Ms Bingbing Bai

Research project: The Practice of Vegetable-Tanned Leather towards Luxury Fashion and Accessories Industry 


My research will be based on practice, driven by a series of explorations and experiments, with the aim of broadening and deepening the interactions and connections between craftsmanship, vegetable tanned leather, and the luxury industry. I plan to use a craft-led approach to conduct process exploration and physical experiments on leather obtained from The Genuine Italian Vegetable Tanned Leather Consortium and record its process to find and summarize the possible applications of this material in different capabilities. Experiments will be further transformed into emerging results, physically presented in expressions such as artifacts, accessories, and other fashion categories, to demonstrate the special role of vegetable tanned leather as a material resource and research tool. This research into vegetable-tanned leather materials could help expand the way it can be used in the luxury fashion and accessories industry. 

This is a qualitative and process led study that utilizes grounded theory for the analysis of semi-structured interviews, which is more conducive for me to examine the known process uses in detail, flexibly summarize, and organize their experiences. In addition, I will undertake field research directly with The Genuine Italian Vegetable Tanned Leather Consortium and will establish goals based on the findings of the case study and continue to negotiate with relevant sectors that can be contacted, and take measures to the interviews will be recorded in the form of semi-structured interviews via video meeting, telephone conferencing or email, and will be transcribed and written down. This will also serve as an important source of data for grounded theory, classifying the similarities and differences between its concepts, which requires continuous acquisition of new data and the combination of practice for gradual verification and adjustment, and contribute new knowledge to the role of vegetable tanned leather in the luxury fashion and accessories industry. 

  • Research degree: Practice-based PhD
  • Title of project: The Practice of Vegetable-Tanned Leather towards Luxury Fashion and Accessories Industry 
  • Research supervisor: Dr Sass Brown
  • Other research supervisors:


I am a fashion designer who values the designer's responsibilities and consider the effective use of garment from raw materials to the entire life cycle. 6 years of study experience in Fashion, providing a solid foundation for excellent technical skills. Ability to flexibly create patterns, and combines sustainable concepts with aesthetics as a powerful representation. 

During my masters, I participated in Craft the Leather 2023, co-organized by The Genuine Italian Vegetable-Tanned Leather Consortium, as the only finalist from Kingston University. Using vegetable-tanned leather produced by relevant tanneries to design and produce out fully handmade bags and fashion accessories exhibited at Lineapelle International Leather Fair in Milan, Italy. I was invited for a week-long practice in Tuscany, which included handmade leather workshops guided by leather masters, visits to tannery production chains and sewage treatment plants, and seminars at relevant research institutions. 

Areas of research interest

  • Exploration and application of materials for sustainable fashion development
  • Sustainability of craftsmanship


  • MA in Sustainable Fashion: Business and Practices, Kingston University
  • Pre-Master Program in Fashion Management, Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology
  • BA in Fashion, Kingston University
  • 2+2 International Program in Fashion and Textile Design, Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology

Funding or awards received

  • Finalist of 9th Edition of BIAAF, Bilbao International Arts And Fashion International Fashion Design Contest 2024
  • Finalist of 10th Craft the Leather International Creative Competition 2023 - be present at Lineapelle in Milan, Italy, the most important international exhibition of leathers, accessories and components
  • Selected graduate of Graduate Fashion Foundation 2023 Mentoring Scheme
  • Sustainable Trailblazer Prize Award Winner of Graduate Fashion Week 2022
  • Commendation for best Considered Design Graduate Prize Award of Kingston University 2022