Leeds Fashion Works and Yorkshire Textiles brought several galleries to Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills. Three of these were launched under the collective name of Behind the Seams by Leeds Fashion Works and Yorkshire Textiles in 2011. Behind the Seams is both a recognition of existing talent and an inspiration for aspiring fashion workers. It offers an enlightening journey behind the scenes of the fashion world.
Behind the Seams celebrates those people who work out of the limelight, using their practical skills to turn design ideas into wonderful products. As skills are lost through retirement, fresh young talent needs to be brought into the industry.
An interactive textile workshop, Unzipped Studio, highlights the vast range of employment opportunities available in the region (and beyond) to those with the right skills. Costing, planning, engineering, manufacturing, testing, distribution and many other activities show that the role of the fashion designer is just one of many which leads to high profile and desirable collections.
The main Behind the Seams gallery aims to promote careers in fashion design by displaying finished clothing and accessories from leading brands working in the region. These include Hainsworth, Mulberry, Jasper Conran, and Bower Roebuck. The exhibits show all the steps leading up to the completed products.
Another gallery is curated by top textiles designer Susan Gaunt. It contains a small part of the large, rare and unique Sunnybank Woven Textile Archive. This contains cloth from 150 years ago up to today and has been handed down in Susan’s family for generations.