As the Great Yorkshire Show reveals the designers who will grace its fashion pavilion, Stephanie Smith joins the photo-shoot team.
Fashion might not be the first thought that springs to mind when considering the agricultural tour de force that is the Great Yorkshire Show. Pigs, tractors, horses and of course sheep shearing, but fashion?
But, actually, those who have never been to the show might be surprised to learn that fashion is a major part of the mix, increasingly so for a number of years, with a dedicated pavilion, sponsored by the Skipton Building Society, which provides a platform for an eclectic mix of designers from prestigious brands to up-and-coming graduates.
This year, fashions past, present and future collided to celebrate the stunning catwalk contribution to this year’s show, which will feature luxury lingerie fitters and retailers Rigby & Peller, countrywear specialists Barbour, high end label Hobbs, Cleckheaton-based evening wear and wedding designer Alexia as well as collections by graduates from Hull and Harrogate.
Yorkshire has a proud and long-standing connection with fashion, and this was celebrated in the choice of venue for the preview shoot, Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills. It was once the world’s largest woollen mill and, as you can see from the pictures, has been beautifully preserved to tell the fascinating history of manufacturing in the city, with exhibits from as far back as the 18th century, recreated Victorian cottages and a waterwheel.
By 1838 there were 106 woollen mills in Leeds, employing 10,000 people and transforming it into a major city. Later Leeds was central to the growth of ready-made clothing, with companies that became household names, such as Burtons and Hepworths.
This was the atmospheric backdrop to the shoot, bringing together fashion heritage and fashion-forward design.
More than 135,000 visitors are expected to flock to the 156th Great Yorkshire Show when it opens its gates in Harrogate this July. Thousands attend the catwalk shows which take place fours time daily during each of the three days.
For the first time, lingerie and swimwear retailer Rigby and Peller, which opened its first north of England store in Harrogate earlier this year, has given the event its Royal warrant of approval, presenting swimwear, sarongs and cover-ups on the catwalk.
Also making its Great Yorkshire Show debut will be internationally acclaimed countrywear specialist Barbour, which is celebrating its 120th anniversary. The luxury label will present its collaborative collection with Boroughbridge-based artist Julie Dodsworth and also unveil its autumn/winter collection.
Fashion wholesaler Alexia Designs will show its occasionwear prom collection, while Keighley-based menswear brand Brook Taverner returns to showcase its current collection and preview its autumn/winter range featuring Moons’ fabric woven in Yorkshire.
Students from Harrogate College of Art and Design, Northallerton College, Hull College of Art and Design and Doncaster College have also been invited onto the catwalk this year (their designs will feature in a later issue)
“The fashion shows are always one of the highlights of the Great Yorkshire and apart from being an important part of the event, they enable us to highlight the importance of the textile industry and its links within the region,” said Great Yorkshire Show director Bill Cowling.
“The shows enable visitors to see the full cycle of production, from the sheep in the competitive classes, to the sheep shearing and wool production competitions, to the final designs on the runway.”
• The Great Yorkshire Show takes place in Harrogate from Tuesday, July 8 to Thursday, 10 July.