Dr Claire Lerpiniere

Job: Associate Professor

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Fashion and Textiles

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 257 7587

E: clerpiniere@dmu.ac.uk

W: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/soft


Personal profile

Claire Lerpiniere is an Associate Professor in Sustainable Textiles with over 20 years of teaching experience. This has been particularly focused on the studio practice of textile design, and its intersection with the human and ecological impacts of textiles. 

Her teaching and research supervision focuses on presenting students with alternative technologies and conceptual frameworks to develop the sustainable and ethical practice of textile design, for fashion and interiors. She has published and shared research on these areas in peer-reviewed outputs, at conferences and symposia, for radio, and at publicly attended events. 

Claire’s research is centred on practical and conceptual approaches for paradigm shifts to create a fully ethical and sustainable fashion and textiles industry. Areas of focus are: slow-fashion models of consumption, fibre sourcing, properties and performances in terms of sustainability, garment lifespan, supply chain transparency, emotional attachment and emotional significance of garments, and textile thinking methods. 

She is currently supervising practice-based and theoretical PhDs in the areas of sustainable textile innovations, design and craft for affect and attachment, and the experience of everyday culture.

Research group affiliations

Textile Engineering and Materials Research Group (TEAM)

Publications and outputs

  • Stories and clothes: Exploring textile supply chains for sustainable futures
    dc.title: Stories and clothes: Exploring textile supply chains for sustainable futures dc.contributor.author: Lerpiniere, Claire dc.description.abstract: This article explores a method for engaging students with ethical and sustainable issues within the textile design supply chain through encouraging them to explore the stories embodied within a garment. By putting themselves into the story of their garment, its production is conceptualized as a narrative, with a range of roles, timelines and locations. Exploring stories within their garment illuminates both positive and negative narratives, whereby the impacts of production methods are explored to examine current practice in industry, manufacturing, and investigate innovative models for responsible design. Through a process of reverse engineering the garment from its completed form backward through its creation, back to its base fibres, alternative models of manufacturing, distribution, energy use and design outcomes are explored and suggested. Conceptualizing each stage of the production cycle as a series of stories, from initial fibre selection through to final garment purchase and consumption, is done to encourage empathy and connections between the student designer and the people who produced their garment within the complex global textiles supply chain.
  • Using textile testing information to ensure garment quality, longevity and transparency
    dc.title: Using textile testing information to ensure garment quality, longevity and transparency dc.contributor.author: Lerpiniere, Claire; Davies, Angela dc.description.abstract: The fashion and textiles industry is driven by unparalleled expansion, particularly in terms of consumption of low quality, low durability garments (WRAP 2017, EAC 2019). Whilst some retailers already pave the way to a circular textile economy in terms of material use and longevity, new accreditation and legislation such as the new Strategy for Sustainable Textiles (EU, 2021) and upcoming extended producer legislation and Green Claims Code (CMA, 2021) regulations in the UK will inevitably force the hand of the majority into reducing their environmental impacts. Guidelines exist to benchmark product durability in relation to material use, quality, maintenance and end-of-life options. However, to the average consumer, this information is lost in translation due to the low profile of the garment testing processes undertaken by the brands; these are hidden amongst the myriad greenwashing tactics adopted by retailers. It is proposed that industry standards and guidelines not only transparent to the retailers but translated into easy-to-interpret advice for consumers on responsible purchasing, maintenance and textile disposal. This transparency and consumer knowledge can encourage informed purchasing decisions and an overall greater level of consumer and retailer responsibility for climate and resource preservation.
  • Peroxidase-catalysed coloration of wool fabrics
    dc.title: Peroxidase-catalysed coloration of wool fabrics dc.contributor.author: Netithammakorn, Nalinee; Smith, Edward; Lerpiniere, Claire; Shen, Jinsong dc.description.abstract: An enzyme-based textile coloration process using peroxidase (EC1.11.1.7) was investigated for its potential as an alternative to conventional textile dyeing processes, with the benefits of being low in energy use and non-damaging to fibres. The current study presents a process for the coloration of wool fabric using peroxidase oxidation of a range of different aromatic compounds in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. The results revealed that wool can be successfully dyed by peroxidase-catalysed coloration at temperatures as low as 30°C. By controlling the pH values and buffer systems during processing, a diverse colour palette was produced, depending on the small molecular aromatic compound used as the precursor. Colour fastness testing found that fastness to washing, rubbing and light properties achieved good to excellent ratings, with further improvement to wash fastness provided by a post-soaping wash. No fibre damage occurred due to peroxidase-catalysed coloration. This enzyme coloration process is a promising alternative to conventional wool dyeing processes with the advantage of effective dyeing at low temperatures, therefore having the potential of reducing energy consumption and preventing fibre damage. dc.description: The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Value Definition in Sustainable (Textiles) Production and Consumption
    dc.title: Value Definition in Sustainable (Textiles) Production and Consumption dc.contributor.author: Lerpiniere, Claire dc.description.abstract: Textiles is identified as a founding activity and process of not only fashion, but also architecture, interior design, and automotive and transport design, and therefore is a key constituent of the creative economy. Focusing on conceptual, cultural and material capital value, this chapter considers the different value forms a textile designer draws upon to create new material forms. Value construction is discussed also in the context of the role textile designers play during product innovation in industry, which plays out within a macro political context of environmental sustainability. Textile design and textiles can represent not only the actions of creating a material through knitting, weaving and fusing fibres but also the processes, techniques and finishes that constitute its production, and relay cultural contexts, uses and significance. Noting the paradigmatic changes in textiles, the chapter notes the shift from political importance of gendered and textile arts readings of textiles to conceptualised bodies of practices, and the more recent shift towards concerns of the textile artist as researcher, theorist and curator, moving currently to a paradigm that favours the community ethos of craft and textiles. Transition design draws on the concept of transition from ecology to explain the sustainability of complex ecosystems, and describes how textiles and fashion are undergoing a shift in thinking towards more circular production and ecological consumption patterns, driven by shifting personal value sets. The chapter notes how transition design embeds a designed object within wider societal influence or behaviour, and as such evokes phenomenological or existential methodologies.
  • The Future of Heuristic Fossils
    dc.title: The Future of Heuristic Fossils dc.contributor.author: Downs, Simon; Lerpiniere, Claire dc.description.abstract: The authors propose that while many fields of design are involved in reflexive interactions with design research tools, others are strongly heuristic in both their application of historic knowledge bases and in the ways in which they allow themselves to move forward, to construct new knowledge as an extension of craft thinking with user-centred evidence. These historical frames become a limiting factor in both the ways that practice can develop but also, more worryingly, in the ways in which these fields can develop their own research tools.
  • One Wedding, Two Cultures, Four Outfits: The Phenomenological Exploration of Fashion and Textiles
    dc.title: One Wedding, Two Cultures, Four Outfits: The Phenomenological Exploration of Fashion and Textiles dc.contributor.author: Lerpiniere, Claire dc.description.abstract: Textiles can evoke an emotional response that is induced by the smell, texture, memory, and embodied experiences that are released through wearing, touching, and talking about textiles. The textile artifact is our most universal designed object, with the capacity for us to experience it simultaneously with all our senses and emotions. The personal textile archive is a term created for this study to describe textiles that have been taken out of practical use, and have been informally, yet purposefully, gathered together. Textile artifacts within the personal textile archive function as both a treasury of personal, social, and family memories, and as a treasury of design details. A series of interviews were conducted in which participants were asked to discuss their own personal textile archives, in order to uncover the embodied experience that arises through interactions with these sentimental textiles. This rich experience of textiles was explored through the use of qualitative research methods developed from a phenomenological research methodology, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Through a case study in which a couple of English and Punjabi heritage describe their wedding outfits, interviews set and analyzed within a phenomenological paradigm demonstrate this method's facility to explore the interplay between design and experience.
  • Drawn Threads: Drawing as a visual methodology to enhance qualitative studies
    dc.title: Drawn Threads: Drawing as a visual methodology to enhance qualitative studies dc.contributor.author: Lerpiniere, Claire dc.description.abstract: This paper is an analysis of the value that drawing can bring to a formal research methodology. It is based on a series of drawings that were produced to extend and develop a form of qualitative enquiry, an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). This analysis was conducted as part of a study of personal textiles that individuals retain and value beyond their practice use, solely for their sentimental or family historical value, termed, the personal textile archive. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used for analysing the individual experience of these textiles, and was found to be a methodologically sound, yet flexible and creative method of uncovering the data. Phenomenological research methods are established as valid means to investigate subjective human experience, across a range of different subject disciplines (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009). Such an interpretative approach was found to be an effective method to discern and illustrate the themes that arise through the individual’s engagement with their own archived personal textiles. However, a visual rather than a text-based method is investigated for the supplementary value and illumination such an approach could bring to a qualitative study. In this respect, drawing is explored as a practice-based method of visual inquiry to supplement and support the initial research analysis. Within this model of thinking, drawing is a means of embodied, visual enquiry, which can be used to produce an analytical and evaluative practice that offers further insights to the text-based analysis. Drawing from the final and completed artefacts is a method for making implicit aspects of the experience of their making explicit. The drawn exploration of the material qualities of a textile design enabled an increased understanding of the tacit expertise of the designer or crafts-person, through applied drawing expertise. dc.description: The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the URI link.
  • The Textile Archive: curating personal histories and family narratives
    dc.title: The Textile Archive: curating personal histories and family narratives dc.contributor.author: Lerpiniere, Claire dc.description.abstract: Textiles are a ubiquitous facet of global culture, with the potential to become records of significant relationships, events, and stories over their lifetime. This research project investigates textiles which have been informally gathered together, and kept within the home, for their emotional or symbolic resonance. No longer used for their designed function, these textiles are saved from disposal for their ability to prompt personal and family histories and stories, in a phenomenon identified within the study as the personal textile archive. Textile design research is increasingly concerned with incorporating interdisciplinary social and cultural frameworks within its traditional research fields of technology, innovation and creativity, to frame a textile's socio-cultural relevance. This shift in the field requires the development of specific textile design research tools which are capable of producing purposeful research which analyses the material and designed properties of textiles in relation to their symbolic or affective experience, in order to understand the user-experience of a textile. Phenomenological research methods are established as tools for investigating phenomena and lived experience from a first-person perspective, which the investigation of the personally significant textiles within this study requires. A particular method, interpretative phenomenological analysis, has been specifically adapted for textile design research, and it is demonstrated within this research project that is is able to investigate and analyse the personal textile archive, producing original insights into this phenomenon. Through this application of this adaptation of interpretative phenomenological analysis, the design, affordances and craftsmanship of a textile are revealed as interweaving with its emotional, sentimental, biographical orfamily historical meaning. This is a useful and important original contribution to textile design research, and the recommendation is made that other researchers in the field will be able to utilise and further test this tool within future textile design research studies.
  • The Inspiration Board: Visually Evidencing the Hermeneutic Circle
    dc.title: The Inspiration Board: Visually Evidencing the Hermeneutic Circle dc.contributor.author: Lerpiniere, Claire
  • The Fabric Snapshot - Phenomenology, Fashion, and Family Memory
    dc.title: The Fabric Snapshot - Phenomenology, Fashion, and Family Memory dc.contributor.author: Lerpiniere, Claire

Click here for a full listing of Claire Lerpiniere's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

Sustainable textiles - fibre to fabric impacts
Ethical fashion and textiles, including ecological, social, and employment practice impacts
Textile thinking 
Emotional and affective textile design
Phenomenological research methods
Garment lifespan

Areas of teaching

Sustainable textiles - concepts and practice
Ethical fashion and textiles
Textile design principles and studio practice
Professional practice in textile design (branding, employability, careers)
Live projects in textile design (studio-based competition and industry briefs)
Dissertation supervision



Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy

PhD Design Theory

PGCE Post- Compulsory Education

MA Design and Manufacture

BA (Hons) Textile Design

Courses taught

  • BA (Hons) Textile Design
  • MSc Sustainable Textile Technologies

Membership of professional associations and societies

Design Research Society (DRS)

Conference attendance


Lerpiniere, Claire (2013) ‘Living With Historical Textiles: Weaving Together Identity and Materiality’. Presented at: Emotional Objects: Touching Emotions in Europe 1600-1900 Conference’Institute of Historical Research, University of London, 11-12 October 2013.

Lerpiniere, Claire (2008) ‘The Textile Snapshot’.At: Love Objects: Engaging Material Culture'. Presented at: National College of Art and Design, Dublin, 13-14 Feb 2008.

Consultancy work

(2021-2022) Community Renewal Fund Project ‘Leicester Textiles Renewal’  (administered by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) in partnership with Leicester City Council and Fashion Enter, focusing on upskilling, product development, sustainable product development and innovation.

Current research students


Dr Nalinee Netithammakorn (2021) Enzyme-catalysed bioprocesses for sustainable coloration and pattern design of wool and flax textile fabrics (2nd supervisor) 


  • Clémence Belbéoch: Carbon-neutral, nontoxic and innovative wool processing: circular solutions for wool fibre valorisation in Leicestershire (First Supervisor)
  • Jennifer Dranttel: Biomimicry-inspired Material Innovation in Mongolian Gers to Combat Negative Indoor Air Quality (First Supervisor)
  • Meera Curam: Tactile traces: an inquiry into the memory and recognition of cultural pattern (First Supervisor)
  • Bridget Mutowembwa: Collaboration within the fashion industry between developed and developing countries to achieve a higher level of sustainability (First Supervisor)
  • Laura Parsons: Valourising hidden culture (Second Supervisor)
  • Tiffanni Trench: Investigating circular strategies and frameworks to source traceability within the denim industry (Second Supervisor)
  • Charlotte Wilkinson: Application of holograms to handblown glass (Second Supervisor)
  • Irina Moreno: Fashion Products Made from Pre-Consumer Textile Waste: A Study on Consumer and Manufacturer Behaviour in Romania (Second Supervisor)

Professional esteem indicators

Associate Editor:
The Poster, ISSN.20403704

Peer Review: Arts (ISSN: 2076-0752), Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice (ISSN: 2051-1795), Journal of Cloth and Culture (ISSN: 14759756), Scientific African (ISSN: 2468-2276) International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education (ISSN: 1754-3274)

ORCID number


Claire Lerpiniere