Lead Institution:  University of Leeds
Project Team: Dr Ningtao Mao (Leeds), Dr He Wang (Leeds), Dr Zhiqiang Zhang (Leeds) and Laura Finnigan (Burberry)
Project Duration: 12 months (January 2018 – December 2018)

Research Challenge

UK Fashion and textile industries contribute £26 billion to the UK economy, and accounts for 2.8% of total employment. Fashion and textile industry make progresses relying on the combination of the creative design, technological innovation and mass manufacture, as well as modern consumer communication and marketing. While fashion is evaluated by consumer subjective sensory feeling, currently there is no tool and method available to characterise objective tactile properties of their component fabric materials throughout the fashion supply chain. Thus there are two major gaps between consumer subjective evaluation of garments and objective evaluation of garment and fabrics, feedback of consumer experience (e.g., touch comfort and draping ) of any fashion clothing could only be described using vague words and subjective ratings rather than being evaluated using objective scientific data, those vague feedback has little help to guide engineering design of fabrics and garments; Computing simulation of clothing used in online shopping neither links with the formability of component fabric materials, nor takes into consideration of fabric tactile properties. In addition, existing computing simulation of garment dynamic draping has poorly performed and hardly interacted with consumers’ evaluation actions.

This project aims to develop an intelligent digital tool that allows computing simulation of the responsive fabric deformations associated with dynamic fabric draping and tactile properties. Tactile properties of two types of fabrics (woven and knitted fabrics) are characterised using our novel instrument, LUFHES system. The fabric and garment dynamic draping behaviour are simulated validated by embedding their specific fabric properties into a suitable clothing simulation algorithm. Machine learning is introduced to enable the linkage between consumer’s subjective sensory feelings and objective fabric tactile properties.

The ambition of the project is to equip UK textile and fashion industry with an intelligent garment digital tool enabling the feedback of consumers’ sensory requirements on garments to fabric/fashion designers and manufacturers.