Wearing Intelligence

Wearing Intelligence

Sponsored by

Develop a design solution that utilises ‘advanced textiles’ to improve wellbeing or the quality of people’s lives.

Challenge and scope

Providing us with comfort, safety and shelter for thousands of years, textiles are the material that we have our most intimate relationships with, literally clothing our bodies from head to toe. But while most of us associate textiles with soft furnishings, clothing and upholstery, the future of textiles is changing in a big way. Our familiarity with fabrics can lead to an under appreciation of their sophistication, but despite their day-to-day ubiquity, textiles stand at the forefront of material technology, offering a staggering range of characteristics and appearances for designers to exploit. ‘Advanced textiles’ refers to fabrics that have been developed with new technologies that provide added value to the wearer.

Nowhere is this more evident than with the innovations in textile technology by the space industry - from providing a one person biosphere in the space-suit, to thermal blankets that protect delicate electronics on the exterior of satellites. An inflatable habitation capsule is currently being trialed on the International Space Station.

Back on Earth, advanced textiles are used to make progress in clothing, healthcare, transportation, human habitats and architecture. They keep our emergency personnel safe with flame and chemical retardant fabrics or bullet and slash proof vests, they guard against extreme environmental hazards like radiation, and support our health by monitoring heart rate, breathing patterns and skin temperature.

Advanced textiles includes the world of ‘smart textiles’, which refers to fabrics that can sense and react to environmental conditions or stimuli from mechanical, thermal, chemical, electrical or magnetic sources. Smart wearable textiles may have a valuable role to play in the developing Internet of Things, enabling intelligent sensing of body conditions, location, environment and activity as part of a realtime communication and feedback network, providing a myriad of potential new benefits and opportunities which we would strongly encourage entrants to explore and incorporate into their design solutions where possible.

Coatings and fibre technology have improved, allowing textiles to be imbued with added functionalities – anti-bacterial, conductive, light-transmitting, temperature-controlling, self-cleaning, medicine-releasing, heat-carrying, colour-changing, anti-static, odour-absorbing, flame retardant – the list goes on and on. This brief asks you to explore the world of advanced and smart textiles, and to find an application where their use can offer a significant benefit to the user, or even society as a whole. How can textiles be used to keep us safer? Support our health and wellbeing? Help us communicate? Transport us faster? Reduce our environmental impact (see, for example, designer Professor Helen Storey RDI and Professor Tony Ryan’s Catalytic Clothing project in which textiles purify the air)?

Responses should explore the technical properties of advanced textiles, but also consider the emotional benefits and qualities. The full life-cycle of designs should beconsidered – where the raw material is sourcedfrom, and what processes it must undergo to its eventual end of life scenario. For the purposes of illustration only, the following would all be viable responses:

  • a body worn item that assists and improvesday-to-day life for someone who has suffered from a life changing event, such as a stroke, dementia or accident resulting in a physical disability
  • integration of wearable technology in clothing to increase effectiveness and deliver realtime feedback to the user during a specificuse-case, such as a sport, commutingor at work
  • a garment that aids medical treatmentand/or monitors medical patient healthand well-being
  • a wearable item or garment that generates power through kinetic body movements,to achieve battery-free power solutions for other body-worn or portable devices
  • equipment that intelligently protects or transports content, benefiting by being more flexible and lightweight
  • apparel that helps or protects users in extreme circumstances, such as natural disasters or conflict zones
  • a garment that helps reduce risk of injury inmanual places of work that are at high risk ofwork place injuries
  • an interior environmental proposal that utilizes advanced textiles
  • development of a new advanced textile

... and many others are possible.


There are two awards available for this brief.

Eddie Squires Award of £1500 Paid Placement at Kinneir Dufort

Remuneration: £1133 per month

Duration: 3 months, with potential to extend or transition to full-time position

Location: Bristol, UK

The judging panel may decide on more than one winner and will allocate the awards accordingly. In addition, the judging panel may award commendations.

Sponsored by


With Additional Support from



Judging criteria

There are six criteria that your entry will be measured against – make sure that your submission materials demonstrate that your solution meets these criteria:

  1. Social and environmental benefit – how does your design benefit society and/or the environment?
  2. Research and insights – how did you investigate this issue? What were your key insights?
  3. Design thinking – how did your research and insights inform your solution? How did you develop, test, iterate and refine your concept? Demonstrate the journey you’ve been through to the end result
  4. Commercial awareness – does your journey make sense from a financial point of view? What is the competitive environment your solution would sit within?
  5. Execution – we are looking for a design that is pleasing and looks and feels well-resolved.
  6. Magic – we are looking for a bit of ‘magic’ – a surprising or lateral design solution that delights

Submission requirements

All entries must be submitted through our online entry system.

As you prepare your submission, please ensure that: 

  • you do NOT include your name, university/ college or other identifying marks anywhere on your submission 
  • none of your submission files exceed 10MB – this is the maximum size for each individual file / board when you submit online 

The submission requirements are: 

  • 1 x A3 PDF Hero image with 1 sentence description A singular ‘poster image’ that conveys the essence of your project, plus a 1 sentence strapline or description 
  • 1 x A3 PDF Big Idea Summary A single A3 PDF page describing your ‘Big Idea’ in less than 250 words. This should clearly explain what your solution is, the specific area of need it addresses, and how you arrived at the solution
  • 4 x A3 PDF Boards Outlining Your Proposal 4 pages describing your proposal and demonstrating that you have met the six judging criteria. Each board should include a heading. Number each board in the top right hand corner, in the order they should be viewed by the judges 
  • 10 x A3 PDF Pages of Supporting Material Up to 10 A3 PDFs of additional material illustrating your development process – this could include scanned pages of your sketchbook or computer modelling/sketches (if applicable) 
  • Optional YouTube / Vimeo + website links Please note that we cannot guarantee supporting films and websites will be viewed at the shortlisting stage. If you have created digital materials, we recommend referencing them (for example by including labelled film stills or website screen grabs) in your 4 main PDF boards 

Eligibility + entry infomation

Download entry guidelinesDownload this brief

18 January 2017

Competition opens for entries

8 Febuary 2017

4pm GMT
£25 early bird deadline

8 March 2017

4pm GMT
£35 final entry deadline

20 March 2017

2-stage judging process begins

1 June 2017

2016/17 winners announced