of Creative and Cultural Business, Dr. Yang Jiang, senior lecturer in digital media from the School of Computing, and Josie Steed, senior lecturer in design at Gray’s and first female member from Aberdeen Tailor’s Incorporation, will also host an interactive presentation titled “Connected Threads: Telling Tales of Engagement”, to highlight the role that immersive technologies offer for Scottish heritage fashion.

Beth Davidson, Gray's alumnus and winner of the 2022 RGU Principal's Award for Design, with her award-winning clothing range,

Josie Steed explains further: “There are only a handful of traditional factories left in Scotland, but there is a resurgence of international interest in textiles made in Scotland. It is exciting to see heritage brands such as Johnstons of Elgin, Montrose Rope and Sail and Harris Tweed Hebrides as well as newer business ventures such as Prickly Thistle doing so well in the global market. It is therefore vital that we continue to work with industry in Scotland to support their aspirations for innovation and sustainable working practices.

“Over the past four years, RGU has worked with a range of businesses across Scotland, including Harris Tweed Hebrides and Montrose Rope & Sail through knowledge partnership initiatives to explore opportunities for improve their brands through strategic innovation.

“The pandemic and alarming climate change have refocused attention on the need to make the textile sector more sustainable and there are huge opportunities in the North East to harness new technologies. Immersive technologies are increasingly used as powerful digital tools to create interactive consumer experiences and it is essential that we reflect on their potential and the opportunities they offer to the sustainable global fashion and textile industry. . “

Beth Davidson, Gray’s alumnus and winner of the 2022 RGU Principal’s Award for Design, and creator of the award-winning “Outer Shell” clothing line, will also host a demonstration at the event to highlight how augmented reality technologies can improve the ‘client experience. and to showcase its collection of virtual “wearables”, which allow customers to try on products from the comfort of their homes.

Beth Davidson, Gray’s former student and based in Edinburgh, said: “ICAF is an exciting milestone for the fashion industry in Scotland and beyond, it’s a great opportunity to hear from experts in their field and learn how a multidisciplinary approach could benefit the industry. Studying at Gray’s gave me the chance to experiment with different techniques and processes where I learned to think about fashion design in a new way from a sustainability perspective and where traditional methods of fashion visualization could be challenged. in question.

“Design context is so important to consumer engagement with a product. The more connected a consumer feels to that garment, the more likely they are to appreciate it and the sustainable practices behind its creation. Consumer expectations vis As brands evolve, the ethical consumer values ​​authenticity and transparency as much as aesthetics. New digital technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality could really help bridge this gap between consumer and the designer, realizing the meaning and story of a garment in a much more interactive and immersive way than ever before.

The rest of the conference will be streamed live online and will include panel discussions from industry peers, experts and consumers as they explore the opportunities that immersive technologies offer the Scottish fashion industry and textiles.

Registration is required to attend the event. For more information, click here.

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