This paper explores the work in the area of Material Futures – undertaken by researchers at The Glasgow School of Art (GSA). We begin by presenting current debates within the textile sector and outline the challenges of the circular economy. The Scottish Government have established a £17 million fund to catalyse innovative approaches for the circular economy, which support closed-loop systems including collaboration, evaluation of different methods and future material ecologies. We discuss future material ecologies in two case studies in order to extrapolate the ways in which creative and participatory design approaches can be used to stimulate dialogue around the circular economy, broader environmental and economic issues and the socio-cultural implications. We identify six design principles for researchers and practitioners to consider when facilitating circular conversations and the evolving role of the textile designer. We go on to highlight the significance of design-led approaches in strengthening communication, promoting creative action and embedding collaborative ways of working. We conclude by making recommendations for future research and practice and how the insights might be expanded upon to support ethical, responsible and sustainable material futures.