Dr Mark Sumner

Dr Mark Sumner


I joined the School of Design as a lecturer focussing on sustainability within the textile, clothing and fashion industry, having spent over 15 years working in retail for a major international retailer. My research interests are broad covering a diverse range of subject such as textile technology, innovation, sustainability and consumer behaviour.
I also manage the School's Year in Industry programme which offers undergraduates the opportunity to enhance their qualifications with valuable industrial experience. I am a lecturer in sustainability, retail and fashion. My teaching and research is based on a blend of academic input and industrial experience; I have worked in retail as a textile technologist and more recently as a Sustainability Specialist for one of the UKs largest retailers. This experience is complimented by my active involvement in a number of industry, governmental and national forums as well as specialist support for various organisations via tailored consultancy.


  • Year in Industry Module Manager

Research interests

I have a broad and diverse range of research interests. Core to the bulk of my research is the exploration of sustainability within the textile and clothing industry with a particular focus on how retailers and their supply networks interact in their pursuit of pleasing the consumer. The importance of understanding the consumer within the sustainability dialogue is growing and this is key aspect of research I am  undertaking. Aligned with the Schools mission to unite creativity, technology, innovation and enterprise I am exploring how technology and design can be combined to deliver ideas for a more sustainable industry, and he is actively engaged in developing a multidisciplinary network to support my research. During my postgraduate studies for an Engineering Doctorate in Textile Engineering, I explored opportunities for ultra-low liquor ratios for dyeing yarn. During my career I have been interested in dyeing and finishing has grown and he continues to explore opportunities for research into the latest technologies for the industry. The dissemination of the knowledge is an important aspect of my research and been involved in a number of innovative projects to help the industry and society in general gain a better understanding of the sustainability issues the fashion industry is facing. For example, I was the Technical Advisor for the World Shirt project which was recently performed at the Young Vic, London. I teach  Sustainability to Level 1 students from all of the undergraduate programmes.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

I manage the Year in Industry module which is the most successful placement programme at the University of Leeds. Over 100 students each year opt to enhance their CV and employability opportunities by taking the Year in Industry module and extending their degree to a 4 year BA Hons (Ind) degree. There are over 200 host companies who support the placement programme who are based in wide range of locations including West Yorkshire, London, Europe, the USA, China and Australia.

I teach sustainability to undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as supporting teaching in a number of other subjects such as marketing, innovation and technology and the BA Fashion Technology programme.

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>