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Gwen Cunningham has a double First Class Honours degree in Fashion Design and Visual Culture from The National College of Art and Design, Ireland. During her studies she became very aware of, and increasingly uncomfortable with, the linear nature of the industry she was preparing herself for. Her most recent womenswear collection ‘Everything is Worthless Again’ questioned the take-make-dispose fast fashion culture and visually documented the lifecycle of a garment, from its inception at the hands of the designer to its demise at those of the wearer. Her academic thesis explored how alternative economic models could be applied to the fashion industry, most specifically gift and sharing economy. A drive to inspire industry change led her to Circle Economy, where her role within the Circular Textiles Program is that of textile researcher and analyst. Here, her main focus is the active development of the market, through close collaboration with key stakeholders within the fashion and textile supply chain. She believes that while new methods of design for cyclability, finishing/production technologies and material innovation are key to accelerating the transition toward a Circular Textiles Industry, a collaborative cross-supply chain approach is needed to fully realise this change- creating and nurturing these synergies is a cornerstone goal of hers, and of the Circular Textiles Program in general.

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