Group Leader

Professori Kirsi Niinimäki

Kirsi Niinimäki, Associate Professor in Design,
especially Fashion Research & Head of Study Program Fashion,
Clothing and Textile Design MA and Fashion BA
kirsi.niinimaki at

Throughout my research I aim towards a new, holistic understanding in the field of sustainable fashion and textiles and therefore I investigate the connection between design, manufacturing systems, business models and consumption habits.


Seniors (In alphabetical order)

Anna-Mari Almila, Visiting Researcher
a.almila at

Dr Anna-Mari Almila is Research Fellow in Sociology of Fashion at London College of Fashion, UAL. She writes in the fields of cultural, global and historical sociology, and her topics include the historical/political construction of urban spaces; the materiality of dressed bodies and their environments; fashion globalization; history of fashion studies; and gendered wine mediation and consumption. She is the author of Veiling in Fashion: Space and the Hijab in Minority Communities (2018 in press, I.B. Tauris), and the editor of The Routledge International Handbook to Veils and Veiling Practices (2017) and The Sage Handbook to Cultural Sociology (2016).


Namkyu Chun

Namkyu Chun, D.A. / Post-Doctoral Researcher
namkyu.chun at

I study to better understand the notion of fashion thinking. By adopting design thinking research, I aim to explore how fashion designers work and think. My research contributes to bridge fashion studies and design studies.


Otettu Lumia Selfie -sovelluksella

Elina Ilén, Post-Doctoral Researcher/D.Sc. (Tech)
elina.ilen at

I am D.Sc. (Tech) in fiber materials, having a long experience and deep interests to R&D of wearable textile electronics and functional clothing innovations. I am working as a coordinator and Post Doc researcher for EU-funded project Trash-2-Cash with the high enthusiasm for more sustainable material use.
(Doctoral Thesis)


Pirjo Kääriäinen, Professor of Practice, Design driven fibre innovation
pirjo.kaariainen at

I see design as a strategic tool for sustainable future. My professional background is in Scandinavian textile industry and commerce, and in recent years I have gained experience in renewing design education in the Aalto University. Currently I am focusing on developing new materials and production methods through multidisciplinary collaboration between design and science.



Annamari Vänskä, Professor of Fashion Research (Adjunct)

I am a curator, columnist and Visiting Professor at SCF – Shanghai International College of Fashion and Innovation, Shanghai, China. I worked formerly as Collegium Researcher at the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies, as Associate Professor at the Centre for Fashion Studies at Stockholm University and as Researcher at the Department of Art History at the University of Helsinki. I have published and taught on art, fashion and visual culture at the intersection of gender and sexuality. My recent publications include Muodikas lapsuus. Lapset muotikuvissa (2012, Gaudeamus), Fashionable childhood: children in fashion advertising (2017, Bloomsbury) and Fashion curating: critical practice in the museum and beyond(2018, Bloomsbury, co-edited with Professor Hazel Clark).


Doctoral Candidates (In alphabetical order)

Marium Durrani

Marium Durrani
marium.durrani at

I am a social anthropologist by training and hold a Masters of Philosophy in ‘Culture, the Environment and Sustainability’. I graduated from the University of Oslo (Norway) in 2014. Since January 2016 I have been working on my Doctoral research, a multi-sited ethnography exploring everyday user practices of garment mending. I have carried out field work in self-organized communal repair events in Helsinki (Finland), Auckland and Wellington (New Zealand) and Edinburgh (the United Kingdom). Insights from the research are aimed at identifying how mundane practices of garment use could have viable implications for future research within sustainable fashion. 



Anja-Lisa Hirscher

Anja-Lisa Hirscher holds an MA in Creative Sustainability, where she co-founded projects related to open and participatory fashion design to enable person-product attachment (, She is one of the co-editors of: Agents of Alternatives – Re-designing our Realities ( which also links to her doctoral research interest in exploring alternative service models for crafts based, and local production.



Heidi Härkönen, Visiting Researcher (01-12/2019)
heidi.harkonen at

In my PhD research I am delving into various copyright issues of fashion designs and investigating the balance between innovation and imitation in the world of fashion from a copyright perspective. The interesting collision is that fashion designs are not only potential intellectual property of their designers but also source of inspiration for other designers. My PhD thesis participates in the freshly-boomed academic discussion related to exclusive rights to fashion designs. In order to find the most suitable solutions to the problems this collision creates, my research places itself between legal sciences and fashion studies.
My background is in legal studies. I got my Master of Laws in 2013, passed the bar exam in 2016 and completed my bench training in 2018.



Essi Karell
essi.karell at

My doctoral thesis focuses on recyclability of clothing textiles in a circular economy context. My aim is to benefit the clothing industry by providing an investigation on possibilities and limitations of closed loop textile recycling from the perspective of design. More precisely, how clothing designers could ease textile waste recycling in closed loops, and hence enable more textile waste to be regenerated into virgin quality textile fibers.
Having education and professional background in clothing design, focus on the design practice in my doctoral thesis is a natural choice for me. I graduated from Aalto University in 2014, after which I worked as a sportswear designer in the clothing industry.  Since 2017 I have been conducting doctoral studies and working for research projects linked to circular economy and textiles, such as EU-funded Trash-2-Cash and Crops4Luxury funded by Sitra.


Pirita Lauri

 Pirita Lauri
pirita.lauri at

My research joins a current and relevant discourse on the integration of design into materials sciences at the early stages of the development processes. The starting point of the research is located in the intersection of textile design and synthetic biology with the objective to explore this novel territory of living matter as a design medium.



 Oldouz Moslemian
oldouz.moslemian at

Using textiles as a primary site of exploration, my research aims to investigate the role of material information in digital design methods and fabrication processes and examines the potentials of these digital tools. Through multidisciplinary collaboration the research focuses on the implementation of material behavior as an active parameter within both the process and the outcome of design.



Emmi Pouta
emmi.pouta at

The aim of my research is to develop new methods to integrate electronics and sensor structures into woven fabrics as part of the weaving process. Although the new functions broaden the domain of textiles capabilities, the important basic qualities, such as the feel and the look of textile materials, will remain essential for the user. While electronic engineering and interaction design influence the textile design process, I want to understand how the embodied knowledge of a textile designer can be the solid foundation to explore this emerging field of eTextiles.



Natalia Särmäkari
natalia.sarmakari at

My research examines the dimensions of fashion designer’s authorship and how the profession, the role of designer and the value of authenticity in a designer work is affected by transformations in the technological landscape. Despite the art sociological and philosophical approach of my research project, my professional background is in fashion design, including a solid creative and commercial work experience in the fashion industry.



Marjaana Tanttu
marjaana.tanttu at

My research is about the connection between design methods and learning in the context of multidisciplinary collaboration aiming for material innovation. Currently I’m working in a EU-funded project called Trash-2-Cash.


Júlia Valle Noronha
julia.valle at

Clothes designer and researcher. I am interested in investigating processes in authorial production in fashion and how users establish relations with what they wear.



Former members (In alphabetical order)

Maarit 2

Maarit Aakko, D.A. / Post-Doctoral Researcher (08/2016-02/2017)
Scientific starting grant from Emil Aaltonen 2017-2018

maarit.aakko at

My research centers on the artisanal approach to fashion within the current cultural and societal environment. Artisanal fashion integrates skillful design and craftsmanship, and parallel to slow fashion, it highlights the small-scale and local production. Such approach to fashion merges high fashion and artisanship, giving a lot of weight to high quality in fabrics and garment construction, and to distinctive aesthetics.


Sari_Berglund Kuva

Sari Berglund, Doctoral Candidate (08/2015-12/2015)

Research focuses on different design strategies which prolong the textile materials’ life span. The EU funded project Trash2cash is the basis for data input for the research.


Camilla Groth, Post-Doctoral Researcher/D.A.
camilla.groth at

Having a background in ceramic practice, my main research interests lie in haptic experiences and embodied cognition in design and craft, with a focus on materiality and material engagement. During 2018 I will conduct research on sensoaesthetics in relation to textiles as part of the research project Rhythms in Infant Brain: Wearables for Computational Diagnostics and Mobile Monitoring of Treatment (RIB). In Aalto ARTS we will in this project study infants and their caretakers in order to design functional and aesthetically pleasing, medically equipped textile wearables and clothing that will monitor health issues. My role in this project is to conduct observations and interviews as well as formulate a theoretical foundation of sensoaesthetic user experiences as part of the sub project conducted in Aalto Arts.



Olga Gurova, Visiting Post-Doctoral Researcher/PhD
olga.gurova at

My research has been focusing on social and cultural aspects of fashion, fashion theory and methods of data analysis (in particular, qualitative methods, social-network analysis and research-based film). My current research is aimed at the study of entrepreneurialism in fashion: how the state, community and fashion designers contribute to the renovation of fashion industries in Finland and in Russia.


Tiina Härkäsalmi, Research Fellow/D.A.
tiina.harkasalmi at

My research aims on material-driven solutions for sustainable circular bioeconomy. Currently I’m working in the Design Driven Value Chains in the World of Cellulose (DWoC) project, where I’m applying holistic and interdisciplinary approach and exploiting the design research as a tool for cellulosic material and related technological development to enable new application areas, product concepts and business development. Additionally, material explorations, experiments and early phase prototyping are the key elements of my design approach to get new insights and understanding regarding on material properties, performance and behaviour from multiple perspectives.



Barbara Jansen, Visiting Post-Doctoral Researcher/Ph.D. at

I am exploring through practice-based research the aesthetic potential of new materials. Thereby my design research aims to explore the interaction between textiles, light, movement and time. The work explores aesthetic possibilities of how light can be integrated as an active part into textile structures, generated through a combination of craft and industrial processes (weaving + braiding). The research is funded from the Swedish Research Council and administration organisation is Gothenburg University, Academy of Music and Drama.



Cindy Kohtala, Post-Doctoral Researcher/D.A.
cindy.kohtala at

Shares expertise in the Trash2Cash project / Expertise in Design-for-Sustainability, sustainable Product-Service System design and Sustainable Consumption and Production / Doctoral research explores Fab Labs and digital fabrication in peer communities.


Heidi Paavilainen

Heidi Paavilainen, Teacher/D.A.
heidi.paavilainen at

I’m a sociologically and anthropologically minded design (research) all around, most interested in diffusion, appropriation and use of design especially in everyday settings in the past, present and especially in the future. Grey and provocative areas of use are particularly interesting: indifference, non-use, habitual use, as well as critical design, design for debate and speculative design.


Carlos Peralta

Carlos Peralta, Post-Doctoral Researcher/Ph.D. (Cantab)
carlos.peralta at

I am a design researcher with a product design background, and I am part of the research team of the Design Driven Value Chains in the World of Celluloce (DWoC) project. My main research interests are centred around the idea of collaboration and interdisciplinarity, especially between designers and scientists. I pursue both theoretical and practice based design research.



Louise Ravnløkke, Visiting Researcher (02-04/2016)
lra at

Louise Ravnløkke is a trained designer working with materials in the form of fibres and textiles and holds a MA in Textile Design. Currently, Louise is a PhD Fellow at Design School Kolding working with the project <em>Design for Sustainable Clothing: Longevity and Knitwear</em>. By an increased awareness of material qualities, textile technologies and aesthetic experiences, the PhD project investigates textile design approaches to prolong the lifetime of garments for a more sustainable future. During April 2016 Louise will conduct her studies in the research environment of Fashion/Textile Futures at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture (Department of Design).



Eugenia Smirnov, Research Assistant
eugenia.smirnova at

I work as assistant researcher in EU-funded Trash-2-Cash -project, on the subject of Colours in Circular Economy


liisa tervinen

Liisa Tervinen, Research Assistant  (2015-12/2016)

I work as a design research assistant in Design Driven Value Chains in the World of Celluloce (DWoC) project. I have a MA in New Media and I take care of communication, publication and exhibition matters together with the team. My personal interest are body-related or jewellery applications for the future incl. biomaterials, biotechnology and digital technology.


Fashion/Textile Futures is a research group from Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture (Department of Design).