Education in Sustainability & Innovation

Peer to Peer Learning Program 2024

Together with Saber Fazer, the Textile Prototyping Lab wanted to start a textile exchange around the topic of sustainability and local production. After a meeting in Vienna, it became clear that thelocal expertise is enormous and that Saber Fazer works in a similar educational context "Teach the teachers" as the TPL. This provides the perfect basis for an exchange of knowledge and the start of possible joint projects at an EU level. The TPL has already been working via ECHN on a European network of Textile Labs for some time, which was made possible by the ECHN exchange formats in Prato with Lottozero and other Textile Labs. It has already become clear that each European country has its own key topics and expertise. In order to exchange ideas
within this network and look out for joint projects, we have set up the monthly FTN (Future textile
network) meeting. Saber Fazer now also takes part there.
The main goal of the P2P Program was to learn more about local sustainable fiber production in Portugal and production facilities of the region in general. The TPL is working mostly in the field of textile surface creation by weaving or knitting and that's a perfect match with the expertise of Saber Fazer who are mainly focused on fibers and yarns. Additionally we included another ECHN Member in our exchange: Montebelo, since they are working in the field of fashion and production, therefore we could get a bigger picture of the facilities around Porto and the big network of Saber Fazer and Montebelo. Also it was very important for us to better understand which education formats we could offer to externals together and for which funded projects we could apply as project teams. We already had first ideas in Vienna in 2023, but there wasn't enough time to clearly understand which concrete potentials could be created with joint forces.
TPL wants to gain more knowledge about local fiber production in Portugal to set up sustainable projects in Germany. Also TPL is very active in the field of education and wants to gain more expertise in that field. A strong partner would be the perfect starting point. We as TPL also want to share our way of working in the field of textile development to educate people about textile production facilities in Germany. So it would be the match between fiber and textile surface. In the long run we would like to plan projects together.

Day 1: Field visit local production close to Porto
Together with Montebelo we visited the textile productions close to Porto. Both are working in the field of sustainability and innovation. It was very interesting to understand how the textile production landscape changed in the past 5 years. The companies had to change from mass production and the competition of Pakistan or China to a high quality and innovative production since they couldn't compete with the low prices anymore. This brings many potentials to strengthen the European textile industries on a more international level. The TPL is working already in the field of making high quality producers, researchers and so on accessible again through the lab with the advanced but still accessible prototyping machines as well as our big network. The interest of the TPL is to let this high tech textile network grow and keep everything in Europe to create a more sustainable future. Tearfil is a huge spinning company that is able to work with sustainable fibers and can prototype even in small quantities. We were able to visit the whole park of machines and understand their workflows. The knitting company Casa Da Malha is very advanced with their circular knitting machines. Quite recently, they built a whole new factory and now even implement KI technology to recognize mistakes in an early stage of the production. Now they are focused on high quality textiles and are also open for innovative products. They try to be as sustainable as possible in their working process, keeping waste low and so on. Also, the working conditions for their employees are a very important aspect which gets improved steadily. From our point of view one of the most modern factories we visited so far in Europe.

Day 2
We visited the Office and team of Montebelo and got to know more about their work with fashion brands in Europe which produce their collections in Portugal. The Montebelo team presented themselves and we had lunch together. Afterwards we, the Textile Prototyping Lab and Montebelo went to Barbot Bernardo and visited
the department of Saber Fazer. We got a tour of the Lab, Shop and Office. Also we learned about different sheep, their wool, natural fibers and dyes and how to work with the material in its raw state. We discussed challenges and chances in the region and the textile industry in general. Saber Fazer presented more of the projects and how they developed methodologies to educate people to keep their knowledge about textiles, for example @_gatewaycrafts. Throughout this day Barbot Bernado and Montebelo also got to know each other better and could brainstorm how to support each other in Porto since both have graphic design included in their companies and work with textiles.

Day 3
On day three Barbot Bernardo and Textile Prototyping Lab had a brainstorming session about how to connect the current interest in education programs to “teach the teachers” since that's one of the focuses of both companies. Also the Textile Prototyping Lab is trying to keep textile knowledge and educate others, mostly researchers or teachers, to use textile know-how for their future developments next the service offers prototyping / consultancy. During this chat the idea came up to apply potentially together for an Erasmus even with a partner outside of the EU - Chile. The TPL has already a relationship with this country since the visit of local partners in 2021. This country has a big issue with missing experts in the field of textiles, so all their facilities are shrinking and it's now the time to react to not lose everything. Otherwise the country will be fully dependent on China and that doesn't guarantee a sustainable future. So Barbot Bernardo and TPL would like to apply together with a university in Chile for an education format starting from the fiber and ending with the textile surface. Also we discussed a European Erasmus application with other FTN Members. From now on Saber Fazer will be also part of the FTN Network.

Day 4
On the last day of our exchange we worked again on an Erasmus application we would like to do together in the morning. We also had to prepare the room for the event. In the afternoon the Meet up started and all participants presented their work. It was very inspiring to get to know more people from Portugal working in the field of textiles or having interest in it. In the end Miguel shared all contacts, so the network could grow.

- Personal exchange
- Getting to the whole teams that are related to Barbot Bernardo and Montebelo.
- Understanding of production side in Portugal.
- Understanding of local plants and sheeps to produce sustainable fibers.
- First draft for a common funding project we would like to send in october.
- Barbot Bernardo and Montebelo got to know each other and could exchange ideas on how to work together as well on a local level in Porto.
- Meet the network of both companies through the final event.
- Gaining follower and people that are interested in our work on an international level.
- Integrating Saber Fazer in FTN Network Meeting.