Leeds celebrated International Women’s Day 2016 in style at the Town Hall with a wide-ranging programme of events and speeches centred around the achievements of women in the district. The day was hosted by Leeds City Council’s first woman leader, Judith Blake.
Yorkshire Textiles was delighted to see the Business Confucius Institute and Inspire Women Leeds, who organised the day, present a multicultural fashion show displaying some of the region’s finest clothing and design talent.
The audience was thrilled by some beautiful eastern-inspired designs, including elegant floral embellished Cheongsams. A rib knit grey dress, with this season’s take on the elongated sleeve was designed by Bethan Smith. Both Bethan and her fellow student Jodie Reynolds, who also had a garment at the show, were prize winners last year at Leeds College of Art.
The iconic scarlet coat from designer Anita Massarella provided one of the centrepieces. Made using wool ‘doeskin’ cloth from the Leeds firm A. W. Hainsworth which was established in 1783 – this dramatic double-breasted riding style coat swirled to ankle-length and lit up the stage. The coat references Hainsworths heritage of weaving military cloth which today is still provided for the world-renowned Queen’s Guards uniforms.
Leeds based Anita Massarella is known for the quality and detailing of her garments and is recognised as one of the North’s leading couturiers. Employing highly skilled couture trained team Anita has established a business that provides bespoke garments for customers who are often in the public eye.
Hainsworth are themselves world leaders and it is fitting that their international reputation was reflected by being shown amongst the new eastern fashion pieces.
This inspiring show reflects the continuing importance of textiles and clothing for the economy of the Leeds City Region, both in manufacturing and retail, and for the many women who work in these sectors.
Leeds City Region is also a leading centre for fashion and textile education with many talented young designers emerging from the region’s universities and colleges.
Yorkshire Textiles, an initiative set in motion by Leeds Fashion Works and supported by Leeds City Council, was set up to promote the high quality textiles and clothing industries of the Leeds City Region. Their work can be followed on Twitter at @yorkstextiles.
The Business Confucius Institute, which is based at the Leeds International Business School, seeks to support increased trade with China as well as teaching Mandarin and promoting Chinese culture. You can follow them on Twitter at @LeedsConfucius.