Yorkshire Textiles, led by Leeds Fashion Works, made the connection with the quality retail sector as the ideal platform for the promotion and growth in world presence of top end cloth. After convincing the major mill businesses of the strategy, the 2010 major Leeds Harvey Nichols store-wide display demonstrated that the fabric for much of the stock on the rails was Yorkshire Textiles.
And it was Yorkshire Textiles who brought them together for the first time and branded them collectively with that name. The mills involved were:
- Abraham Moon
- Alfred Brown
- Arthur Harrison
- Bower Roebuck
- Edwin Woodhouse
- John Cavendish
- John Foster
- Joseph H Clissold
- Savile Clifford
- Susan Gaunt / Sunnybank Textile Archive
- Taylor & Lodge
During the promotion, the Yorkshire fabric theme ran across all four floors of the Leeds branch of the shop, allowing customers to experience the luxurious feel and finish of the cloths as well as their outstanding appearance. We also presented a specially commissioned Yorkshire magnesian limestone sculpture, Tapestry, by local sculptor Peter Maris.
Behind the Seams
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.
Innovation through technology and design has been key to the recent growth in the industry in Leeds City Region. However, action is needed to transfer skills and maximise the opportunities to build on what exists now.
The role of fashion in engaging young people in educational and life chance aspiration is pivotal and any plans to promote fashion for the region must take the opportunity to use fashion’s appeal for their benefit.
Leeds Metropolitan University were closely involved in both the Harvey Nichols and the Behind the Seams projects, with undergraduate Fine Art students providing art and visuals.
The ‘Red Admiral’ collection was inspired by designs of final year fashion students from Huddersfield University remaking the garments selected by Leeds Fashion Works using donated Hainsworth red and black doeskin cloth and fine quality leather, kindly provided by Asprey. Each of the garments has been carefully recreated and made up using the traditions of couture. This project was Yorkshire Textiles' brain child for Yorkshire Wool Week. The collection is available for display.
Promising local student Kate Duckworth was then selected to design the Chancellor’s gown for Gabby Logan, when she was installed as the first Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University. This has been on temporary display at Armley Mills (Leeds Industrial Museum) and is entirely made from Yorkshire Textiles and using the skill of Leeds-based companies. Again, Hainsworth supplied the lengths of red and black barathea for the high profile gown and silk lining was provided by James Hare Leeds. Hundreds of students at Leeds Trinity University have already had the honour of receiving their degrees from Gabby Logan, wearing her elegant and unique gown.