Skip to main content

About the Conference

2The Emperor’s New Clothes is an annual event which brings together the fashion and textiles community to discuss the multifaceted challenge of sustainability. It provides a space to discover forward-thinking ideas and initiatives, forge new connections, and have a frank debate about the scale and pace of change in the industry.

The conference is organised by researchers from the School of Design at the University of Leeds and hosts speakers and attendees from a diverse range of backgrounds: industry and academia, design and technology, micro enterprises and industrial giants.

Taking inspiration from the tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes and the little boy who points out what no-one else dares to admit, the conference aims to offer an open platform for discussion. It enables participants to explore points of difference, challenge myths and preconceptions, and consider alternative approaches for a more sustainable fashion and textiles future.

2016 theme

The theme for the 2016 event is Leverage Points, which builds on the insights of influential systems thinker Donella Meadows. We are inviting speakers and delegates to consider the ambition, scale and impact of their work: where are the opportunities for maximum leverage in transforming the fashion system?


RITE logoThe conference is the direct successor of the annual RITE Group conference, an event which was influential in driving the dialogue about sustainability to the fashion industry, media and government. This relaunch has seen the conference return to its roots at the School of Design in Leeds, a vibrant centre of excellence for research and education in fashion and textiles with a long and distinguished history. The School’s research encompasses both creative and technical aspects of design and is supported by collaborations with industry, public and third-sector partners.