From lockdown loungewear to staycation style, this is the Yorkshire Post Magazine Fashion Review of the Year 2021

Fashion is alive and well and living in Yorkshire. Stephanie Smith takes a look back at the designers, the brands, the exhibitions and the influencers reflecting and reviewing the way we dressed in 2021.

The pandemic has changed fashion for the foreseeable future, perhaps forever but probably for the better, as so many of us made ease and sustainability our priorities when choosing how we dress and where we want to invest our money.

In January, we asked five Yorkshire style-setters to show us how their look and attitude to fashion had changed in recent times. One was Alana Mazza, former retail director of Hobbs, who, with her husband, Joe, sold their Huddersfield home five years ago to open Casale San Pietro, a boutique B&B in Lazio, Italy, specialising in food, wellbeing and cultural short breaks. Alana was already an expert in combining comfort with elegance, choosing loose-fitting separates in luxurious but breathable fabrics. “There is much more sunshine in Italy. We still need umbrellas and a light mac, and we do get a lot of rain, but nowhere near as much as Yorkshire,” she said. “Since moving to Italy and discovering Liviana Conti, it has become my go-to favourite designer. They are quite simple in design, but have nice quirky details.”

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We also interviewed the mesmerising singer-songwriter, author and fashion icon, Skin of Skunk Anansie, following her acceptance of the role of chancellor of Leeds Arts University. She pointed out that fashion, music and stage go hand in hand, and the arts must take a lead on issues students are dealing with – racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia.

Belonging: Fashion & A Sense of Place at the Bankfield Museum, Halifax. Elinor Camille-Wood, Curator, with the Alexander McQueen dresses inspired by Wuthering Heights, alongside an archive Yorkshire dress dating from the Brontes' era. Picture Bruce Rollinson

In March we showcased a collection by Batley-based designer Bo Carter, inspired by solitude, the Sahara and her fellow female marathon runners, modelled by Jemima Robinson, with beautiful images taken by Steve Gabbett. Bo Carter’s ethically-produced, organic designs sell across the world, via her own website and online retailers including Wolf & Badger and Not Just a Label.

Later that month we talked to internationally-acclaimed fashion designer Edward Crutchley, born and bred in the Dales, about his AW21 collection Florizel, inspired by the Bet Lynch, Hilda Ogden and other legendary stalwarts of Coronation Street, and by his own childhood in Yorkshire, with stunning images by Gomez de Villaboa. Working with great British manufacturers was, he said, “what I’m about – transparency, sustainability, buying the best that I can afford to buy and knowing that, from start to finish, everyone is taken care of and fairly paid and not exploited”. Northern style, he added, is a true British look, “more glamour-focused than this upper-class, weekend-in-the-country, tweedy, going-to-shoot-the-pheasant kind of look.”

In May we caught up with the legendary Rita Britton, creative director of Barnsley-based fashion house Nomad Atelier, to check out her Perfect collection, launched with a fashion shoot at the Civic Barnsley. “Lockdown alleviated a lot of the toxicity of keeping up with every new trend, and the pressure of having to buy a different outfit for every occasion,” she said.

It has been quite the year for York fashion designer and Leeds Beckett University lecturer Matty Bovan, who in May won both the 2021 International Woolmark Prize and the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation. He also showed virtually at both London Fashion Weeks and created a thought-provoking installation at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in October, inviting visitors to dress up in his designs, but no selfies were allowed as he encouraged us to think about what happens to our social media images.

Alana Mazza on the terrace of Casale San Pietro, her boutique B&B in Italy.

In August, with holidays back on the cards, we featured Yorkshire style-setters Georgia Earnshaw, Katherine Busby and Alex Payne as they shared their staycation wardrobe outfits and packing tips. Alex, of The Pod Online, a preloved designer fashion business, staged a fashion shoot in Ripon especially for us.

We also featured a photoshoot by Olivia Brabbs of Annie Stirk and Rachel Peru preparing for their Silver & Sassy fashion lunch at Goldsborough Hall, celebrating grey, white and silver hair.

September saw us in Halifax where we reported on the launch of Belonging: Fashion & A Sense of Place, a new exhibition at Bankfield Museum, bringing together works from designers including Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Cunnington and Sanderson, Sadie Clayton and Mary Benson, celebrating the enduring influence of Yorkshire’s textile industry.

In October we visited the charity Smart Works Leeds, at its base at Mabgate Mills in the city, where we met and photographed some of its recent clients wearing interview clothing gifted to them, along with coaching, to help them succeed in finding work.

A design by Leeds designer Bo Carter.

We also interviewed young entrepreneur Zoe Wotherspoon, who told us how she overcame dyslexia and a health scare to open her clothing and gift shop, Robin Gifts at Bo’ Grove in Harrogate. She persuaded some friends to join her for a fashion shoot, which I styled and James Hardisty photographed.

In November, we featured another of our own shoots, staged when James and I visited the Leyburn home of Tennants Auctioneers to preview its first dedicated fashion sale, with a private collection including jackets by Louis Vuitton and Alexander McQueen, modelled by youngsters Issie, Harry and Iona.

Also in November, the fashion pages were taken over by five of the UK’s most successful male hairdressers, all from Barnsley. Robert Eaton, Josh Wood, Simon Shaw, Chris Moody and Andrew Barton gathered in their home town to discuss how it had shaped and inspired them. To top it all, on November 29, Robert went on to win British Hairdresser of the Year 2021, bringing the trophy back to Yorkshire for the second time in three years.

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The story of how Yorkshire's mills, moors and canals influenced some of the worl...
A design by Yorkshire Dales born designer Edward Crutchley, inspired by the women of Coronation Street and his own upbringing.
Georgia Earnshaw, from Leeds, shares her staycation style, with help from the John Lewis Leeds styling team.
May: The team for the Perfect shoot at The Civic, Barnsley: l-r Joe Murphy, photographer; Chloe Grant, model (Industry Model Management); David Sinclair, head of visual arts and engagement, exhibition curator, The Civic, Barnsley; Rita Britton, creative director for Nomad Atelier and PERFECT Atelier; James Nightingale, creative assistant for Nomad and PERFECT,
Rachel Peru and Annie Stirk prepare for their Silver & Sassy fashion show at Goldsborough Hall.
October: Smart Works Leeds client Esther Osakwe Nonyelum. Smart Works provides clothing and interview coaching for unemployed women.
Zoe Wotherspoon wearing clothes from her shop Robin Gifts, which is at Bo Grove antiques shop, Oxford Street in Harrogate.
The Matty Bovan billboards promoting the Yorkshire Sculpture Park installation were in Sheffield and Manchester, in association with Jack Arts.
November: From our fashion shoot at Tennants Auctioneers in Leyburn in Sepetmber, Issie wears, from the private collection of a gentleman, circa 2008 Prada leopard printed hide coat, estimate: £800-1,200, plus buyer’s premium; circa 2006 Louis Vuitton Canwan Keepall 50 Bandouliere, estimate: £1,500-2,000 plus buyer’s premium.
The five hairdressers recently gathered in Barnsley, from left, Simon Shaw, Josh Wood, Andrew Barton, Robert Eaton and Chris Moody. Picture David Lindsay. Robert won British Hairdresser of the Year 2021 last month.
Award-winning embroidery artist David Morrish creates a bespoke design jacket for Castleford interior designer Siobhan Murphy.