The Slow Textiles Group is an international collective. HQ is its place of origin, Textiles Hub London, UK.
The aim of the Slow Textiles Group is to push the boundaries of sustainable textiles design and related industries, including Agriculture, Waste, Chemical Engineering, Behavioural Science, Oceanic Sciences and Social Care, and record the resulting innovations, concepts, installations, garments and projects through publication, exhibition and a professional programme of events. It is a subscription-based membership group.
The enterprise originates from Slow Textiles’ Founding Director, Dr Emma Neuberg’s research into sustainable design systems whilst a research candidate at the Royal College of Art, an awardee of the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts Creative Pioneer Programme and a consultant at Textiles Environment Design at the University of the Arts, London.
“Slow Textiles Group members are cultural meaning creators,” says Neuberg. “Each one imbues fabric, clothing, images, systems, techniques and relationships with cultural meaning. This creates value and edge by being symbolic, insightful and eloquent and grounds people in a language that can be felt, talked about, shared, understood and owned.”
Clothing, apparel, fabrics and design exist in a cognisant, collective space, not some place of coincidence and plagiarism. For those who see only the zeitgeist this can seem radical.”
The Slow Textiles 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.
“By understanding textiles manufacture, design, cultural relevance, environmental footprint and semiotic meaning, more complex relationships arise and render textiles and their lifecycle systems less throwaway,” Neuberg adds.
Workshops, tutorials, books, seminars, film showings and symposia are a constant source of inspiration for the group and its members. Browse our photo archive:
Dr Emma Neuberg founded the Slow Textiles 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 community. Her vision for the future is progressive, integrative and global.
During a time of mounting university costs, cuts to student funding, textiles as a subject no longer taught in schools and Fast Fashion as global therapy, the Slow Textiles Group represents an enterprise that inspires, shares and teaches textiles design, making and systems that stimulate in-depth material and immaterial relationships, meaning and value.
From 1960s’ BIBA seamstresses to digital company directors, members of the Slow Textiles Group enjoy textiles and tactile materials for haptic exploration, social and cultural experience, quality of life and a sustainable wardrobe. They know the complexities of resource depletion, monoculture pressures, toxic externalities and social injustices and take a localized, grassroots approach to indicate and carve out diversified routes, alternatives and networks.
Neuberg believes that fabric created to a maker’s design is an extension of that maker’s psyche, cultural context and epistemology. As a designer herself running her own commercial practice, she knows this to be true with “every fibre of her being” and, in applying this as a foundational stone, all fabrics, structures and patterns made and discussed by the Slow Textiles 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 ‘invisible’ carcinogenic emissions such as phthalates emitted from a vinyl bag left in a car on a hot day.
One public space for the group’s work is Textiles Hub London, a textiles maker-space and franchise conducive to textile designing, making, sharing and dialogue that Neuberg set up in 2014, and online during events broadcast live via Google Hangout, Any Meeting and Facebook Live.
Slow Textiles Group events at Textiles Hub London offer an accessible space for conversations to air and blossom and for research and knowledge to embed and disseminate. Themed events range from My Nature to The Sustainable Design Tools Masterclass.