Swimming in a Sea of Polyester

Martin Bide at TEDxURI 2021

Swimming in a Sea of Polyester

Clothes are essential to humankind. For thousands of years, their value reflected their importance, and the challenges in making them. Until recently: in the last few decades, clothing has become cheap and disposable, and we have been buying more and more. We still need clothes: but do we need quite so many? Can buying fewer clothes contribute to a better environment and a healthier planet?

Martin Bide


Martin Bide grew up in England, and after earning degrees in “Colour Chemistry” spent some years in the UK dyestuff industry before joining the academic world of New England. He is a professor in the Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design at the URI College of Business, where he teaches courses in textile science, color science, and dyeing. His research includes biomedical materials, textile history, and sustainability, and he is the author of more than 100 papers, book chapters, and patents. He is a past president of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and of the Society of Dyers and Colourists, and a recipient of URI’s scholarly excellence award.