Fashion firm set up by Yorkshire farming family proves a hit with cape fans around the world

A fashion business set up by a Yorkshire farming family is proving a hit with fans of tweed capes around the world.

Galijah is winning fans around the world. Picture: Charlotte Graham

The firm’s success shows that bold decisions to diversify can help rural businesses secure new revenue streams.

Galijah, set up by Sarina Dean at her family’s 190-acre farm at Oldstead near York, produces individually hand-crafted tweed capes which are now selling as far afield as Japan and America.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sarina’s mother Patti has now come on board to support the business as it expands.

Ms Dean said: “I was keen to explore how we used our wool in other ways and investigated the idea of unique tweed capes.

She added: “Now, in order to keep up with demand my mother has become involved with the design and sewing process too”.

Initially, the capes were sold locally in the farming and equine community, but word soon spread and the family set up a website for online sales to cope with demand from overseas.

The family has also started a range of dresses, skirts, Gilets and accessories.

This summer they will take part in their first fashion show as one of the new Yorkshire companies on the catwalk at the Great Yorkshire Show’s Kuoni Catwalk.

“It’s incredibly exciting but nerve-wracking as this is our first fashion show,” said Ms Dean.

The company name, Galijah comes from Sarina’s two sons, 10-year-old Gabriel and 7-year-old Elijah, while the latest family addition, Xavier is represented with an x in the company logo.

The family’s 250 strong flock is made up of several breed types.

After trials with wool from their rare breed Manx Loaghtan sheep, Ms Dean decided to experiment with different wool types.

After finding the perfect fabric from the wool from their own sheep, Ms Dean is also working with Marton Mills, a traditional family owned weaving mill near Otley to help the business grow.

Ms Dean said; “We think our clothes are a little different to anything you can buy in the shops and we can’t wait to see the reaction of people at the fashion show at the Great Yorkshire Show. It’s all happening so quickly and we are very excited about the future”.

Ms Dean said she had been delighted with customers’ response to her new enterprise.

She said: “It just seemed a logical thing to do. We do get some enquiries from quite far afield. I really don’t know how big the business could become. I am just playing it by ear.

“My advice to others is, ‘just go for it’. You just have to have a fresh idea. We are really excited by how the business has taken off.

“It’s very rewarding seeing people wearing capes that you have made. Everybody is wanting to go back to basics. People like to know the heritage of something.”

The show’s director, Charles Mills says: “We are delighted to be showcasing the work of a Yorkshire farmer on the Kuoni Catwalk.

Mr Mills added: “The show is one of the biggest agricultural events in the UK. It’s about showing the diverse way of life on farms throughout the country, and Sarina’s work does exactly that.”

The Great Yorkshire Show’s Fashion section is set to get a makeover this year with a new home and a new entrance, which opens into the heart of the historic showground.

A spokesman for the Great Yorkshire Show, said: “The GYS Fashion Show, which has been part of the three-day-event for more than 20 years, will be next door to its former home, with more seating around the Kuoni Catwalk, as 7,000 visitors will now get the chance to watch the show.