Launch of the KRUS project
A two-day conference, Needlework & Technology, saw the launch of KRUS, the 21 million NOK research project focusing on the value-chain and value enhancement for local wool. The project KRUS aims to augment the qualities in Norwegian wool both through enhancing the focus on quality in the value-chain along with increased knowledge and better marketing, and to contribute to the debate on sustainable clothing by focusing on local value-chains and local apparel.
Speaker from the UK, Scotland, the US and Denmark added a global dimension to the focus on local, as partners in the projects kick-started the knowledge-building in front of an interested audience of designers, students, media, NGOs, spinners, wool traders and others in the business of processing wool into wonderful products. Next door to the conference, the arts and design school and Scandinavian Business Seating had cooperated to show-case a woven wool cloth with a complete Norwegian value chain on office chairs - and as fashionable clothing. This exhibit caught the eye of Yahoo Japan and has already been featured on-line.
KRUS will explore Norwegian wool and the specific qualities of the different breeds, how these play an essential role for Norwegian textile tradition and dress culture. One hypothesis is that the goal of lasting and beautiful clothing and textiles can go through increased understanding of where clothes come from and the raw materials impact on the finished textiles, covering the entire value-chain from sheep to shop. KRUS is financed by BIONÆR; The Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Institute for Consumer Research heads the project. nicefashion.org will be the main dissemination channel for the project.
KRUS means “crimp” and Norwegian wool is known for its exceptional crimp (“bounce”), luster and durability. "On a larger scale, we will be looking at how we can reestablish an understanding of the connection between the raw material and the finished product within the textile industry and among consumers," says Ingun Grimstad Klepp, who is heading the project. "It is critical to understand this connection both to ensure quality products and to reach the market potential for Norwegian wool. To reestablish the understanding of 'where clothes come from' is also at the heart of the challenges that the textile industry is facing. We will use knowledge from the shift towards local food appreciation that points towards a change in the understanding of raw materials, quality and origin."
Cooperating with ZeroWaste Scotland, University of the Arts London, Copenhagen Business School, Icelandic Design Council and the actors in a wide variety of fields related to everything from breeding to iconic designer brands. The inspirational talk by Manufacture New York's founder Bob Bland and Professor Kate Fletcher's exploration of how an indigenous Indian culture in Chile tells and acts out everything they do through textiles and their relationship with their local surroundings - brought forward how KRUS may be instrumental in the paradigm shift the textile industry clearly needs.
The launch ended with a debate looking at these issues. The on-going development in a wool-country like Scotland will also be one of the first travels the KRUS team will be undertaking.