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About Us

Circular Textiles

Circular Textiles is brought to you by the Future Focus programme, offered by the University of Exeter in collaboration with Unlocking Potential (Cornwall College) and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Circular Textiles was created in recognition of the growing need for a more innovative, sustainable approach to clothing as an alternative to disposable ‘fast fashion’ and with an awareness of Cornwall’s unique position to deliver this.

Circular Textiles champions new product development, sustainable sourcing solutions, a reduced carbon footprint and an emphasis on keeping things local. Our vision is for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to lead the way in the production of innovative, high quality garments made with sustainable materials and created with respect for the environment.

University Of Exeter

The University of Exeter offers world-class education and research, business engagement and investment in pioneering technology and facilities. It has an excellent track-record for engagement in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, with a particular emphasis on innovation and the circular economy. In Cornwall the University of Exeter is based at Penryn Campus and The Knowledge Spa, Truro. The Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) at Penryn Campus sets the standard for cutting-edge research addressing real world environmental challenges – particularly around conservation, biodiversity and climate change.

With links to 200 academics studying the environment and sustainable futures, research carried out at the ESI has obvious relevance to textiles in Cornwall and beyond. Research areas include: wastewater remediation of textile dyes, sustainable pest management, aesthetics and affect in fast fashion, circular design thinking and closed loop supply chains, the role of inequality in environmental stewardship.

In a recent project, Designing a Sensibility for Sustainable Clothing, run by the ESI and sponsored by AHRC, participants were led through the lifecycle of clothing in 40 one-day workshops. The project began with a wool mill tour, then led to direct embodied experience of spinning, weaving, dyeing, making, mending and modifying clothes, with the intention of discovering if such direct experience can lead to an altered sensibility in the participants around sustainability in clothing. It is hoped this project will lead to further initiatives.

More Information can be found here.

Future Focus

Future Focus is an inspiring and practical programme created specifically for Cornwall-based businesses through a range of Innovation activities that enable them to consider and possibly be nudged toward the Circular Economy. Funded by ERDF, Future Focus is delivered by Unlocking Potential (Cornwall College) and the University of Exeter and aims to develop and connect businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, stimulating innovation and growth.

The Future Focus team connects businesses and academics, brokers relationships, facilitates discussions and helps to build long-lasting partnerships. Through the Future Focus programme, businesses in Cornwall have been able to access business support in relation to the textiles and fashion industry, via knowledge exchange and dedicated events.

Case Study

BJ Sherriff Protective Clothing for Beekeepers

BJ Sherriff designs and manufactures fine-quality protective clothing for beekeepers. This family-run business was founded in 1968 and is based in Cornwall. The BJ Sherriff brand known for innovative designs including the self-supporting bee hood is recognized internationally. All garments are made in Cornwall favouring locally-sourced materials.

‘Future Focus has been a driving force for us, providing inspiration, Eureka moments and wonderful contacts. Anything we’ve ever done with Future Focus has been brilliant!’

Angela Sherriff of BJ Sherriff


Wear It Well

Nearly 200 delegates attended the Wear It Well event run by Future Focus at Tregenna Castle on 3 May 2018, where they were invited to explore the future of the clothing industry and look at how technology and academic research is revolutionising the way garments are made and marketed. A morning of talks by experienced and inspiring figures in the textiles sector was followed by workshops led by expert facilitators including local business leaders and industry specialist academics from Falmouth and Exeter Combined Universities.