Professor Rebecca Earley is a design researcher and award-winning team leader at University of the Arts London and is based at Chelsea College of Arts where she is Professor of Circular Design Futures.
Initially, she trained as a printed textile designer before creating her own fashion label, B.Earley, in 1995. Her prints and garments have been commissioned by the likes of Bjork and Damien Hirst. They are also in the collections of the V&A and the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.
More recently though, she has carved a global reputation as one of the leading thinkers around the need for fashion to become circular. Projects include HEREWEAR, which investigated how bio-based agricultural waste could be turned into material for locally-made clothing and TRASH2CASH that brought designers together with scientists to find ways to regenerate waste cotton and polyester. Not only that but she also co-founded World Circular Textiles Day in 2020.
In this episode we chat about: how she started using polyester and why it’s a problematic material; idealism versus pragmatism and transition rather than revolt; the value system we build around materials; discovering textile design by chance; empowering women through the education system; circularity’s relationship with the market; designing systems; the importance of people; and her love of wild swimming.
Find out more about Rebecca Earley