Slow Textiles Group is a global collective of designers, manufacturers, suppliers, artists and tutors. HQ is Textiles Hub London in West Hampstead, London, UK.
The aim of the Slow Textiles Group is to push the boundaries of textiles and related industries and record the resulting designs, garments, artefacts, concepts, installations and projects through publication, exhibition and pioneering events. It is a membership group working much like a co-operative where all members make up the group’s input and output.
The group’s ethos is founded upon a sustainable development model where investment in social, cultural, health and resource capital takes priority. The group’s theoretical approach is based upon the National Population Approach, Ecocide as Fifth Crime Against Peace and the Industrial Ecology model. The seed of the original idea grew from CEO, Dr Emma Neuberg’s research into sustainable design systems at the Royal College of Art, National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts and TED at Chelsea College of Art, London, UK. Two doctorates and several awards have already resulted from the work of the group.
“Slow Textiles Group members are cultural meaning creators,” says Emma. “Each one imbues fabric, design, pattern, clothing, images, ideas, systems, techniques and relationships with cultural meaning. This creates value and edge by being symbolic, insightful, earthy and eloquent and grounds people in a language that can be felt, talked about, shared, understood and owned.” Fashion, clothing, furnishing, fabrics and design exist in a cognizant, collective space, she adds, not some magical place of coincidence and plagiarism. By understanding fabric manufacture, design and meaning, more complex relationships arise and render textiles less throwaway.
Parties, workshops, meetings, tutorials, book launches, seminars, film showings and exhibitions have been a constant source of inspiration for the group, its members, friends and associates for many years. Here are some highlights…
Emma founded the group in 2009 in response to a demand for more reflective, theoretical and collaborative frameworks for creative design and textiles practice, professional development, educational and industry support, lifelong learning and inspiring community.
During a time of mounting university costs, cuts to student funding, textiles as a subject no longer taught in schools and Fast Fashion as spontaneous global therapy, the Slow Textiles Group represents a company that inspires, shares and teaches textile design, making and systems that stimulate in-depth material and immaterial relationships, meaning and value.
From 1960s’ BIBA seamstresses to digital company directors, Slow Textiles Group members and associates enjoy textiles and tactile materials for haptic exploration, social and cultural experience and quality of life. They know the difficulties of resource depletion, monoculture pressures, toxic externalities and social injustices and are taking a grassroots-based approach to indicate and carve out diversified routes and alternatives.
Emma believes that fabric created to a maker’s design is an extension of that maker’s psyche, cultural context and epistemology. In applying this belief as a foundational stone, all fabrics, structures and patterns made and discussed by the group are placed in a fresh and meaningful cultural context and conversation. The role of crafted practice is enormously important in integrating this value knowledge with respect to materials and product values, effects and affects at each stage of the material and immaterial lifecycle. (Examples of ‘immaterial’ may range from falling out of love with a coat to phthalates emitted from a vinyl beach bag left in a car on a hot day.)
One public space for this work is Textiles Hub London, a textiles makerspace and franchise conducive to textile designing, making, sharing and dialogue that Emma set up in 2014, and online during events broadcast live via Google Hangout, Any Meeting and Periscope. Slow Textiles Group events and workshops at Textiles Hub London offer an accessible space for conversations to air and blossom. Themed events range from My Floral Inspiration to The Sustainable Design Tools Masterclass.
Browse upcoming events or book a consultation with Emma. Emma is the CEO of Slow Textiles (the sustainable development B2B textiles consultancy) and its social enterprise off-shoots, Slow Textiles Group and Textiles Hub London. She runs her own art and design practices and is an examiner in the world-renowned School of Materials at the Royal College of Art, London. She enjoys several national awards and accolades including a lifelong fellowship of the Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Creative Pioneer Award from NESTA and Winner of the AI Global Media Influential Businesswoman Award for London Art & Design Business Leader 2016.