Le Grand Depart: Designer Dress and Jacket

In a recent coup, the couture designer Anita Massarella has collaborated with Yorkshire Textiles to create a dress using the unique Tour de Fleece cloth which is to be shown as part of the ‘Textile Showcase and Fashion Show’ at the Grand Depart Business Festival to be held at the Carriageworks in Leeds on the 3rd of July.  The event is an initiative by UK Trade & Investment and UK Fashion & Textiles in conjunction with Welcome to Yorkshire to celebrate the importance of Yorkshire textiles.  With HRH Prince Charles as patron, Campaign for Wool is also backing the launch.

Showcasing the very best of the skills, heritage and modern day innovation that exists in Yorkshire’s woollen and clothing manufacturing industry, the cloth is using only British Wool with an enviable eco-pedigree that considers the environmental impact of its production.

Suzy Shepherd of Leeds Fashion Works and Yorkshire Textiles is co-ordinating the project. Shepherd is using the expertise of Laxton’s mill in Guiseley, textile finishers WT Johnson of Huddersfield and bespoke tailors ‘Carl Stuart’ of Ossett. The fabric has been designed by Susan Gaunt. The talents of a young designer and cutter at Samuel Bros in Leeds have also been used to create ladies' jackets from the 'forty mile fleece' and a special bespoke jacket has also been made for Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Gary Verity.

Funded by Leeds City Council as part of its work to support the textile sector and in partnership with Welcome to Yorkshire, this project sits aside the development of the ‘Armley Mills Cloth’ currently being created at Leeds Industrial Museum which is using a 1921 Hattersley  ‘Standard Loom’ at Armley Mills.

Set to be available in a number of colourways, the production of the cloth will also enable textile students to have hands-on experience of the weaving and design process and learn the skills and creative processes needed to produce woollen and worsted woven textiles.

Boasting a rich history in textiles, the industry employs over 20,000 people within the Leeds City Region and is also home to over 60% of the UK’s textile and fibre preparation, spinning and finishing companies.