UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has unveiled a £6 million investment into the fashion and textile industry to help drive more sustainable practices.
The new funding will help three teams of researchers to build up data and knowledge surrounding the adoption of circular business models.
These teams include the Back to Baselines in Circular Fashion and Textiles Network, led by the University of Leeds; the Future Fibres Network, headed up by the University of Exeter; and the Impact+ Network, run by Northumbria University.
As a result, each organisation will receive £1.4 million.
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“The fashion industry makes a significant contribution to the UK,” Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) said.
“But, it also impacts the environment, including using water resources and causing emissions of greenhouse gases. We need to better understand the true impact.”
It added: “This investment will bring together industry experts and researchers in environmental science and fashion to embed sustainability in the fashion and textile industry.”
Commenting on the funding, the CEO of the British Fashion Council, Caroline Rush, stated: “The British fashion industry leads in creativity and its founders and entrepreneurs are leading innovators in their field.
“However, to responsibly grow businesses at a time of great change requires platforms, support and coordination.
“We look forward to working with industry and government to support the UK in retaining its reputation as creative leader in a global industry and to develop its ability to responsibly and collectively address how we accelerate to a leading Circular Fashion Eco-System in the UK.”
The move comes as the 2023 RetailX UK Fashion report revealed UK online fashion customers are among the keenest to shop sustainably and ethically.
Some 86% of UK fashion consumers want their clothes to be made ethically and 72% of them sustainably, with as many as 53% of them willing to pay more to see this happen.
According to the report, the move has not only shifted how fashion manufacturers, brands and retailers are approaching the clothing they offer, but it is also seeing customers looking towards re-using and reselling garments to meet both their ecological and ethical mores and fight the rising cost of living.
Meanwhile, around 77% of shoppers in Europe have revealed they are interested in buying sustainable luxury products, with 51% of them even willing to pay up to 10% extra for items sustainability made or shipped, new research has revealed.
According to the 2023 Europe Luxury Report, the Covid-19 pandemic gave shoppers time to consider their environmental impact, which resulted in a burgeoning interest in sustainability shoppers in Europe across 2020 and 2021.