Kirsty Kirk MSc Advanced Textiles and Performance Clothing

Kirsty Kirk

What made you want to apply for your postgraduate course in Leeds?

I have 12 years of experience as a clothing design and product developer for various high street retailers and sportswear brand (M&S, NEXT, The North Face, Berghause, Henri Lloyd). Following a career break and maternity leave, I decided to return to university to underpin my knowledge of garment construction with knowledge of textile technology.

I chose Leeds because it was the course most focused on fabric engineering and research, and it offered different experiences from those I had gained working in the industry previously. 

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

My passions now is protective clothing. I have focussed on MOD and firefighter clothing during the course and I am fascinated with improving wear comfort through textile solutions. Over 50% of firefighter deaths are caused by heat stress due to the heavy protective clothing required for the job. My research focussed on reducing the weight of the personal protective clothing whilst keeping the high level of thermal protection. On my course I most enjoyed the research and the laboratory practicals.

What has been the most surprising thing about coming to Leeds?

Coming to a research-focused university was a very new experience for me. It opened my eyes to the research possibilities I just didn’t know were there. 

What would you say about the learning facilities in your School and at the University in general?

There is a large investment programme being rolled out across the School of Design and the testing lab is a shining new example of this, with fantastic new testing machinery available. There is a vast number of resources available and almost any research proposal will be accommodated.

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

It’s fantastic and offers great knowledge of textiles with opportunities to specialise. The staff are extremely knowledgeable and accommodating. There are great facilities and many opportunities to get involved in activities other than studies.

What do you plan to do now you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with these plans?

It seems my skills are now very sought after. After being offered two posts and an assessment centre invite, I have secured a position as Research & Development Manager for a workwear fabric company.

Any other comment you would like to make?

The course I undertook at Leeds is very specialised. I would highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to work within a technical textiles field.