Demob Deluxe: made to measure for Wool Week

A unique project by Yorkshire Textiles and Leeds Industrial Museum breathes new life into a Burton’s classic. The 1945 demob suit (pictured) on display in the museum’s Tailoring Gallery is being recreated with a deluxe twist.

The project came about after Yorkshire Textiles and Armley Mills launched their own bespoke cloth, weaving the luxurious eco British wool yarn developed by Laxtons of Guiseley on vintage looms. The results are now being used to make the new suit, which will be completed in time for the start of Wool Week on 5 October..

The suit combines the expertise of master weaver Greg Kotvos, bespoke tailors Carl Stuart of Ossett and leading textile finishers WT Johnsons in Huddersfield. Every step of the production process, from fleece to finished garment, celebrates the region’s rich history of textile and clothing manufacture.

Suzy Shepherd of Yorkshire Textiles said: “Burton’s is synonymous with Leeds' tailoring and textile heritage. Our aim has been to pay homage to a classic design, but to add a luxury edge using lighter shades for the cloth and bespoke details for the jacket.

“Combining a very special innovative wool yarn with the skills of Greg Kotvos and Carl Stuart of Ossett means that we can bring new life to the museum piece, as well as highlight the many processes that are part of producing the finished suit.”

Demob suits were civilian clothes issued to men on their demobilisation from the armed forces at the end of the Second World War.

Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries, described the project as “a brilliant tribute to the city’s tailoring and textile heritage, which stretches back over 200 years and has seen us make a massive contribution to the industry and its history.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the finished suit and with the contemporary knowledge and expertise that has gone into its creation, I’m sure it will be a fitting celebration of both our past and present.”

Image by Leeds Industrial Museum