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Conversations on Sustainability Panel Discussion

14th May 2023 @ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Sustainability is a hot topic within the fashion and textile industries.10% of global CO2 emissions are caused by the textile industry – that’s more than international aviation and shipping combined. The fashion industry also produces 20% of global wastewater.

Join a panel of industry professionals for an in depth discussion around the past and future of textile production, distribution and recycling and the shift towards more sustainable methods.


The Chair: Dr Caroline Hemingray

The Panel: Rhian Kempadoo-Millar, Mark Sumner, Magie Relph


About Dr Caroline Hemingray

Dr Caroline Hemingray is Associate Professor in Fashion Marketing and Colour, and Programme Leader for MA Fashion Enterprise and Society at the University of Leeds. With a background in Textile Design, and a PhD in colour prediction for sustainable fibre blending, Caroline’s mixed background of design and technology is reflected in her current research interests. This includes understanding the current challenges and opportunities for the UK fashion and textile industry, in the wake of COVID-19, Brexit and on-going climate change, as well as data-driven colour forecasting and virtual fashion.


About Magie Relph from the African Fabric Shop

Magie Relph fondly calls the African Fabric Shop ‘an accidental business’. Her passion for African textiles, heritage and design began in the 1980s, when she and her husband Bob Irwin worked all over Africa leading overland safaris.

She made her first patchwork quilt on the road, collecting scraps of African fabrics as she travelled. She sewed them together into patchwork to kill the time at border posts.

Over time, her African fabric stash outgrew her sewing room and became a fair trade business: online at, at selected events and by appointment at the ’shop’ in Meltham, West Yorkshire. Sustainability, fair trade and itinerant traders.

‘Sustainability is the key,’ says Magie. ‘I’m just one link in a very old supply chain – part of the continuing cycle of creation and commerce that keeps African textile production alive.’

Magie buys from many sources – from individual designer/makers to village market traders to Africa-based industrial textile manufacturers. Appealing to both local and international markets, they’re all simultaneously innovating for the future, while preserving Africa’s textile traditions.


About Rhian Kempadoo Millar

Rhian Kempadoo Millar returned to study Millinery after a 15 year career as a costume designer for carnival, theatre film and video games.

She created Kempadoo Millar Headwear after realising very few products were still being made in Yorkshire or the UK in favour of cheap fashion overseas creating a declining fashion and textiles industry. So where better to start than with the humble Yorkshire Flat cap?

Kempadoo Millar is a Leeds based headwear brand specialising in contemporary twists on traditional styles. The company creates luxury products from locally sourced fabrics, working closely with Yorkshire mills, suppliers and manufacturers. Ethics is at the heart of the brand and we aim to support local artisans and industry.

With customers across the globe from Portugal to Peru, KM also has a growing following of celebrity wearers including Idris Elba who wore a KM on the red carpet, Anthony Joshua and HRH King Charles.


About Mark Sumner

Mark Sumner is a lecturer in Sustainable Fashion at the University of Leeds with specialist knowledge of the clothing industry and its associated global supply chain.

His expertise in sustainable fashion is built upon 15 years of working for the UK’s largest clothing retailer, where is was involved in supply chain management and sustainability.

His current research topics include the sustainability of textile supply chains, circularity, microplastics, modern slavery and consumer behaviour. Mark has been engaged in a wide range of research and industry projects, has contributed to policy development and works with a number of sustainability initiatives and clothing brands.

He is currently engaged in a research project connecting consumers with workers in fashion supply chains to explore sustainable fashion from different perspectives.


This event is taking place as part of Sunny Bank Mills’ first ‘Threads Textile Festival’ – a weekend celebrating textiles through a series of talks, workshops and a textile market featuring over 40 stallholders per day!

CLICK HERE to see what else is happening across the weekend!


About the venue

Sunny Bank Mills is an inspirational cultural destination in the heart of the local community of Farsley, Leeds. Founded in 1829, these glorious Mills are being regenerated by the sixth generation of the family owners, creating a wonderful blend of work, leisure and culture.


Terms and conditions

Tickets for this event are non-refundable. If the event is postponed or cancelled for any reason your ticket will be fully refunded.


14th May 2023
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Book Now


Sunny Bank Mills Farsley
83-85 Town Street
Leeds, West Yorkshire LS28 5UJ United Kingdom