In many ways, Yorkshire is still the heart and soul of the country's fashion design and manufacturing industry, with talented and hard-working designers, technical people and retailers bringing beautiful clothes right to our doorstep, and sending out expertise and creative flair across the globe.
Now we can celebrate our fashion heritage and our fashion future with the launch of the first Yorkshire Fashion Week later this month.In a shoot at Castle Howard this week, capsule collections from both established and up-and-coming fashion and textile designers were unveiled in preparation for the event, which takes place in the last week of June, culminating in a Gala Fashion Evening on Friday, June 26.
Showing her feminine floaty spring/summer range will be former Leeds College of Art and Design student Mary Benson, 19, who has been widely tipped as a name to watch following her appearance on Mary, Queen of Shops last year. She begins a placement with Alexander McQueen in London next week. "I think this will be a really good opportunity for me," she said, adding that Yorkshire Fashion Week was "much needed".
The gala catwalk show will also feature the first Yorkshire Fashion Awards and there will be collections from successful working designers, including grande dame of British fashion Betty Jackson, prom and party wear designer Kevan Jon of Huddersfield and Bombay Stores of Bradford, award winners at last year's Asian Style Awards.
Shayaan Kader of Bombay Stores said he hoped Yorkshire Fashion Week would improve awareness of the county's historic and continuing contribution to fashion. "Going back 100 years ago, it was the fashion capital, maybe of the world."
Backed by Yorkshire Forward, Welcome to Yorkshire and Kirklees Council, the event aims to bring British fashion back to Yorkshire, where many of its great names – including Burton and Marks & Spencer – were forged, and where much of the UK's design and textile expertise continues to this day, with Yorkshire's colleges sending out skilled and talented graduates throughout the globe.
Halifax-born designer Christopher Bailey, creative director of Burberry, is also lending his support.
"As a Yorkshireman, I feel incredibly proud to be associated with such a fantastic initiative and expression of northern, British talent, and one that really reflects the heritage the county has always had in textiles, design, quality and creativity," he said.
"Burberry has a long-standing association with Yorkshire, producing our iconic rainwear in Castleford and regularly working with local initiatives and universities."
Presented by Huddersfield's Textile Centre for Excellence, Yorkshire Fashion Week will include shows from Leeds College of Art and Design, Bradford School of Art and Design, Doncaster College, Harrogate College, Kirklees College, and Leeds, Huddersfield and York St John universities.
The gala night at the Galpharm Stadium in Huddersfield will also feature an exhibition called Behind the Seams, organised by fashion skills council Skillfast-UK, showcasing the expertise behind UK brands such as Jasper Conran and Mulberry.
"We've got international buyers and representatives from all over the country coming," said John Warburton, YFW project director. "It's the first time ever that we have managed to co-ordinate all the colleges and universities across the region to work together."
He added that plans were already afoot for next year's Yorkshire Fashion Week, which will be even bigger than this year's event. "It will definitely be a grower."
Tickets for the Gala Evening at the Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield, on Friday, June 26, cost 25 from the Textile Centre for Excellence on 01484 346543.
LOCATION: Thanks to the Hon Simon and Mrs Howard of Castle Howard. www.castlehoward.co.uk
MODELS: Isabelle Mason, Holly Cuthbert, Emma Butterfield and Nader Musherdash of Louise Morton & Co, Huddersfield.
HAIR: Nicola Hulatt for West Row Hairdressing, www.westrow-hair.co.uk, call 01937 588 777.
PHOTOGRAPHY: James Hardisty