Liverpool Skyline

Liverpool School of Art and Design

Mrs Kayla Owen


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 Senior Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University leading the MA Fashion Innovation & Realisation programme and teaching on the undergraduate BA (Hons) Fashion degree.

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 locally and nationally. Most recently presenting a paper on sustainability entitled, Disruptors of the Fashion World, at the Manchester School of Art & The Whitworth, Textiles & Place Conference.

As a PhD candidate and practice-based researcher. Cross discipline aspects of materials, techniques and processes have been central to Kayla's work. She is currently working predominantly with leather and non-leather. Exploring the notion of ‘Second Skin: Deconstructing the Fashion Leather Aesthetic’. Investigating the interface between new advancements in leather production, developments in manufacture processes and the possible impact of these on the fashion leather aesthetic we see today.

Kayla has established a firm collaborative relationship with the international ethical textiles company Plexus Ltd. as well as playing a key role in building links with International partnership institutions, 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.

As a member of the LJMU Contemporary Art and Design Lab Kayla’s research and collaborations also extend to exploring the notion of fashion archives, tangibly and digitally, physically and visually.




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

Senior Lecturer Fashion, Fashion, Liverpool John Moores University, 2013 - present
BA Fashion & Textiles Course Leader, Fashion & Textiles, University of Wolverhampton, 2009 - 2013
BA Fashion Course Leader, Fashion, Oxford & Cherwell Valley College (Associate College of DMU), 2005 - 2009
Course 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


Conference publication

Owen KJ, Owen P. 2018. Disruptors of the Fashion World. Textile and Place Conference >Link


Owen K, Owen P. Ice Cream for Crow Exhibition >Link

Owen K. Materials Hard + Soft

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

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

Owen KJ. Architectonic - Fashion Collection


Owen K. Flip Festival - Gif the City

Engagement & Impact

Conference presentation:

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 17/06/2015

External collaboration:

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

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


FHEA, Liverpool John Moores University

Industrial connections:

Diamond Awl, Leather Hand Craft Workshop

Plexus Cotton Ltd., Creating garments for catwalk presentation.

Membership of professional bodies:

Member of Contemporary Arts Lab, Contemporary Arts Lab

Fashion Research Network, Fashion Research Network


Other invited event:

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

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

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

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.

HEA Conference, London, Student Transition.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Professional Activity:

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doctoral Academy Conference. LJMU. 9th May 2018.

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

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

Digital embroidery machine training. 14th March 2018. LJMU

TRANSPEER application

Pretty Green collaboration – L5 future project.

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.

Design Manchester - Attended DM18 festival.

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

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

Continued relationship with F.Ciment pleating Ltd.

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

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.

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.

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

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

Doctoral Academy Conference 9th May 2018.

Attended Doctoral Academy Workshop - Publishing in Academic Journals.

Attended digital embroidery training at LJMU.

Chead Research Alliance: Next Generation Design Leadership conference.

Attended a masterclass with Tom Mahon of Redmayne Tailoring Ltd.

Visit to MMU Ultrasound garment technology department.

Visit to WGSN Headquarters with MA and L5 students.

Visit to Matalan Headquarters with MA and L5 Design students.

Continued relationship with G.F.Smith Ltd.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Link Tutor for City of Liverpool College FdA Fashion Technology course

Teaching qualification:

PGCE Further and Higher Education