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Professor Clare Johnston

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  • Clare Johnston
  • Area

    School of Design

    Role

    Professor and Senior Research Fellow

  • Professor Clare Johnston, Senior Research Fellow, is the Project leader and 'Scientist in Charge' of the ArcInTex European Training Network at the Royal College of Art. Her responsibilities extend over ArcInTex Work Package 3 which focuses on Design at the scale of the Interior. ArcInTexETN is an initial training network for new PhD students researching and exploring the expressions of sustainable forms of future living through textile thinking in the intersection of Architecture, Fashion Design and Interaction Design. At the Royal College of Art, Clare Johnston is the supervisor for five Research students. 

  • Biography

  • In 1972, while studying Printed Textiles at Birmingham College of Art, Clare Johnston won the RSA Textile Prize and met her first employer, textile designer Pat Albeck. She subsequently worked with Veronica Marsh, Walker Rice Textiles and Nigel French Design Consultancy. She set up her own textile design studio in 1979, collaborating with many UK and international labels including Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Cacharel and Diane von Fürstenberg. In 1990 she joined the Marks and Spencer Womenswear Design team as in house Colour and Textile consultant. In 1998 she became Head of Design at Liberty of London Directing all Liberty Brand products including Fashion collections, Liberty of London Print, Gift and Homewear products. Clare joined the RCA as Visiting Professor to Textiles in 1999 and was appointed as Professor and Head of the Textile programme in 2000. She retired from this post in September 2015, but continues as Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Fellow.


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  • Practice

  • Clare Johnston is a consultant in colour and textile design for fashion and interiors. Her research has involved the RCA Materials for Living hub, which explored the way materials extend across all design practice and connect design to material science, this research culminated in the conference 'Inspiring Matter' a 3 day interdisciplinary conference at the RCA in 2012.

    Clare was a board member of the Material and Design Exchange (MADE) from 2005-2013, part of the UK Materials Knowledge Transfer Network, which aimed to link the creative industries to science and technology. She was an adviser on the Materials Knowledge Transfer Network exhibition MADE in the Future (Milan, 2010) and took part in the mission to the Netherlands Designing out Waste in 2011.

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  • External collaborations

  • Clare Johnston is a member of the Texprint Committee, the British Textile Colour Group, chair of the Textile Institute's Design Special Interest Group, adviser to Society of Designers and Colourists. She is a Judge for the FAD Fashion Design competition, and the Textiles Award at UK Graduate Fashion Week. In 2013 Clare was a judge for Premiere Vision International Trade Exhibition in Paris.

    Clare has been Visiting Professor at Tama Art University in Tokyo for four years and is currently Visiting Professor at the Swedish School of Textiles.

    Clare has worked as Academic advisor for many International Universities such as Hong Kong Polytechnic University ITC, Cornell University School of Human Ecology, Rhode Island School of Design, Tsing Hua University Beijing.

    As chair of the Textile Institute's Design Special Interest Group since 2006, Clare Johnston has directed the annual Treasury Fashion and Textile Showcase exhibiting a selection of UK graduates' work to industry and government.

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  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Publications

    Johnston, C. (Summer 2010) ‘What’s in a process’, Innovate, (7), on the digital-physical divide

    Johnston, C. (Summer 2009) ‘From Forest to Fabric’, Innovate, (6), on Yemi Awosille‘s work with cork materials


    Exhibitions

    Design Means Business, Textile Institute Special Interest Group annual exhibition, July 2008–10 

    Made in the Future, Milan 2009, exhibition adviser and catalogue foreword author


    Other Outcomes

    Designing out Landfill, UK Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network Mission, The Netherlands, January 2011

    Material and Design Exchange 'Smart Wearables' presentation, House of Lords, June 2010, master of ceremonies

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  • Awards and Grants

  • Clare Johnston won the RSA Textile Prize in 1972. In 1975 Clare launched the Veronica Marsh textile design collection in Paris, successfully establishing business with many fashion companies.

    In 1995 Marks and Spencer’s £1 billion record profit was partially attributed to the customers' favourable response to the colour products on offer in store developed by Clare Johnston and the M&S design team.

    In 2007 Clare Johnston was awarded the Society of Dyers and Colourists Silver Medal for her contribution to the use of colour in education.

Selected work

Research

Research interests

Clare Johnston developed the RCA Materials for Living hub with colleagues Anne Toomey and Dr Claire Pajaczkowska, which explores the way materials extend across all design practice and connect design to material science.

Clare has been a board member of the Material and Design Exchange (MADE), which is part of the UK Materials Knowledge Transfer Network, linking the creative industries to science and technology since 2006.

She was an adviser on the Materials KTN exhibition MADE in Future (Milan, October 2010) and took part in the UK KTN mission to the Netherlands, Designing out Waste, in January 2011.

An international two-day conference 'Materials for Life' took place in April 2012 at the Royal College of Art, which aimed to encourage the convergence of material science, design and social needs.

Research students