M&S Archive, fabric innovations

  • York College

Art&Design Saturday Club members at York College headed to M&S Archive for a Masterclass in revolutionary fabric innovations.  

From selling darning wool for one penny in 1884 to using plastic bottles to make recycled polyester in 2024, the M&S Archive allowed Club members to witness the evolution of fabric. To start off the day, Club members were given a tour of the M&S Archive where they looked at the history, the founders, clothing and how fashion has evolved over time.  

After the tour, they focused on textile technology. Club members worked together to devise a list of materials featured in the collection; inspected them and discussed each characteristic. They also discussed the differences between regenerative, natural and synthetic fibres.  

To gain a deeper understanding of the uses of specific materials, Club members reviewed archival press publications and video commercials. 

Club members then got creative by setting one another styling challenges where they got to dig through the rails and create outfits based on a brief. Throughout this activity, they were challenged to think about what the next innovative material could be and who would benefit from it. 

At the end of the day, each person presented their looks and explained what innovative material they thought of and why. 


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