From Waste Fabrics to a Sustainable Cup Cosy: Student Naomi Explains Her Product!

Naomi_with_her_cosy_kitNaomi, a student from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, was briefed with making something new from the waste fabrics of a furniture company.

Her innovative idea for a cup cosy kit has been very well received, so Digital Creative Assistant, Francesca, recently interviewed Naomi about the process and product!

Check it out below!


How does your university course relate to your idea of the cup cosy kit?

My university course is Pattern Design – we work with printing a design onto something. We’ve worked with

  • Ceramics
  • Screen printing
  • Metal work
  • Jewellery

… a bit of everything! I’ve just finished my second year in which we did live projects. We were able to collaborate on a live brief with furniture company Orange Box, who are based in Cardiff, and that is how the whole circular economy project came about.


Did Orange Box set the brief?

Yes, they set the brief. We needed to use their waste fabrics to make something new. It was on the premise of us all coming up with an idea, and then Orange Box would decide on 5 shortlisted pattern pieces for a stool that they would actually make. When it came to that, they actually chose 7 of the stools, and they’ve got them in their showrooms in Cockamouth!


How did you come up with the idea?

We went up to the factory when they set the brief and we had a tour. You could see how much waste is produced in just seconds! They cut it off, throw it in a pile and that’s it, they pay someone to take it away. When I was introduced to these waste fabrics, I felt so much more could be done than just using it to make a stool… There were 42 different waste fabrics just from one day of production at the factory!


My lecturer said we were going to the conference and looking for someone to run an exciting workshop, introducing people to the circular economy in a different, more exciting way, rather than just doing a talk. So I had lots of ideas, a Pinterest board, thinking about what I could do to make something that people will want to keep and reuse.

Something simple that doesn’t change the world but puts you in a different, more sustainable mindset… And that’s where the idea for the cup cosy kit came from!

That sounds great! I’m curious – as you’re based in Wales, how did your connection with the University of Worcester arise?

Well my university suggested making more kits and running Freshers events. Your Director of Sustainability, Katy, has suggested the same for September. I think this is a great idea because every university generally gives out free cups and mugs during Freshers, so to run a workshop like that I think will help to bring people into that creative and sustainable mindset.


Tell me more about the cup cosy kit – does it have different shapes and colours of fabric or are all the kits the same?

We looked in the cupboard and there were quite a few end rolls of different fabrics, all from one brand, Camira I think it is. They were all different colours and of various thickness. I decided on a few different colours – a blue, orange and grey for the base. Next, I cut different shapes – basic circles, rectangles and diamonds out of the different colours, and then mixed the colours in the packs to compliment each other.


Are you in contact with anyone else regarding the kits? Perhaps other schools or businesses? 

I’m also in talks with quite a few colleges because sustainability is now written into their curriculum. We recently did a workshop with Bishopston college, encouraging a sixth form class to think about the circular economy for one of their projects. Also, in the year 10’s D.T. course, circular economy is a brief that they need to respond to. I think it’s great that younger students are becoming aware of sustainability now, as it seems it’s written into high school curriculum… whereas I’ve only really become aware of circular economy now at the age of 20.


It’s great that it is built into the curriculum now. Are you selling your cup cosy kits? 

Not yet – before I would sell them I need to refine them. I’d like to edit the text and play around with the layout a bit more, because we completed the project within 2 weeks of getting the brief, so it was very quick paced.


What does the future hold for the kits?

My lecturer has suggested going back to Orange Box, taking the kits to their design team as a team building exercise. Through this they can physically see where their waste is going and how it can be brought back in. I also think it would be a great idea to sell them after they are refined!


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