A turf roof on a shed is an unlikely inspirational starting point, but for Robert Newman, it was the catalyst for his playful and thoughtful investigations. His collection, ‘The Optimist ‘ began with a vision of live grass outerwear that would grow and renew itself, protecting the wearer in response to weather. While the vision is still a work in progress, Rob has developed innovative, experimental, hand-processed fabrics for this collection. Referencing artist Wolfgang Laib and gardener Piet Oudolf, he has created new, technical outdoor clothing. The collection includes a ‘pollen’ coated, compressed grass three-layer fabric, a screen-printed, photo-responsive, raw Kevlar jersey and a material constructed by washing space blankets at 90°C. Tactile interest is further enhanced with garment-dyed silk/nylon and chenille knit pieces, and hand-woven, overdyed jacquard blankets. Attention to detail is evident everywhere, including replaceable magnetic Fidlock clips and self- repairing Lampo coil zips.