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14 August 2023

King's to help examine how environmental impact of fashion is measured

Dr Matteo Gallidabino, a forensic chemist based at King’s College London, will contribute to the project, which aims to help transform the fashion industry.

Fashion and shopping

King’s will contribute its expertise to a major collaborative project aiming to examine how the environmental impact of fashion is measured.

The project has been awarded almost £2 million, and will bring together a network of academic experts, manufacturers, major fashion brands and consumers. It is a key component of a three-part programme that seeks to transform the circular fashion and textiles sector.

Titled IMPACT+: Environmental Index Measures Promoting Assessment and Circular Transparency in Fashion, the project will be led by Dr Alana James of Northumbria University, with researchers from King’s, Northumbria University and Loughborough University contributing. Dr Matteo Gallidabino, a forensic chemist based in King’s Forensics specialising in the transfer and impact of microfibres, will offer his expertise in data science and computational modelling.

Using machine learning and other data analytics and statistical methods, Dr Gallidabino will help critically analyse the current tools and metrics used to measure the environmental impact of the textile industry. This will be used to propose and develop new models that can provide more holistic predictions of the environmental impact of textile and garment manufacturers.

Current methods to calculate the environmental impact of textile and garment industries have been criticised for focusing only on specific sections of the product value chain and being unclear about how sustainability indices are combined. With this project, we aim to build a greater level of accuracy and transparency in the environmental impact assessment, helping to develop a more sustainable fashion model.”

Dr Matteo Gallidabino, Lecturer in Forensic Chemistry, King's Forensics

The researchers will be joined by representatives from global fashion brands including Barbour, Montane, and ASOS; sustainable clothing companies Agogic and This is Unfolded; campaign groups Fashion Revolution and WRAP; and the Northern Clothing and Textile Network, Newcastle City Council and Newcastle Gateshead Initiative.

Dr Alana James’ vision to bring together both academic and industry experts will help ensure that a meaningful network will be established. This is truly a great opportunity to make a difference and I look forward to working with Dr James.”

Dr Matteo Gallidabino

The project, which lasts two years, has been awarded almost £2m of funding through a joint programme between the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and the UK’s national innovation agency Innovate UK.

The aim of the programme is to fulfil UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) ambition to transform the circular fashion and textiles sector. A core component of this mission is to fund Networks that brings together different communities to identify, prioritise and develop emerging research and knowledge exchange challenges.

The UK fashion and textiles industry contributes almost £20 billion to the economy and employs 500,000 people in the country. However, the fashion industry as a whole is also responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions.

The project is one of just three to be funded through UKRI’s circular fashion and textile programme: NetworkPlus.

Together, the three funded Networks mark the start of UKRI’s 10-year vision to transform the fashion and textiles sector, with a focus on future growth and innovation, with the aim of achieving net zero targets before 2050.

In this story

Matteo Gallidabino

Lecturer in Forensic Chemistry