M-ADE: Innovations in Apparel and Textiles for Sportswear A digital Futures event - 24 January 2024

On the 24th January 2024, the Industry 5.0 theme of Digital Futures and the Apparel Design Engineering (ADE) Group held the latest event in the M-ADE series, "Innovations in Apparel and Textiles for Sportswear".

Attendees networking prior to the seminar

A diverse array of attendees travelled across the UK to explore the latest advances in sportswear design and technology. Ranging across academia and industry, interdisciplinary researchers came from world-leading universities and had the opportunity to connect with industry experts from The North Face, Pentland Brands, and more.

Dr Kristina Brubacher giving an introduction and welcoming attendees.

Dr Kristina Brubacher, Lecturer in Fashion Technology at The University of Manchester, kicked off proceedings with a welcome to all attendees. Providing an overview of the ADE Group, she introduced its research interests in the application of technology in engineering body-worn products. To facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration, Dr Brubacher invited attendees to share their backgrounds and expertise.

The first session of presentations on "New Developments in Sportswear" followed, with Dr Simeon Gill, Senior Lecturer in Fashion Technology at The University of Manchester, as the chair. Dr Emma Jenkins, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Art and Design at Sheffield Hallam University, began presenting "From the Ground-up". To learn about Dr Jenkins' research interests in user-centred and story-driven design, you can catch up on the presentation below:

Rebecca Bennett, PhD Researcher at The University of Manchester, showcased their experience collaborating with Speedo to develop innovative fabric technology. Concluding the first round of talks, Dr Aimee Mears, Senior Lecturer in Sports Engineering and Biomechanics at Loughborough University, gave a presentation on "Informing the Design of Sports and Exercise Products for Exercising Women during Pregnancy & Postpartum. You can watch Dr Mears' talk here:

Dr Emma Jenkins and Dr Aimee Mears giving their presentations

After a lively Q&A discussion with speakers and members of the audience, attendees took a break for refreshments and networking.

Attendees networking and enjoying a lunch break

After the break, Dr Steve Hayes, Reader in Fashion Business Technology at The University of Manchester, welcomed back attendees for the second session of presentations exploring "Technology in Sportswear Development".

Dr Steve Hayes introducing the second round of presentations

The first speaker of the session, Zeeshan Azam, PhD Researcher at The University of Manchester, began his presentation, "Scan Knit: Sports Compression Garments Engineering", showing his research interests in the compression, sizing, and knitting challenges of lower-body semi-seamless/seamless sports compression garments (SGCs). You can catch up on Zeeshan's presentation here:

Kasey Hatch, PhD Researcher at The University of Manchester, followed with her presentation on "Compression Garment Development", which delved into the development of sports compression garments for female athletes. Catch up on Kasey's presentation below:

Zeeshan Azam and Kasey Hatch giving their presentations

After Kasey's presentation, Dr Kristina Brubacher called all the speakers down to hold a panel discussion on "The Future of Sportswear Research".

The panellists discussed:

  • How do you see the future of sportswear research evolving in the next five to ten years, and what trends do you think will drive this evolution?
  • What digital developments and technologies do you think will be important to develop innovative sportswear research in the future?
  • In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge in sportswear research at the moment?
  • In one or two sentences, how can we advance the sportswear field?

In case you missed it, you can watch the panel discussion here:

Concluding the animated panel discussion, attendees gathered in groups for the Collaboration/Ideas Workshop, an opportunity for researchers and professionals to catalyse interdisciplinary research collaborations in the field of sportswear innovation.

Attendees discussing themes in sportswear innovation

Attendees discussed crucial themes in sportswear and came up with the following ideas:

The end of the Collaboration/Ideas workshop marked the end of an insightful and thought-provoking day. A visit to the ADE Group's 3D Body Scan Lab followed, wherein attendees could receive a body scan and experience innovative technology.

The ADE Group's 3D Body Scan Lab

The University of Manchester's wider Digital Futures network is highly interdisciplinary and operates across the whole range of the University’s digital research - connect with us and keep in touch: