Imperial College London

Tomorrow’s world explored in Festival talks and exhibits

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Trousers arranged in the shape of a recycled symbol

The sustainability of tomorrow’s fashion and automotive industries are explored in the Great Exhibition Road Festival’s talks and exhibits line-up.

At the Festival weekend (29-30 June) more than 40 talks will be held in and around Exhibition Road at Imperial, the V&A, Royal College of Music, Natural History Museum, Royal Geographical Society, Royal Albert Hall and more.

The talks are grouped into five main series:

In each series, experts and practitioners from across the sciences and arts will come together to explore a diverse range of topics including mental wellbeing in the field from Antarctica to Mars, music and the brain, firefighting in smart buildings, and a tailored approach to a new space suit.

Smart fashion

One such session, Tomorrow’s wardrobe, will delve into smart fashion – from its huge implications for everything from healthcare to sports science, as well as keeping us on trend.

On the panel will be:

  • Audrey Gaulard, Teaching Fellow from our Dyson School of Design Engineering
  • Dr Jess Wade from Imperial’s Department of Physics
  • And Bushra Burge, Founder and Creative Director of BB Studio, a consultancy whose recent projects have included working with wearable and fashion technology.

Ahead of the session on Saturday, Audrey and Bushra offered up their top predictions for the fashion of tomorrow. Both panelists focused on the need for greater sustainability and transparency in the fashion industry.

Audrey GaulardAudrey spoke of the need for sustainability and a circular economy:

“We need to rethink the way we consume fashion and really be honest with ourselves: ‘do I really need those clothes?’ 

“Fashion has been fascinating population for centuries. Why? Because it makes you dream, takes you out of reality, makes you hope. But we can use that power to make things change. For me creativity is one of the powerful solution to target climate change.”

Listen to Audrey’s full response:

Bushra BurgeBushra added that transparency will be key to our tackling the problem:

“For me, transparency is not actually constraining but very exciting because it will create new innovations, possibly from old craft; new ways of designing, new design tools like immersive technology, VR, AR, global, cross-cultural and diverse ways of designing.”  

Listen to Bushra’s full response:

Tomorrow’s wardrobe will be held at 12pm on Saturday 29 June at the V&A lecture theatre. This event is free but booking is available to guarantee a place.

Most sessions in the Great Exhibition Road Festival talks series are free to attend but to guarantee a place, visitors are invited to book a place on the Festival website.

ABB at ExRdFest: Getting to grips with an electric racing car

Festival goers will also have the chance to try out their skills at driving an electric racing car in a race simulator provided by one of the festival’s sponsors ABB.

ABB already work closely with the College - in 2012, following investment from ABB and a long term maintenance commitment, the Department of Chemical Engineering opened a £2million Carbon Capture Pilot Plant, believed to be one of the most sophisticated facilities of its kind in the world.

Their E-mobility exhibit will be on show both days at Imperial College Road and explores how rapidly the electric cars that we are using today are evolving and celebrates the arrival of the ABB Formula E race series in London next season.

Visitors will also be able to have a selfie taken by one of ABB’s YuMi Robots – a truly collaborative robot which allows people and robots to work side by side safely - and explore a real Formula E car.

Dai Richards, of ABB, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Great Exhibition Road Festival and looking forward to letting people have a go at our race simulators and having their selfie taken by YuMi.

"It’s a real chance for people to see some of the technology that will shape our future.”

The ABB E-mobility exhibit
The ABB E-mobility exhibit


Andrew Youngson

Andrew Youngson
Communications Division

Hannah MacLachlan

Hannah MacLachlan
Communications and Public Affairs

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