Prof. Kay Politowicz

As Co-Founder of Textiles Environment Design (TED) based at Chelsea College of Arts, Kay has made a contribution to current developments in sustainability and textile design. In her Emeritus role, she continues explore strategies for design innovation and product improvement from a sustainability agenda, to develop interconnected design thinking for new products. Kay builds models to connect the research themes across the taught curriculum in the BA, and MA Textile Design Courses, which contributes to both the research culture and emerging design community at a local and international level.


Research Interests


Kay is concerned with practice-based research. She co-developed TED’s ‘The TEN’ sustainable strategies, with Rebecca Earley, to educate and inspire users to make more informed and innovative decisions. She is currently investigating the system of producing of low-cost clothing in high volumes that encourages disposability - and, as a consequence, environmental and social damage. Her focus is on the design challenge of transforming the material cycle at production, use and recovery stages, to offer innovation for sustainable product loops.


Current Research Projects

MISTRA Future Fashion, Phase II (2015 - 2019)


Key Expertise

design, innovation, textiles, strategies, closed & open loops


Most Recent Published Work


Publications & Conferences

  • (2015) Earley, R. et al. The Textile Toolbox: New Design Thinking, Materials and Processes for Sustainable Textiles in a Fashion Context: MISTRA End of Award Report, Sweden.
  • (2013) Earley, R & Politowicz, K. The TEN: A Tool for Narrative Prototypes. In: Wilson, M. & van Ruiten, S. Handbook for Artistic Research Education. Amsterdam, Dublin, Gothenburg: DIT/GradCAM and ELIA
  • (2013) Earley, R & Politowicz, K. ‘We Shape Our Tools, Then They Shape Us’. Cumulus. Research Through Design, Newcastle: University of Northumbria
  • Politowicz K (2011), "We Cannot Afford Cheap Things": Teaching, Research and Enterprise , Towards Sustainability in the Fashion Industry Conference, KEA/Centre for Sustainable Fashion, Copenhagen
  • Politowicz K (2011), TED’s TEN Sustainable Design Strategies, Research Seminar with VF Corp., Textile Futures Research Centre (TFRC)
  • Politowicz K (2010), Making the Future Materialise: from Training to Industry, Heritage at Work, Museo del Tessuto, Prato, Italy
  • Politowicz K (2010), Shared Strategies, Art & Design Research & Development Day, University of Bolton, Bolton
  • Politowicz K (2010), TED: Textiles Environment Design, National Research Event for PhD Students , Assoc. Fashion & Textiles Course (FTC), London
  • Earley R. and Politowicz K (2010), Interconnected Design Thinking, Green Lab, Weissensee Kunsthochschule, Berlin


Exhibition Artefacts

  • (2014-2015) Textile Toolbox, online showcase for Mistra Future Fashion. Touring exhibition: London, Glasgow, Copenhagen, New York, Borås, Uppsala, Falmouth


Educational Roles

  • (Ongoing): Chelsea BA & MA Textile Design
  • (2011-2014) Visiting Professor at Konstfack, University College of Arts Crafts and Design, Stockholm, Sweden, as part of the MISTRA Consortium delivery. To design and deliver Electives across departments at MA level.
  • (2009-12) External Examiner, MA Textile Design. Royal College of Art, London


Professional Roles

  • (2015) Member of judging panel: Materials Innovation, Arts Foundation Awards.
  • (July 2009 – ongoing) Elected to Texprint Council UK.
  • (2011) Co-presented with Rebecca Earley, VF Corp Senior Executives Retreat VF Corp, MIT Media Lab, Boston, USA.
Politowicz Kay

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