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Our research in fashion and textile design explores innovative design concepts, garments, textiles, materials, accessories and systems that respond to the current world through digital fabrication technologies, traditional processes and critical thinking.
Our expertise includes textile construction, fibre, yarn and new materials development, textiles coloration, surface design, sustainable fashion systems, fashion design strategies, pattern-making, garment production and fashion communication.
Our design-led interdisciplinary research and development, exploring LED embedded circuitry through to laser cutting technologies, exemplify the research strategies that connect everyday clothing to the future of fashion. Often underpinned by sustainable initiatives, and responding to global societal and environmental issues, contemporary research and design practice brings new knowledge to the global fashion industry.
The study of fashion in popular culture examines the role of clothing in constructing material identity and in shaping personal and social space. It encompasses such diverse fields as film, comics, literature, music and the arts and is one of the principle ways in which we understand the zeitgeist at any given time. Fashion is a barometer by which taste, gender, sexuality and class are measured and relates to style, consumption, appearance and adornment across all societies and cultures.
Fashion design at Massey University is leading the way with sustainable fashion design research, in order to create more meaningful engagement with fashion. From zero-waste cutting to new fashion systems, our research responds to social, political and environmental issues of the contemporary world.
Design-led interdisciplinary research and development in textiles is focused on new textile-based materials and processes including work with wool, plant based fibres, biopolymers and natural dyes.
We have expertise and experience in textile construction, fibre, yarn and new materials development and performance, textiles coloration and surface design using both traditional processes and digital fabrication techniques, often leading to commercialisation. We have a strong emphasis on design for sustainability but also explore areas such as digitisation and animation of textile pattern, textile history and the relationship between drawing and textiles.
Find programmes with a research element, including the PhD.
Search our staff database for an expert or area of expertise.
Dynamic Pattern is a digital animation that explores and illustrates the formation of the ogival repeat pattern network through the use of rotation, a repeat design method common to traditional block printing. It seeks to carry on the conversation that has evolved with successive printing processes into and beyond digital textile printing, exploring alternative media and technologies, and taking pattern beyond two dimensions.
Driven by the rising need to house displaced peoples with temporary shelters, Sue Prescott’s Global Nomad addresses aspects of social need through fashion. Global Nomad is a temporary space for the body that transforms into a garment through the act of dressing. The inhabitant emerges from the temporary dwelling, dressing in the individual components to form layers of clothing, until the space disappears into a wearable outfit. The five component parts are made from industry surplus merino fabrics and yarns, and include dwelling, lamp, sleeping mat, pillow and sleeping bag.
Using the distinctively cultural form of clothing to inquire about the human and non-human animal divide, Catherine Bagnall’s research puts into practice a ‘becoming other’ as a strategy to engage and blur boundaries with our fellow non-human creatures and the environment.
This concern is explored through experimental performance works and scholarly writing, which provides analysis, narrative and documentation of the performance works. This tests the philosophical concepts in the making and wearing of animal-like artefacts and costumes and in walks through the wilderness or urban fabric.
Laser Enhanced Biotechnology for Textile Design (LEBIOTEX) was a collaborative research project with De Montfort University and Loughborough University. The project was led by Professor Jinsong Shen (De Montfort University, UK) and Dr Faith Kane (Massey University, NZ). The project explored new sustainable creative opportunities for textile coloration and surface design using enzyme and laser technologies. The project was supported by industrial project partners Camira Fabrics, Speedo and Teresa Green Design.
Make/Use brought together fashion, textile, spatial, industrial and communication design expertise to address waste in the fashion industry, developing an open source system of customisable zero waste patterns to help users make and modify their own clothes. The project and website went live with a month-long exhibition at Objectspace Gallery that included a pop-up studio, design residencies and a series of public workshops.
Space Between is a social initiative by Massey University's School of Design which addresses the wastefulness of the current textile/clothing system, using design thinking. Space Between works collaboratively with private and not-for-profit partners to develop a new kind of sustainable fashion system, one that can create value for people, planet and profit.
This ground-breaking research examined the contribution of design to New Zealand’s economy. In a comprehensive report published in 2017 it showed that during the last year alone design contributed $10.1b to New Zealand’s GDP (approximately 4.2%), putting it ahead of our agricultural industry.
The central focus of this design research is alternative apparel pattern methods. OneP-active is a practice-based research project led by Deb Cumming and Nina Weaver. Their work investigates the design development of one-piece pattern design through adaptive drape and digital technologies to advance apparel design and manufacturing processes. The project includes activewear and outerwear pattern cutting that enhances movement, fit and comfort.
See some of our student research in fashion and textile design at Massey.
Georgia’s PhD research focuses on Doc Martens and their relationship to female identity and femininity. Her work explores themes of subculture, alternative fashions, self-identification and what it means to be a woman on both a personal and public platform, as well as looking at the marketing of Doc Martens and how their brand has been built and sold to women.Georgia Mackay
Doctor of Philosophy
Magdalena’s PhD research through design practice is a conceptual proposal for a mass-produced, multipurpose, transformable shoe to satisfy the lifestyle requirements of contemporary nomads. It examines the current trend of making a living that is completely independent of geographic coordinates, often referred to as ‘digital nomadism’ (DN). The aim of this research is to design shoes that would be easy to pack and also transform to support a variety of activities, occasions and purposes, to benefit a dynamic or unpredictable lifestyle.Magdalena Karasinska
Doctor of Philosophy
Vanessa’s PhD research focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary fashion design practice, contextualising fashion’s expansion and evolution beyond the catwalk. She explores how fashion designers are also spatial designers, architects, and filmmakers; or how they may work within creative collectives to create fashion objects, experiences, and ideas that elevate criticality and concept. These concepts are often related to sustainability, technological advancement, and socio-cultural critique.Vanessa Gerrie
Doctor of Philosophy