Research associate on the EU Resyntex Project - a new Circular Economy concept for textiles.
January 2013 – Present day Manchester Metropolitan University
PhD Candidate ‘Circular Economy Fashion Strategies’
July 2011 – July 2012 Manchester Metropolitan University
MSc by Research ‘Fashion Upcycling in the UK Women’s Wear Industry’
September 2007 – July 2011
Upcycling Designer/Maker & Freelance Stylist, (www.saralichouhan.com / www.trashedcouture.co.uk)
September 2009 – July 2011
Sustainable Fashion Workshop Facilitator, Spearfish, Manchester and CUTS, Liverpool
November 2009 – February 2010
Regional Promoter, The Affordable Vintage Fashion Fairs, Liverpool
March 2006 – June 2007
Account Executive and Fashion Stylist, Think Publicity, Liverpool
March 2014 – June 2015
MMU Futures Sustainability Co-ordinator, Manchester Metropolitan University
Trained as a fashion designer with a professional background in public relations and commercial freelance styling, Han chose to leave the world of consumption focused lifestyle promotion to set up a bespoke upcycled fashion line and a community based sustainable fashion co-operative, with a collective of likeminded art and design professionals. Completing a Masters by Research investigating ‘Fashion Upcycling in the UK Womenswear Industry’, Han utilised her own practice as research, documented in the book chapter: Cassidy, T. D., & Han, S. L.-C. (2013). Upcycling Fashion for Mass Production. In A. L. Torres & M. A. Gardetti (Eds.), Sustainable Fashion & Textiles (pp. 148–163). Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing. Han’s Masters research also investigated the practice of other contemporary UK and EU based sustainable and upcycled designers, retailers and experts, and examined the global challenge to develop and employ commercially viable, yet ethical and sustainable strategies within the fashion industry. Findings from this research are published in the journal article: Han, S. L.-C., Chan, P. Y. L., Venkatraman, P., Tyler, D. J., Apeagyei, P. R., & Cassidy, T. (2016). Standard vs. Upcycled Fashion Design and Production. Fashion Practice (Vol. 9370). London and the PLATE 2015 conference paper: Han, S. L.-C., Tyler, D., & Apeagyei, P. R. (2015). Upcycling as a design strategy for product lifetime optimisation and societal change. In Product Lifetimes And The Environment.
Having recently completed her PhD thesis analysing ‘Circular Economy Fashion Strategies’, Han explored issues at critical stages for sustainable intervention in the fashion and textiles cycle using an exploratory sequential mixed methods approach. The practices of those collecting, sorting and grading post-consumer textiles, and those working within circular economy fashion to maximise the reuse and revaluation of such materials through their design practice were analysed through semi-structured interviews, structured observation and process mapping. Results from this section of the research, which explored whether technology can be used to increase the fraction of discarded clothing and household textiles that are reprocessed in a financially viable way were incorporated into a report for WRAP by Oakdene Hollins: Humpston, G., Willis, P., Tyler, D., & Han, S. L.-C. (2014). Technologies for Sorting End of Life Textiles. Han’s PhD research also evaluated how current consumer attitudes and behaviours would impact upon a circular economy fashion system, assessing how demographic categories define the way individuals view their own practice as consumers, users and eventual disposers of clothing and textiles. These findings will be published in the upcoming book chapter: Han, S. L.-C., Henninger, C. E., Apeagyei, P., & Tyler, D. (2017). Determining Effective Sustainable Fashion Communication Strategies. In C. Henninger, P. Alevizou, H. Goworek, & D. Ryding (Eds.), Sustainability in Fashion: A Cradle to Upcycle Approach. International: Springer International Publishing AG, to be published In April 2017.
Currently working as a Research Associate on the EU Horizon 2020 Resyntex Project, Han is investigating the development of a set of positive textile collection attributes for industry, evaluating specific feedstock solutions for textile recycling applications and identifying opportunities for green supply chain management practices in the apparel trade as part of the Resyntex business model. This work also includes contributing to citizen and stakeholder mapping that will enable a thorough understanding the textile waste value streams in selected case study locations. These outcomes will be published in the upcoming conference paper: Boiten, V. J., Han, S. L., & Tyler, D. (2017). Circular economy stakeholder perspectives: textile collection strategies to support material circularity. In 6th International Fibre Recycling Symposium 2017. Manchester, to be published and presented in June 2017. Han also lectures on Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Supply Chains in the Fashion Industry, and Sustainable and Circular Economy Fashion. (Han, Henninger, Apeagyei, & Tyler, 2017).
SLC. Han, PYL. Chan, P. Venkatraman, P. Apeagyei, T. Cassidy, et al. (2017). Standard vs. Upcycled Fashion Design and Production. Fashion Practice: the journal of design, creative process and the fashion industry. 9(1), pp.69-94.
SL. Han, CE. Henninger, P. Apeagyei, D. Tyler (2017). Determining Effective Sustainable Fashion Communication Strategies. In: Sustainability in Fashion: A Cradle to Upcycle Approach. Springer International Publishing AG,
SL. Han, TD. Cassidy (2013). Upcycling fashion for Mass production. In: Sustainability in Fashion & Textiles. Greenleaf Publishing,
This study sought to answer the question of whether we can change the current linear model of consumption and disposal in the fashion industry by looking at new circular economy methods of design and production. The research led to the creation of a working model of the fashion upcycling process, in which textile waste is used to create products with a higher retail value than traditionally recycled goods. With this model it is possible to make full use of waste textiles in the fashion industry and to maximise the social, economic and environmental benefits from reusing waste.
On Thursday 22nd April 2016, Manchester students and citizens gathered at MMU’s 70 Oxford Street venue to mark Fashion Revolution Day 2016 with a double bill documentary film screening and discussion panel featuring a host of inspiring speakers.
Events kicked off with a screening of heart wrenching BBC documentary ‘Clothes to Die For’, which tells the story of those who survived the Rana Plaza garment factory disaster of 2013. Audience members were left speechless after hearing the stories of what those trapped inside the collapsed building had to endure in order to emerge alive. Scenes in which factory workers recalled the names of the high street brands they were making for at the time of the disaster were particularly eye opening.
The second film screening of BBC documentary ‘The Secret Life of Your Clothes’ provided some lighter relief, although dealt with the serious issue of what happens to all our old clothes when we donate them to charity, through shops and recycling banks. The vast scale of second hand clothes markets in West Africa, which are dominating and decimating local textile industries, were brought home through footage of the entire chain of buyers and sellers.
The panel discussion picked up on both themes from both these films and examined some of the complex problems in the fashion supply chain. Speakers discussed how emotional connections and awareness of where clothes come from and how they were made relates to a more sustainable ways of consuming fashion. Audience members also contributed, asking questions and joining in the discussion on what we can do as consumers to change the way the industry works.