As we await the opening of John Lewis Leeds, Stephanie Smith takes a look at some of the Yorkshire brands that will be stocked in the prestigious new store.
When John Lewis opens its doors at the new Victoria Gate shopping centre in Leeds this autumn, it will provide not only a heaven for style-loving shoppers, but also a haven for Yorkshire fashion and design brands, both emerging and established.
Keen to support local design and business, the retail giant’s buyers have been on the hunt for the best that Yorkshire has to offer, so that the new store will have a very special offer all of its own.
Fashion designer Julia D’Albert, from Leeds, trained at the London College of Fashion and Central St Martins. A winner of the Merchant Taylors’ Company Silver Shears award, her label D’Albert will be stocked in John Lewis Leeds, after the Centre for Fashion Enterprise (CFE), a pioneer programme which helps independent designers, organised a meeting with the fashion buying team at John Lewis, who loved the minimalist and modern sports tech designs that she had created specifically for the Leeds shop.
“This means a great deal to me, to be stocked in a national retailer of this level. I’m so proud that my line will be stocked in the new shop in Leeds, especially as I grew up and still live just outside the city centre, so all my family and friends will be able to see my designs up close.
“I’m hoping that this will be the launch pad, and that I can continue to build relationships with other John Lewis shops and buyers across the UK.
“When John Lewis comes knocking, you can’t pass up that opportunity.”
Cathy Poole, also from Leeds, is another local designer looking forward to seeing her label, Cabba, stocked in John Lewis Leeds.
Cathy studied physiology and pharmacology at university, then worked in the pharmaceuticals industry before setting up an event business which she owned for 10 years.
“It was only when I approached 40 that I decided it was time to re-route my career and pursue my love for fashion,” she says. “So, I went back to basics and took it upon myself to learn and develop skills from drawing and design, to pattern drafting, sewing and tailoring skills. It was interesting for me to see how many skills were transferable from my science background – the precision and accuracy required to create a garment is incredible.”
She launched Cabba in 2014 and was offered a place CFE Pioneer Programme to develop her brand. “An integral ethos of the Cabba brand is ‘Made in Britain’ and the support of the rich textile and design heritage in Yorkshire.
“My approach to fashion explores the juxtaposition of British eccentricity with the renowned British reserve. Each piece in my label has clean lines, a beautiful cut and fit, combined with a typically British, understated twist.
“Leeds has seen a huge investment in the retail sector that has not only put the city on the map at a national level, but also internationally. The presence of a brand like John Lewis with such calibre will bring Leeds into the retail spotlight even more and I am incredibly proud to be a part of it.”
Yorkshire luxury cashmere label Pure Collection, based in Harrogate, is an example of a well-established Yorkshire brand that will be available at John Lewis Leeds. The label is already stocked in John Lewis stores across the UK and online. Founded in 2002, it is now one of the largest direct and online retailers of cashmere in the world.
Its trademark is “British style meets luxury cashmere”, but the brand also designs and makes beautiful clothes in silk, linen, cotton, jersey and other luxe materials. It has a standalone shop in York and is also stocked in John Lewis Sheffield.
As well as cashmere this winter, look out Pure Collection’s drapey silk blouses and fitted leather skirts, cropped wool trousers and cleverly designed, forgiving dresses and tops in soft jersey.
Smaller Yorkshire companies will also be championed by John Lewis Leeds through a collaboration with the Harrogate-based Great British Exchange. The “Made Locally” initiative will showcase 120 products from 11 Yorkshire suppliers, and the products will also be available on johnlewis.com. Brands include the Harrogate Candle Company, Martha and Hepsie, Myroo, the Art Rooms, Bags by Butterfly Tree, Tipple Tails, Jolly Smith, Jane Katherine Houghton, Little Red Berry and Yorkshire Deli.
John Lewis Leeds opens at Victoria Gate Shopping Centre in Leeds on October 20.