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Homegrown/Homespun; Scaling Up a Low-Carbon Textile System in Lancashire

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

  • Helena Pribyl
Publication date2023
Number of pages178
QualificationMasters by Research
Awarding Institution
  • Davies, Jessica, Supervisor
  • Stevenson, Mark, Supervisor
  • Grant, Patrick, Supervisor, External person
  • Aldersey-Williams, Justine , Supervisor, External person
  • Peake, Laurie, Supervisor, External person
Thesis sponsors
  • The Society for Dyer's and Colourists
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


With growing interest in ethically- and environmentally-sound fashion systems,
regional economic resilience, and community climate action, this research aimed to investigate the feasibility to upscale a localised and low-carbon textile system. Using a case study approach of the ‘Homegrown/Homespun’ textile initiative in Blackburn, East Lancashire, the thesis highlights the opportunities and tensions involved in upscale, focusing on a proposed flax and natural indigo supply chain.

Guided by the triple bottom line (TBL) framework for sustainability (Elkington,
1998), a mixed-methods approach drew conclusions from primary and secondary quantitative and qualitative data. Contributing to a growing interdisciplinary field of research, the thesis is situated between the fields of environmental research, sustainable supply chain management, transitions research, and environmental psychology.

The research findings recommend a gradual re-localisation, recognising the
short-term trade-offs between elements of sustainability within a long-term vision towards a UK-based sustainable textiles industry. Collaborative endeavours across the industry are suggested to support economic feasibility, considering the current economic and infrastructural challenges. The carbon life cycle assessment (LCA) proposes flax-based denim to be a low-carbon fibre alternative, potentially with less than half the associated carbon impact of a cotton pair of jeans.

A participatory action approach supported holistic and community-centric
research into social sustainability within TBL. Findings from a small sample imply the ‘Homegrown/Homespun’ project facilitates the behavioural and psychological capability of the volunteering community to engage in environmental action.

This research has supported a greater understanding of upscaling sustainable
business models and considering the prospects for re-shoring garment manufacturing to a high-cost economy, building on existing literature. The thesis contributes an indepth account of upscaling efforts from small-scale initiatives grounded in sustainability principles and innovative thinking.