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Carmen Hijosa

PhD Textiles, 2009–14

As a mature student, I had lots of industry experience before I came to the Royal College of Art. I worked for years in a leather manufacturing company I had set up in Ireland before moving into consultancy work. 

I went to the Philippines to look at their leather industry and noticed what amazing natural fibres they had. Leather goes through a very polluting process and I wanted to find a substitute that had a sustainable process with a positive impact on people and the environment. During my visit, I realised that the plant-based fibres had huge potential for textile production, which could use local skills and raw materials. Once I began researching these fibres I changed career completely.

I needed to further my research in the right environment with people who realised the value of my work for society and the world at large. I had a meeting with the RCA’s Textile Department who were very supportive of my ideas. I am now developing a new sustainable and biodegradable material made of pineapple leaf fibres, which can be used for interiors, furnishings, fashion accessories etc.

There are brilliant minds here and it is the perfect place to collaborate with people in different departments.  I want this material to be a break-through ethically responsible product, and I know that the RCA is the place to develop this process and to create something new and exciting.

"Research at the RCA is not for the faint hearted – you need to work hard to get as much as you can out of it. "
Carmen Hijosa
Carmen Hijosa