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The student conference

SHIFT conference head image

"The Fashion System is broken…We are facing ecological collapse due to the effects of climate change – and the fashion industry plays a big role in this.” (Extinction Rebellion, 2019)

What is the new reality in fashion and textiles? How do we respond?

The textile sector represents 6 per cent of global greenhouse-gas emissions and 10-20 per cent of pesticide use. Washing, solvents and dyes used in manufacturing are responsible for one-fifth of industrial water pollution, and fashion accounts for 20-35 per cent of the microplastic that flows into the ocean (The State of Fashion Report 2020).

Now is a time for change, imagination, creativity and innovation. Can we lay the groundwork for a new reality? Let’s address the unsustainable practices in our industry. Business can no longer carry on as usual. We all have our own responsibility within this system.

The SHIFT conference will address the future of the industry featuring student work and research, keynote speakers from industry and workshops. Proposed workshops as follows:

Creative Workshops

  • Sustainable Print Experience - experiment with applied surfaces to create sustainable textiles
  • Extreme Weaving - forget the loom and break boundaries
  • Upcycle Extravaganza - turn your tired rags into fashionable gold 
From 10am-12 noon on Level 3 Parkside, 25 March 2020. Maximum 10 places per session. Booking to follow.

We want to hear about your research and practice which can help redefine this future, and invite you to present your research at our conference.

Conference Schedule





Opening of the conference 

Professor Lee Lapthorne (TBC)


Keynote speaker 1 

Sam Burrows (Sainsbury's)


Students panel 1

ACTIVATE (3 student presentations)





Students panel 2

INVENT (3 student presentations)


Discussion. Comfort break.



Students panel 3

CHERISH (4 student presentations)





Keynote speaker 2 



Round up 

Professor Lee Lapthorne (TBC)




Drinks reception

Phil Roberts - Bill Beaumont Textiles

Sam Burrows - Sainsbury's

Sophie Rist - AgnesLDN

Terri Davies - Terradea



Alison Rapsey/Professor Lee Lapthorne (TBC)

Book your place 

Image credit Harjot Mann

Your work might explore:

  • What is fashion today?
  • What stories do materials tell?
  • What role and responsibility does business have?
  • Compassion and kindness in design
  • New narratives for the fashion and textiles business
  • New identities and concepts of beauty
  • New manifestos
  • New directions and strategies
  • New voices
  • New identities
  • New thinking
  • New systems or business models
  • New technology and materials
  • New takes on craft and luxury

If you have questions about whether your work is suitable for the conference please email us To enter an abstract see the submissions guide (link to submissions tab).

“Sustainability in fashion and textiles fosters ecological integrity, social quality and human flourishing through products, action, relationships and practices of use.” (Fletcher, K., 2013)