Vikki Haffenden

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Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Dr Vikki Haffenden is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Fashion Textiles at the University of Brighton and a published authority in her professional field. Vikki has specialist knowledge in textiles spanning industrial knitted textile design, manufacturing, and digital textile design as well as the craft practise of hand knitting and yarn creation. Her considerable knowledge and skills contribute into the different levels in the knitted textile area. Vikki also teaches the complexities and principles of taking design prototypes into manufacture across the various disciplines in the School of Art.

Vikki’s doctorate research focused on knitted textiles and industrially produced knitwear viewed through the lens of real body shape. Using 3D body scanning, she investigated the 3D body shape of women outside 'standard' sizes and developed combined knitting methods that offer an improved fit for different female body shapes. These areas are still amongst her active interests. This doctoral research led to her involvement in a large-scale ESRC research project, ‘Design for Ageing Well’; part of the ‘New Dynamics of Ageing’ initiative. She discusses some details of her contribution to the project in ‘Textile-Led Design for the Active Ageing’ (Woodhead, 2014).

Vikki's doctoral research has been cited by international researchers and authors in relation to shaping 3D garments, the UK knitwear industry and seamless knitting.

Amngst her publications on hand and machine knitting, her latest book, ‘Translating Between Hand and Machine Knitting’ was published in 2018. A new, updated and revised edition of her publication ‘The Knitting Book’ (Dorling Kindersley, 1st ed 2010) was published in September 2019.

Media and public engagment includes: Wild Chalk (2019), More or Less, BBC4 (2018),  Scala Radio (2019), The Big Knit In (2004-2007), Curator - Student Hand Knit Awards, (2004-2008), Woolcraft (BBC TV).   and 

Vikki is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters, a Fellow of the HEA and a contributing member of the the Knitting and Crochet Guild and the East Sussex Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. 

Research interests

(This is not an exhaustive list but encompasses many of my interests) Knitted textile design, knitwear design, 3d knitting, wholegarment knitting, 3d print knitting, knitwear related to body size/body shape, 3D body shape, changing body shape in ageing, clothing and ageing, clothing and larger body shape/size, slow textiles, encouraging longevity of clothing, textiles as a medium for education, fibres and yarns, sustainable textile design, sustainable knitwear design, sustainable clothing practises

Approach to teaching

My own experience and continuing practise underlies my teaching. I consider the making process to be part of the design journey, and that with a high level of technical skill a more comprehensive approach to design can be achieved.

Sharing knowledge and skills, and guiding and encouraging individuals in developing their own understanding and design practise is a continual joy to me. It is of course challenging, especially when theory and practise co-exist and both require critical consideration and the development of different skill sets.

In my work in the knitted textiles area, I am a very hands-on teacher, and expect and encourage students to explore an experiment with knitted textiles in a pro-active and deeply researched manner.

Supervisory Interests

My supervisory interests include knitted textiles, textiles, technical knitted textiles, 3d body shape and 'difference' in the context of clothing, textiles and fashion. So far however, it is my experience and interest in the fields of personal and community health and wellbeing related to textiles that have contributed to being second supervisor on two PhDs focused on art/science and art/community and wellbeing. I enjoy supervising postgraduate students, and welcome enquiries.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Brighton

Award Date: 30 Nov 2012


  • NX Arts in general
  • textiles
  • knitting
  • Design
  • TT Handicrafts Arts and crafts
  • N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
  • L Education (General)


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