Keynote Speakers

Ben Barry

Parsons' School of Fashion (New York City, New York, US)

Ben Barry (he/him) is Dean and Associate Professor of Equity and Inclusion in the School of Fashion at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Alongside faculty, staff and students, he is leading the school to foreground a curriculum and culture in which access, inclusion, equity and justice are the standard. Ben’s teaching and research centers the intersectional fashion experiences of disabled, fat, trans and queer people and engages them in the design of clothing, fashion media and fashion systems. He is currently the Principal Investigator of Crippling Masculinity, a research project that explores how D/disabled, D/deaf and Mad-identified men and masculine people navigate the world and make new worlds through fashion. Ben is co-editor of the open-access journal Fashion Studies, and co-editor of the anthologies Crossing Gender Boundaries: Fashion to Create, Disrupt and Transcend and the forthcoming Fashion Education: The Systemic Revolution. He holds a PhD from University of Cambridge.

Abstract: Fashion Education as a Practice of Freedom: A practice-led keynote

Tanveer Ahmed

Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London

Dr. Tanveer Ahmed is Senior Lecturer in Fashion and Race at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. Tanveer’s PhD titled 'Pluriversal Fashions: Towards an Anti-Racist Fashion Design Pedagogy' investigated how white normativity works to racially hierarchise fashion design epistemologies and uses new decolonial feminist frameworks to counter dominant exclusionary definitions of fashion design. Tanveer’s research recognises the ongoing need to explore alternative justice-oriented forms of fashion design by centring everyday fashion narratives inspired by anti-colonial concepts of fashion.

As a practice-led fashion design researcher exploring ways to expose and re-think how dominant Eurocentric thinking shapes fashion design histories and theories, Tanveer leads decolonial and anti-racist fashion design perspectives across the fashion design programme at Central Saint Martins. Her work also includes experimenting with alternative cross disciplinary informal pedagogical spaces including Noisy Silences at CSM and the Womxn/Non-Binary People of Colour Feminist Reading Group, Royal College of Art.

Tanveer is currently working on a monograph 'Fashion and Anti-Racism' (Bloomsbury forthcoming 2025). 

Abstract: Fashion Education as a Practice of Freedom: A practice-led keynote

Wessie Ling

London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom

Wessie Ling is a Professor of Transcultural Arts and Design at London Metropolitan University where she directs The Research Centre for Creative Arts, Cultures and Engagement(CREATURE). She has co-edited the book Fashion in Multiple Chinas: Chinese Styles in the Transglobal Landscape, and the special issues on Italianerie: Transculturality, co-creation and transforming identities between Italy and Asia for Modern Italy, Global Fashion for Zone Moda Journal, and Global China for Fashion Theory. She serves on the editorial boards of Clothing Cultures, Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty, and Zone Moda Journal. She is the co-series editor of the Studies in Design and Material Culturepublished by Manchester University Press. Her recent research focuses on re- and de-centring the study of fashion-making within the contexts of China and Southeast Asia, exploring the connections between made in/of/for/with China and Southeast Asian regions.  

Decentering, deconstructing and de/recolonizing fashion-making with China and the rest

Anneke Smelik

Radboud Universiteit (Nijmegen, ‎Netherlands)‎

Anneke Smelik is Emerita Professor of Visual Culture and Fashion Studies at the Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands). Some of her more recent books include Delft Blue to Denim Blue. Contemporary Dutch FashionMaterializing Memory in Art and Popular CultureThinking Through Fashion. A Guide to Key Theorists; and a book in Dutch on cyborgs in popular culture. She is co-editor of the journal Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty. Her current research focuses on new materialism, fashion theory, and fashion and sustainability.

Abstract: Fashion Matters: Towards Mindful Fashion Studies

Valerie Steele

Fashion Institute of Technology (New York City, New York, US)

Valerie Steele is director and chief curator of The Museum at the fashion Institute of Technology, where she has organized more than 20 exhibitions since 1997. She is also founder and editor in chief of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, and the author or editor of more than 25 books. 

Abstract: Fashion in the Museum: Decolonizing, Deconstructing, and Decentering