Helen Storey

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Professor Helen Storey, MBE,[1]RDI[2] is an award-winning British artist and designer[3] living and working in London.[4] She is Professor of Fashion Science at the University of the Arts, London[5] and Co-Director of The Helen Storey Foundation.[5]

Helen Storey portrait. Credit John Ross

Background and education[edit]

Helen Storey attended Hampstead Comprehensive School[4] in North London and graduated in Fashion from Kingston Polytechnic in 1981.[6][7] She trained with Valentino and Lancetti in Rome[8] before launching her own label in 1984.[9] Her father is the late playwright and novelist David Storey.[10]

Career 1984 to 1997[edit]

Between 1984 and 1995, Helen built her reputation in the fashion world.[9][11] She was awarded Most Innovative Designer and Best Designer Exporter in 1990[12] and nominated for British Designer of the Year in 1990 [13] and 1991.[11]

The Helen Storey label closed in 1995,[12] following which Helen wrote and published her autobiography, Fighting Fashion,[7] charting her personal experience within the industry. Published by Faber & Faber,[7] it was described by Sir Paul Smith as… ‘At last the truth – a perfect and witty account of life and British Fashion’.[14]

Primitive Streak[edit]

In 1997, Helen co-created alongside her biologist sister, Kate Storey,[15] the project Primitive Streak,[9][16] a science-art collaboration elucidating eleven key events in human embryonic development. Primitive Streak is a collection of twenty seven dresses, which brings these eleven key events to life in textile form.[17] First funded by the Wellcome Trust,[18] Primitive Streak made its debut at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1997.[15] The exhibition has since gone on to win two awards, has toured in seven countries and has been seen by five million people.[19] In 2015 the new Reading Room at Wellcome Collection in London showcases the Red Fur Implantation Dress.[20]

Helen Storey Foundation[edit]

In response to the success of Primitive Streak, Helen Storey and Caroline Coates [21] established The Helen Storey Foundation[22] in 1997, a not-for-profit arts organisation promoting creativity and innovation.[9]

The Foundation has collaborated with many scientists,[9] and has created eight international touring projects,[15][23] notably Primitive Streak,[17][24] Mental,[25][26] Wonderland,[27][28] Eye & I[29][30] and Dress of Glass and Flame.[31]

Other career highlights 2004 to present[edit]

Eye&I 2005 to present[edit]

Eye&I is a performance-led art installation, which provides a space to explore authentic emotional experience. The work was created by Helen Storey in collaboration with Dr James Coan, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, and has visited schools in South London.[32]

Wonderland 2008 to present[edit]

Wonderland was a collaborative project between Helen Storey, London College of Fashion, scientist Tony Ryan of Sheffield University, and Trish Belford from the University of Ulster, that aimed to reverse wastefulness of the disposable world. Dissolving dresses and bottles which melted in hot water formed part of the Wonderland exhibition.[33][34]

Catalytic Clothing 2008 to present[edit]

Catalytic Clothing seeks to explore how clothing and textiles can be used as a catalytic surface to purify air,[35] using nanotechnology applied through the laundry process to anyone's existing wardrobe of clothes.[36] It is the brainchild of Helen and scientist Tony Ryan.[36][37]

Catalytic Clothing was announced joint winner of the Sustainability category at the Condé Nast Traveller Innovation & Design Awards 2012.[38]

Dress of Glass and Flame 2013[edit]

Helen's new work explores the chemistry of glass and flame, and is a joint collaboration between the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Helen Storey Foundation, University of Sheffield, Berengo Studio and the London College of Fashion.[31] The piece has gone on display at the biennial art and culture exhibition, the Venice Biennale 2013,[31] at Manchester Gallery as part of Manchester Science Festival 2014,[39] Sheffield Festival of the Mind,[40] and at Summerhall in Edinburgh as part of The Edinburgh International Science Festival 2014.[41]

Current work 2016[edit]

Life On The Outskirts[edit]

Life on the Outskirts [42] is a project developed with Dr Rob Knifton[43] at Kingston University that considers mobilising the Helen Storey archive to create a digital resource for education and cultural use for students.[44]

Dress 4 Our Time[edit]

Dress For Our Time[permanent dead link] was launched at St Pancras International, London in November 2015, and is Helens examination of the impact on human beings of climate change.[45] The work has been described as a "piece of fashion designed not to influence what you buy but to shift the way you think", with an "elegiac short film".[46] The dress is made from an 'end of life' UNHCR tent from Jordan[47] and was shown, together with the 'Dress For Our Time' film at the UNHCR Geneva hosted conference 'Transforming Lives' on February 11, 2016.[48] The work will continue to be developed and to tour in 2016.[needs update]

Academic Life[edit]

Helen is part of the team at The Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion,[5] where she contributes to research, curriculum and enterprise activities.[49]

Awards and Honours[edit]

Visiting Professor, University of the Arts1998[16]
Fellow, Royal Society of the Arts 1999[16]
Research Fellow, University of the Arts, February 2000[16]
Honorary Professorship, Heriot Watt University, 2001[16]
Honorary Professorship King's College London 2003[16]
Visiting Professor of Material Chemistry, Sheffield University 2008[9]
MBE for Services to The Arts – June 2009[1]
Honorary Doctor of Science University of Sheffield 2012[50]
Honorary Professor of Craft and Design (DJCA) University of Dundee 2012
Winner of the Condé Nast Traveler Award, for Best Design & Innovation for the Catalytic Clothing Project (Sustainability category) 2012[38]
Royal Designer for Industry, Royal Society of the Arts 2014[2][51]
Honorary Fellowship Arts University Bournemouth 2014[52]


Storey, Helen (1996). Fighting Fashion. Faber & Faber.
Contributor to the Designer Fact File, a guide to setting up a fashion business commissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry and the British Fashion Council


  1. ^ a b The Telegraph's Amazing 15: Helen Storey MBE, fashion technologist, The Telegraph, London, 31 May 2012. Retrieved on 31 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b "RSA announces new Royal Designers for Industry", "The Royal Society of the Arts", London, 27 November 2014. Retrieved on 19 February 2015.
  3. ^ Eceiza, Laura (2008).Atlas of fashion designers. p. 220. Rockport Publishers, Beverly, MA, USA. ISBN 978-1-59253-661-0
  4. ^ a b Riddell, Mary. Interview: Helen Storey, New Statesman, London, 9 December 1997, Vol. 126 Issue 4351, p.32. Retrieved on 25 July 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Research Staff profiles retrieved from London College of Fashion website.
  6. ^ Queen honours Kingston alumni Archived 2012-03-10 at the Wayback Machine. Kingston University, London, 25 June 2009.
  7. ^ a b c My best teacher. Times Educational Supplement, London, 20 July 2001. Retrieved on 31 July 2012.
  8. ^ Alumni. Kingston University
  9. ^ a b c d e f Finnigan, Kate. Storey with a surprise ending[permanent dead link]. Telegraph, London, 20 May 2007. Retrieved on 25 July 2012.
  10. ^ http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/register/david-storey-th5xp5dq0
  11. ^ a b Lobrano, Alec. In a Bind Designers strut pullovers, dresses and bodysuits in springy fabrics that cling to every last curve.. Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif, 12 March 1991. Retrieved on 25 July 2012
  12. ^ a b In an exclusive extract, Helen Storey charts the rise and fall of her empire. Helen's fall New Straits Times, Malaysia, 2 March 1997. Retrieved on 25 July 2012
  13. ^ Hochswender, Woody. Patterns New York Times, New York, 16 October 1990. Retrieved 25 July 2012
  14. ^ Storey, Helen (1996). Fighting Fashion. Faber & Faber, London. back cover. ISBN 978-0571179732
  15. ^ a b c Kohn, Marek. Helen and Kate Storey: science and art engaging the public Wellcome Trust, London.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Alumni at Kingston University, London. British Council
  17. ^ a b Find Your Primitive Streak. Evening Times, Glasgow, 7 August 2003. Retrieved on 25 July 2012.
  18. ^ The art of science Times Higher Education, London, 10 October 1997. Retrieved on 25 July 2012
  19. ^ Lamb, Liz. Helen Storey mixing science with fashion. The Journal, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1 March 2011. Retrieved on 1 August 2012.
  20. ^ "Wellcome Collection unveils £17.5 million development plans" "Welcome Collection", London, 24 October 2012. Retrieved on 19 February 2015
  21. ^ "Designer Fact File - Caroline Coates". British Fashion Council. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  22. ^ Gwilt, A and Rissanen, T (2011). Shaping Sustainable Fashion: Changing the Way We Make and Use Clothes p. 179. Earthscan Ltd, London. ISBN 978-1-84971-241-5
  23. ^ Helen Storey's projects and collaborations. Retrieved from University of the Arts London website.
  24. ^ Storey, Helen and Storey, Kate. The Storey Sisters. Interview by Jenni Murray. BBC Radio 4, 9 March 2011. Retrieved on 31 July 2012.
  25. ^ Take A Walk Through One Woman's Mind in Wolverhampton Culture24, Brighton, 7 April 2003. Retrieved on 25 July 2012
  26. ^ Hackworth, Nick. Mental antics at the ICA Evening Standard, London, 16 July 2001. Retrieved on 25 July 2012
  27. ^ Around the houses: sound and vision Belfast Telegraph, Belfast, 17 October 2008. Retrieved on 25 July 2012
  28. ^ Levinson, R, Nicholson, H and Parry Simon (Eds.) (2008) Creative Encounters: New conversations in science, education and the arts. p. 27. The Wellcome Trust, London. ISBN 978-1-84129-077-5
  29. ^ Look into my eyes Archived 2015-02-19 at the Wayback Machine Times Educational Supplement, London, 1 July 2005. Retrieved on 25 July 2012
  30. ^ Maddock, Su (2007). The Journey of a Creative Thought Leader. The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal, Volume 12(1), article 6. Retrieved on 31 July 2012.
  31. ^ a b c "RSC collaboration unites science and art at the Venice Biennale" "Royal Society of the Arts", London, 3 June 2013. Retrieved on 19 February 2015
  32. ^ "Pupils see future staring them in the face". "The Telegraph", 16 May 2005. Retrieved on 19 February 2015.
  33. ^ "Vanishing Act". "Vogue Online", February 2008. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  34. ^ "Dissolvable dress height of throwaway fashion" "The Daily Telegraph", 19 February 2007. Retrieved on 19 February 2015
  35. ^ Future Fashion: clothing that can purify air moves a step closer. The University of Sheffield, 2 April 2012. Retrieved on 31 July 2012.
  36. ^ a b Knight, Matthew. Grime-Fighting garments aim to purify air CNN, US, 4 January 2012. Retrieved on 25 July 2012
  37. ^ "Laundry additive could make your clothes purify air" "The Guardian", London, 23 May 2014. Retrieved on 19 February 2015
  38. ^ a b I&DA winners 2012. Condé Nast Traveller.
  39. ^ "Revealed: The exciting line-up for this year's Manchester Science Festival". "Manchester Evening News", 3 September 2014. Retrieved on 19 February 2015
  40. ^ "From Wonderland to Dress of Glass and Flame - exhibition, talk and film" Archived 2015-02-19 at the Wayback Machine. "University of Sheffield", 2014. Retrieved on 19 February 2015
  41. ^ "The Culture Studio with Janice Forsyth" "BBC Radio Scotland", 4 April 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  42. ^ "Kingston wins Creativeworks awards" "Creativeworks", 19 May 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  43. ^ Knifton, Dr Rob. "Life on the Outskirts: Making Sense and use of a Creative Life". Art Libraries Journal. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  44. ^ Knifton, Robert. "Research Reflections: Life on the Outskirts". Creative Works London. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  45. ^ Storey, Helen. "Dress for Our Time: Transforming the Way We Think and Act Upon Climate Change". Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  46. ^ Siegle, Lucy. "The Eco Guide to Packaging". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  47. ^ "2015 UNHCR country operations profile - Jordan". UNHCR. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  48. ^ "TEDx Place des Nations". TEDx Place des Nations.
  49. ^ Professor Helen Storey[permanent dead link]. University of the Arts London, 17 March 2009. Retrieved on 31 July 2012.
  50. ^ Executive Summary of Business for Council - Report of the Honorary Degrees Committee. The University of Sheffield, 7 March 2012. Retrieved on 1 August 2012.
  51. ^ "Helen Storey: The Adventure So Far" "London College of Fashion", November 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  52. ^ "Honorary Fellows" "Arts University Bournemouth", 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2015.

External sources[edit]