Inspiration from... Professor Helen Storey

By Nick Dormon

As designers we must adopt and invent sustainable initiatives using interdisciplinary thinking that stretches across different schools of thought; science, art, design and innovation.

As the first generation to really know about climate change and the last to be able to do anything about it, design and innovation must always have sustainability top of mind. And as designers, it as our responsibility to adopt and invent sustainable initiatives using interdisciplinary thinking that stretches across different schools of thought; science, art, design and innovation.

Meet Helen Storey MBE RDI, the fashion designer who was upcycling before we knew what upcycling was. Ever famed for her never-ending ability to innovate, it was not until 1997 that she started combining fashion with science. Collaborating with her sister Dr. Kate Storey, a developmental biologist, together they created a groundbreaking collection that united the worlds of science and fashion. It is people like Helen that designers and brands alike can take inspiration from.

In 2005, Helen’s ongoing project Wonderland was conceived, exploring how new materials can make FMCG products less damaging to the environment. This partnership with Professor Tom Ryan explored innovations in water purification, solar energy, transforming plastic bottles into flowers, dissolvable and catalytic clothing.

Catalytic clothing, one of the most ambitious of her projects, seeks to explore how clothing can be used as a catalytic surface to purify the air around us. A series of cultural and art programmes will soon bring this forthcoming technology into the public domain.

We are working to create smarter packaging with QR codes that give access to a greater depth of information for the consumer; smaller packaging for compressed and concentrated formulations; recyclable packaging that uses less material; traceable packaging that can be tracked through the supply chain; intelligent packaging that uses printing technology; and much more.  And Helen’s research, innovations and designs are key to guiding this.

But as we design for a changing world, we need to look even further ahead. What are the materials that can help bring edible packaging, dissolvable packaging and inter-changable packaging to the mainstream? It is people like Helen that will be key to making this happen. 

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