Celtic & Co. teams up with NTU knitwear
students for repurposing project

We've collaborated with Nottingham Trent University and British knitwear supplier Robert Todd on a project with students of BA Fashion Knitwear Design and Knitted Textiles to repurpose old samples.

The live project looked to explore sustainable solutions for reject garments. Students had to design a women’s knitwear collection using a selection of Celtic & Co. garments provided by Robert Todd as the basis of designing and manufacturing their collections

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Yang Xixi

The presentations were judged by product teams at both Robert Todd and Celtic & Co., who chose a top three and overall winner.

With a project titled ‘Into the blue embrace the joy’, Yang Xixi claimed the top spot. 

Her designs focused on a mix of cable knit, fair isle, hand knitting and crochet techniques, and was based around the repurposing of one of Celtic & Co.’s best-selling products, a navy Cable Boyfriend Cardigan.

Commenting on her experience, Yang Xixi said: “Working with a brand is a new experience for me, and as a future fashion knitwear designer, I think it was a great opportunity that was helpful for my career development. I am so grateful to be able to work with a brand which truly cares about sustainability. My project aimed to encourage consumers to appreciate slow fashion through the charm of hand knit and crochet, which allowed me to repurpose and create individual pieces.”

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Yang Xixi

Course leader of fashion knitwear design and knitted textiles at Nottingham Trent University, Helen Hill, concluded:

“Our second-year students have gained valuable industry experience working on this live project with Celtic & Co. and Robert Todd. The project provided them with an opportunity to explore sustainable solutions whilst designing a unique knitwear collection for the Celtic & Co. brand.

“It introduced the students to the industry and provided them with an awareness of knitwear design within a commercial context and specific market requirements. It’s fantastic to see how their confidence has grown when communicating and engaging with industry. We were delighted with the final outcomes and the students have thoroughly enjoyed it.”

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Emma Gillie

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George Light

The other students selected were George Light for his Guernsey inspired cable knits, and Emma Gillie for her collection based on a rewilding concept. Highly commended also went to Catherine Brodie.

Head of product at Celtic & Co., Katy Burnett, said: “We’re always keen to get involved in new sustainability initiatives, so when we were approached about this collaboration, we thought it was a great way to support emerging talent whilst also having a perfect link to our circular fashion principles.

“It’s been a really exciting and successful project which we are planning on running again next year as part of the university’s knitwear course. Well done to all the students who got involved, there were some very impressive designs and we thoroughly enjoyed looking through the presentations.”

Robert Todd’s design manager, Angela Wood, and senior designer, Ciara Cohen, said: “The main aim of this project was to raise awareness of waste within the textile industry and how we could encourage sustainable practices. We were unsure how the brief would translate but the outcomes exceeded our expectations.

“From the first briefing through to the student presentations, we found it incredibly inspiring to see how engaged and enthusiastic the students were about the project. We felt they approached it with creativity and great energy. It's been very rewarding for us to impart our knowledge of the industry with this live project and hopefully inspire the next generation of designers.”


Yang Xixi


Catherine Brodie


Emma Gillie


George Light

About Robert Todd -

Established in 1888, Robert Todd is a knitwear manufacturer based in Leicestershire and are a supplier of knitwear to Celtic & Co.

About Nottingham Trent University -

With origins dating back to 1843, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is one of the largest and most influential higher education institutions in the UK. It has a global community of over 40,000 students and staff, with a comprehensive academic portfolio for study and research across five campuses. NTU has been named Modern University of the Year by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023; it is also one of the most environmentally responsible and was named the world’s second most sustainable university in the UI Green Metric World University Rankings 2022.

BA Fashion Knitwear Design and Knitted Textiles is an established, highly respected degree course with a global reputation for innovation and excellent industry links. Students develop a full range of technical and design skills, including the digital knit processes in high demand in the fashion and textile industry. Work experience and industry-led projects form an important part of the course learning experience.