Fashion House Burberry is to link up with the University of Leeds as part of a multi-million pound project to boost innovation in the industry.
The £5.4m project, to explore and develop digital technologies, is aimed at streamlining design processes, creating jobs, developing talents and driving growth in the industry.
The successful bid, one of nine nationwide, was announced by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
“These pioneering partnerships between industry and universities are providing a huge vote of confidence for a sector that is vital to the future prosperity of the UK,” said Prof Andrew Thompson, executive chairman.
Partners in the project include Yorkshire Textiles, the Royal College of Art, Burberry, Wools of New Zealand, Abraham Moon & Sons, The Textile Centre of Excellence, Camira and the British Fashion Council. It will be led by Stephen Russell, Professor of Textile Materials and Technology in the university’s School of Design.
“The vision is to transform the UK industry’s capacity for new product innovation, and to reduce lead times and waste,” he said. “Collaborative research and development by creative companies across the supply chain is fundamental to ensuring future growth, and harnessing UK design and manufacturing assets is central to our strategy.”
Yorkshire is leading the way when it comes to high value textiles, the university has said, with fabric made here in high demand and many manufacturers now exporting 65 per cent of what they produce.
The project will also see new fashion design programmes created for undergraduate and postgraduate students and researchers at Leeds.
Industrial apprenticeship programmes are also being developed to address a skills gap in the industry for designers who can combine their art, design, science and technology skills.