Kayla Owen

Liverpool School of Art and Design

Kayla Owen is an Academic, Fashion Designer and PhD researcher who has worked in the fashion industry and academia for almost twenty years, both in the UK and abroad. Currently working as Programme Leader for MA Fashion Innovation & Realisation at Liverpool John Moores University. Kayla is a member of the International Textile and Apparel Association and Fashion Research Network and is a Fellow of the HEA. She has designed and manufactured fashion collections, shown on catwalks and exhibited 2D and 3D work nationally and internationally. Most recently publishing a paper on Community ID: Fashion's Pimp Up Posse with Zonemoda, Italian Fashion Studies.

Kayla has established a firm collaborative relationship with the international ethical textiles company Plexus Ltd. as well as playing a key role as International Mobility Co-ordinator for Art & Design at LJMU. Building links with International partnership institutions, enabling international mobility for students and staff and visiting and working with the Chang-Shu Institute of Technology and Shanghai University of Engineering & Science as part of the LJMU China Summer School programme. She is also working at an International level with colleagues from Shanghai University of Engineering & Science as part of a joint research project exploring Sensor-Technology for Sportswear. Interaction and synergies between design and technology feature extensively throughout this research. In addition,

As a PhD candidate and practice-based researcher. Cross discipline aspects of materials, techniques and processes have been central to Kayla's practice. She is currently working predominantly with leather. Exploring the notion of ‘Second Skin: Deconstructing the Fashion Leather Aesthetic’. Investigating the interface between new advancements in leather production, developments in garment manufacture processes, the desire for the unique via restoration, customisation and conversion, and the obsessive sub-cultural groups associated with these practices. The development of archival records as a place to preserve and nurture this artisan craftsmanship is central to her research.





2009, Birmingham City University, U.K., MA Fashion
1997, Salford University, United Kingdom, BA Hons, Design Practice - Fashion
Liverpool John Moores University, U.K., PhD

Academic appointments

Programme Leader MA Fashion Innovation & Realisation, Fashion, Liverpool John Moores University, 2019 - present
Senior Lecturer Fashion, Fashion, Liverpool John Moores University, 2013 - 2019
BA Fashion & Textiles Programme Leader, Fashion & Textiles, University of Wolverhampton, 2009 - 2013
BA Fashion Programme Leader, Fashion, Oxford & Cherwell Valley College (Associate College of DMU), 2005 - 2009
Programme Leader ND Fashion, Fashion, Oxford & Cherwell Valley College (Associate College of DMU),, 2002 - 2006
Lecturer, Art & Design, Fashion, Solihull College, 2001 - 2002

Postgraduate training

PhD Fashion, U.K., Liverpool John Moores, 2016 - present
MA, United Kingdom, Birmingham City University, 2007 - 2009
PGCE, United Kingdom, University of Wolverhampton, 2001 - 2002

Journal article

Owen P, Owen K. 2020. Sole_Zine 03 CONVERSION Sole_Zine, 3 Public Url

Owen P, Owen K. 2020. Sole_Zine 02 RESTORE Sole_Zine, 2 Author Url Public Url

Owen P, Owen K. 2020. Sole_Zine Sole_Zine, 1 Author Url Public Url

Owen K. 2020. Fashion’s Pimp Up Posse: Leather, Sneakers andCommunity ID Zonemoda, Vol 10 :197-212 Author Url Public Url

Owen K. 2019. Architectonic: A Hybrid Experiment Journal of Textile Science & Fashion Technology, 1 :1-9 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Conference publication


Owen KJ, Owen P. 2018. Disruptors of the Fashion World. Textile and Place Conference Author Url

Owen K, Owen P. Fashion at the Periphery Chicago Fashion Lyceum Author Url Publisher Url Public Url


Owen K. Flip Festival - Gif the City


Owen KJ. Architectonic - Fashion Collection

Owen KJ. hex–a–pod–a - A Womenswear Fashion Collection

Owen KJ. The Northern Eye International Photography Festival. Title: When Material and Mountains Meet. Publisher Url Public Url

Owen K. Materials Hard + Soft

Owen K, Owen P. Ice Cream for Crow Exhibition Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Owen K. LJMU X SUES Exhibition Public Url

Owen K. MA & Other Postgraduate 2020 exhibition Public Url

Owen K. MA & Other Postgraduate Exhibition Catalogue

Owen K. Light Night at Home Public Url

Owen K. MA & Other Postgraduate 2020 exhibition catalogue

Owen K. Light Night 2021 'PLAY' Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Other Professional Activity:

LJMU City Lab Seminar 1: Rethinking the City.. 2020

Doctoral Academy - Using Databases Effectively.. 2020

A4 Arts Foundation "Close Looking" Webinar. 2020

Draping Webinar with Karolyn Kiisel.. 2020

Bloomsbury Book Review "Fashion Pattern Cutting: Line, Shape & Volume".. 2020

Lineappelle Webinar "Sneaker Custom USA". 2020

Lineappelle Webinar "The New Normal". 2020

FET/RIS Funding Meeting, LJMU. 2020

Presentation, Talk & Studio session with fashion designers Adam & Joe from Vexed Generation, Fashion Label, LJMU. 2020

Presentation & Talk by Jermaine Francis, Fashion Photographer for ID, Dazed etc. LJMU. 2020

Presentation & Talk from Steve, Stack Magazines, LJMU. 2020

Meeting and curator talk by Paul Wright of The British Culture Archive & The People's Archive exhibition, The Refuge, Manchester. 2020

Attendance at the Lineappelle Leather Fair, New York. 29th-30th January 2020.. 2020

Submitted an Erasmus 107 Bid in collaboration with Kent State University, U.S.A.. 2020

ACTivator workshop - Inside the Ethics Committee - Exchange Station, LJMU - 9th Jan 2019..

ACTivator workshop - Inside the Ethics Committee. LJMU. 9/01/19..

ACTivator workshop - Public Engagement Matters. LJMU. 31/10/18..

Andrew Collinge – Continued relationship, potential student collaboration and research project further to their existing collaborative work on the LJMU Fashion Shows..

Application for Curriculum Enhancement Bid. Fashion Outreach Project Transition/Recruitment. Sept 2014..

Application for Curriculum Enhancement Bid. The proposed project will chart the student experience and academic progress of postgraduate taught students (PGTs) in Fashion. Sept 2014..

Art School UG & PG Fashion Show + GFW 2018 - I continue to support and organise the co-ordination of the LJMU catwalk show and GFW as well as organising and setting up the MA final show. With Ellie Boyce (Fashion) winning best in PG show 2018..

Attended a masterclass with Tom Mahon of Redmayne Tailoring Ltd..

Attended digital embroidery training at LJMU..

Attended Doctoral Academy Workshop - Publishing in Academic Journals..

BME Project working with local school pupils to encourage minority groups to consider applying for HE, in particular within Art & Design, Fashion..

British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grants Workshop, LJMU, 4th Oct 2018..

British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grants workshop. LJMU 4/10/18..

Burberry Factory Visit - Tracing the production of the iconic Mac..

Chead Research Alliance: Next Generation Design Leadership conference..

China Summer School - Visit to Shanghai University of Engineering & Science - Catwalk Collaboration and Show Production @ Liverpool in Shanghai Day 25th May - 3rd June 2019..

Continued relationship with F.Ciment pleating Ltd..

Continued relationship with G.F.Smith Ltd..

Contributed to a Collaborative Leveshulme bid as part of The Contemporary Arts Lab 2017. Pending.

Counter Culture Obsession – Style - Place This collaborative project with Transalpino, Liverpool’s deadstock retailer has led to the Fashion programme’s first Art School exhibition exploring the ideas of ‘Obsession, Style and Place’. Scheduled for October 12th 2018..

Curation of Counter Culture exhibition Part 2 at Laces Out. Liverpool. 24/11/18..

Curation of L5 Counter That Culture exhibition. LJMU. 7/12/18..

Curator talk The Punk exhibition. Liverpool Central Library. 11/12/18..

Design Manchester - Attended DM18 festival..

Diamond Awl Leather Training Workshop - One day Leather Carving course. 19th Oct 2017.

Diamond Awl Leather Workshop – Continued relationship with Jason & Louise Stocks-Young..

Diamond Awl Leather Workshops - Two day Bag Making course. 16th-17th Aug 2017.

Diamond Awl/ Louise & Jason Stocks-Young Talk. LJMU. 16/11/18..

Digital embroidery machine training. 14th March 2018. LJMU.

Doctoral Academy Conference 9th May 2018..

Doctoral Academy Conference. LJMU. 9th May 2018..

Embossing Workshop. Laces Out. Liverpool. 24/11/18..

Etching Workshop - MA Student-led activity - 22nd Oct 2019..

F.Ciment Pleating Ltd. Visit to LJMU. 4/12/18..

Faculty Research Jamboree. LJMU. 8/11/18..

Fashion PGT Transition Project Curriculum Enhancement Bid Application. LJMU. 16th Nov 2016..

Fashion SVP / Denim Source Trade Fair - London Olympia - 15th Jan 2019..

Fashion SVP/Denim Source. London Olympia. 15/01/19..

G.F. Smith Visit. LJMU. 24th Jan 2018..

GAP Research Funding Training - LJMU - 7th August 2019..

Jon & Yoko Exhibition - Liverpool Museum - 15th July 2018..

Keith Haring exhibition - Tate Liverpool - 1st oct 2019..

Lectra Conference. New 3D software. Ravensbourne University, London. Nov 2011..

Lectra Workshop. Design - Kaledo Print & Style; Wolverhampton University. June 2012..

LFW Fashion Futures + The Prince's Trust Catwalk Show at Devonshire Square, London - Catwalk show production and MA Fashion student showing - 16th Sept 2019..

Link Tutor for City of Liverpool College FdA Fashion Technology course.

Linocut Workshop - Bluecoat Liverpool - 10th May 2019..

Live Project and industry collaboration with new baseball cap brand, Tokyo Time - Student opportunity. Extra-curricular opportunity to work on the streetwear brand launch..

Liverpool Beauty Codes Currently collaborating with and recording the work of fashion and portrait photographer Jermaine Francis with colleague Paul Owen. This has been ongoing since January 2018 with potential exhibition, zine, book and editorial features..

LJMU Doctoral Academy Workshop - Interviewing Skills for Research, LJMU - 2nd April 2019..

LJMU Fashion X Unilever Brands exhibition . Scale, Fabric District, Liverpool. 9th Dec 2019.

LJMU Women Pre-Readers Network Meeting - Exchange Station, LJMU - 17th Jan 2019..

LJMU Women Pre-Readers Network meeting. LJMU. 17/01/18..

London Research Trip - Visits to Tom Mahon Tailoring, YKK Showroom, Derek @ Lewis Leathers - 25th June 2019..

MA Student "Work in progress' Exhibition. Atrium Gallery, Liverpool John Moores, John Lennon Art School. Dec 3rd 2019 - 7th Jan 2020.

Manchester Metropolitan University Visit - Hot Tape / Ultrasound Briefing and Visit to Technical Dept. 22nd March 2018..

Meet Keith, Leather Satchel Co. Factory owner, Hyton Liverpool. To discuss potential student project and collaboration - 22nd July 2019..

MPhil to PhD Transfer Viva Voce - LJMU - 12th Dec 2018..

Museum Visits and Research Trip - Amsterdam - 19th - 21st Nov 2018..

Outreach Fashion Project Curriculum Enhancement Bid Application. LJMU. 30th March 2017..

Pam Hogg Exhibition visit, Liverpool. 20/09/18..

Pam Hogg exhibition, The Gallery Liverpool, 20th Sept 2018..

Patternity Block Print Workshop, Ace Hotel, London. July 2016..

Peer Review for JAWs publication 2019..

Performance Sportswear Talk - Professor Jane McCann, LCF, 17th Oct 2018..

Performance Sportswear talk. LCF. 17/10/18..

PhD research presentation as part of LJMU SoFA Talks conference 16th May 2018..

Phil Bush Talk. LJMU. 26/10/18..

Plexus Cotton collaboration Self-driven archival project with Plexus Cotton regarding the digitisation of the original Cotton Ledgers. This is an on-going project, further collaboration with Plexus Cotton is possible.

Portugese delegates meeting to potentially set up a student exchange programme - LJMU - 4th Feb 2019..

Pretty Green collaboration – L5 future project..

Publishing in Academic Journals.23rd March 2018. Graduate school workshop..

Research assistant and curator for - The fashion of Counter Culture: Obsession, style and place exhibition, Atrium Gallery, LJMU. 12th Oct 2018 (Opening night) Exhibition open 12th – 26th Oct 2018..

Robert Beirne Head Designer at Ben Sherman Talk to L5 Fashion Students as part of the Unilever project - LJMU - 24th oct 2019..

Roundtable discussion with Japanese delegates - Potential collaboration with Japan X LJMU - 17th April 2019.

SensorTechnology Sportswear Joint International Research Project Meeting - Fashion & Shanghai University of Engineering & Science.8th May 2018.

Smart Sportswear International Collab project LJMU X SUES meeting - LJMU - 22nd May 2019..

Sofa Talk - Presenting my PhD Research. LJMU. 16th May 2018.

Student Visit to Matalan - Manufacturing and Dispatch Depo, Liverpool, 7th Feb 2018..

Subtraction Cutting Masterclass with Julian Roberts. LJMU. Sept 2013..

Tailoring Demonstartion and Talk by Tom Mahon - LJMU - 11th March 2019..

Terracotta Warriors - World Museum Liverpool - 18th August 2018..

The Creative Pattern Cutting Symposium. University of Huddersfield. Feb 2013.

Tom Mahon Redmnayne Tailoring Visit, LJMU, 11th April 2018..

TRANSPEER application.

U.K. Fashion Industry Symposium. Evaluating the Challenges, Opportunities & Policy Options within the Fashion Industr. London. Nov 2012..

Unilever Archive Visit for potential L5 Fashion student project - Port Sunlight - 2nd Oct 2019..

Visit to Matalan Headquarters with MA and L5 Design students..

Visit to MMU Ultrasound garment technology department..

Visit to WGSN Headquarters with MA and L5 students..

WGSN Head Office Visit, London, 12th March 2018..

Women Professors, Readers & Pre-Readers Network summer gathering - LJMU - 4th June 2019..

Women Professors, Women Readers & Women Pre-Readers Update Meeting - LJMU - 16th Oct 2019..

Working with Face Lab providing and manufacturing leather aspects for the reconstruction of King Robert the Bruce 3D printed facial - in collaboration with Mark Roughly, Cathy Reilly & The Hungarian Museum, Glasgow - 7th Nov 2018 - 30th jan 2019..

Other invited event:

Stitchless Leather Bag Workshop, Bristol, Invited to attend a workshop producing a leather bag using stitchless processes.. 2020

Lineappelle, New York, Invited to the Lineappelle Leather Exhibition and Trend Forecast Conference where I was able to connect directly with leather manufacturers, suppliers and tanners for my research and learn about new trends within leather product forecasting.. 2020

The Textile Institute - Textile & Life 2 Conference, Manchester, Invited to chair the afternoon session of the conference proceedings. LJMU MA Fashion students presented research posters and one won 1st prize for best poster £100.. 2019

Phil Bush Styling Talk, LJMU, Presentation and talk by industry styling expert Phil Bush.. 2019

Invisible Men Archive & Conference, Westminster Archive, Visit to the menswear archive and full day conference.. 2019

IFFTI Conference, MMU, Fashion Conference and The Fashion Of Counter Culture Exhibition. 2019

TPG Art & Science Lecture & Seminar, LJMU, Visiting Speaker - Art & Science in Practice.. 2019

REDRESS DESIGN AWARD 2019 UK FASHION ACADEMY, Sheffield Institute of Arts - Fitzalan Square - S1 2AY Sheffield - United Kingdom, Redress Sustainability and the Circular Economy Conference and Denim Workshop.. 2019

TPG Art & Science Lecture, LJMU, Exhibition as Publication lecture by Kathryn Smith.. 2018

Visit to MA End of Year Show, Hope University, Liverpool, Attended the Hope University Masters Show 2018.. 2018

TPG Art & Science Lecture, LJMU, Exhibiting Art & Science - a lecture by FACT. 2018

TPG Art & Science Lecture, LJMU, Immersive Storytelling Lecture by Pete Woodbridge.. 2018

Sew your own sneakers workshop, Diamond Awl, Delph, Oldham, Learning the discipline, material, techniques and processes involved with designing and manufacturing by hand traditional methods an individual pair of sneakers.. 2018

Chead Research Alliance: Next Generation Design Leadership, Derby University, Meeting of University Research Seniors to discuss, present and share best practice.. 2018

Jo Elvin Talk, LJMU, Talk by Jo Elvin - ex-editor of Glamour magazine.. 2018

Fabric District Meeting, Fashion Hub, Initial introduction and meeting to discuss potential collaborative activities from a curriculum and staff research perspective.. 2017

Design & Empire Symposia, Riba North & ERL, Riba North, Friday 24 November Imperial by Design and Drinks Reception RIBA North / 6 – 8pm Curators Prem Krishnamurthy and Emily King consider how design functions as a primary force in the production, consumption, and distribution of political and cultural ideologies. Saturday 25 November Empire Walks: Guided City Tour Starting point: RIBA North / 10.30 – 12pm A set of guided tours of Liverpool by RIBA North, exploring the legacy and impact of colonialism upon the city’s infrastructure and built environment. Design & Empire Talks Liverpool School of Art & Design, Design Studios and The Serving Library / Exhibition Research Lab / 1.30 – 7.30pm Empire Talks I: Shumi Bose & Christopher Kulendran Thomas Liverpool School of Art & Design / 1.40 – 2.30pm Curator, educator, and editor Shumi Bose and artist Christopher Kulendran Thomas consider topics including national identity, property ownership, and economic redistribution. Empire Talks II: Frederico Duarte & Mohamed Elshahed Liverpool School of Art & Design / 2.30 – 3.30pm Writer and curator Frederico Duarte and curator Mohamed Elshahed discuss the intersection between design and national identity with reference to the collecting policies of museums that were once at the heart of imperial systems. One and the Many by Meriç Öner Liverpool School of Art & Design / 4 – 5pm Reframing questions of authenticity, manufacturing, and creative genius, Meriç Öner discusses the idea of ‘genuine copies’ within the history of Turkish industrial production. Empire Talks III: Christian Ulrik Andersen & Mae-ling Lokko Liverpool School of Art & Design / 5 – 6pm Christian Ulrik Andersen and Mae-ling Lokko consider hidden dimensions of material production and contemporary consumption, focusing on computer interface design and agro-waste, respectively. Ruins of Empire: Detroit as Refrain/The Liverpool Echo by Paul Elliman The Serving Library at the Exhibition Research Lab / 6.30 – 7.30pm Artist and designer Paul Elliman pursues the trajectory implied by the industrial and post-industrial locations of his youth, revisiting them via images and music. Post-Talk Drinks The Serving Library at the Exhibition Research Lab / From 7.30pm Grab a free drink to round off the day's talks and continue the discussion. Sunday 26 November Stir-up Sunday by Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe) The Serving Library at the Exhibition Research Lab / 10.30 – 12pm In a hybrid performance lecture and food event, artist duo Cooking Sections introduce the myriad web of colonial routes and locations that underlie contemporary culinary fare, taking the pudding as both a case study and object for consumption. Empire Talks IV: Grace Wales Bonner & Duro Olowu The Serving Library at the Exhibition Research Lab / 12 – 1pm Fashion designers Grace Wales Bonner and Duro Olowu consider the globalised context of contemporary fashion design, addressing questions of cultural origination, export, and value construction.. 2017

Conversation With... Richard Bruce, Liverpool John Moores University, Careers Talk from Richard Bruce: Creative Director at Dior, Moschino, M&S. 2017

Grand Exposition Exhibition, Talbot Mill, Manchester, Art & Science Exhibition. 2017

Fashion Research Network event, Coventry University, London, Space for Fashion Thinking and Practice: Review, Reflect, Revise - An Interdisciplinary Symposium & Exhibition.. 2017

Fashion Research Network Event, London, Mode in Flux curators tour with White Lines Project. 2017

Conversation With ... Brigitte Stepputtis, Liverpool John Moores University, Masters Lecture Series - Retrospective of Brigitte Stepputtis; Creative Assistant for Vivienne Westwood.. 2017

Fashion Research Network event, RCA, London, The Space Between: psyche, body, skin, environment. 2017

HEA Conference, London, Student Transition.. 2015

Conference presentation:

Be Cool: Aesthetic Imperatives and Social Practices, Zonemoda, University of Bologna, Rimini Campus, Italy, Oral presentation. 2019

Owen, K. and ONeill, E. (2015). ‘Me, My Selfie and I… The application of participatory research methods to student learning’. Learning and Teaching conference, 17 – 18 June, Liverpool John Moores University, UK. (Local conference), Learning and Teaching Conference, Liverpool John Moores University, Oral presentation. 2015

External collaboration:

http://www.fashionfutures.com/, Fashion Futures, I have worked as consultant and fashion show producer for three Fashion Futures + WeWork + The Princes Trust events to date.. 2019

Changshu Institute of Technology, LJMU Fashion / Kayla Owen Chinas Summer School. 2018

Shanghai Institute of Engineering & Science, LJMU Fashion / Kayla Owen China Summer School. 2018

Industrial connections:

Diamond Awl, Leather Hand Craft Workshop. 2017

Plexus Cotton Ltd., Creating garments for catwalk presentation.. 2013

Membership of professional bodies:

Member of Contemporary Arts Lab, Contemporary Arts Lab. 2016

ITAA, ITAA. 2010

Fashion Research Network, Fashion Research Network.


FHEA, Liverpool John Moores University. 2014

Teaching qualification:

PGCE Further and Higher Education. 2001