Skye’s the limit for style

TARTAN is big this season, but this time it’s upholstery, and made in Yorkshire. Designer Jamie Hempsall reports.

The most interesting element of this trend has been the development of wool ranges which allow you to enjoy the key elements of comfort and warmth and combine them with the incredible natural hard-wearing properties of this versatile medium.

Many of the wool ranges have their own delicate take on traditional designs with colour palettes ranging from the dark hues of a winter’s evening to the fresh spring tones of highland heather – something to suit most interior schemes. One of the new collections which has caught my attention for a number of reasons is the “Isles of Skye” from Prestigious Textiles. I am very familiar with the quality and diversity that this Bradford-based firm continues to deliver in their fabrics and this new wool range is a great addition to their portfolio.

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These new designs pay tribute to ancient craftsmen via the inclusion of reversible plaid, twill and herringbone patterns, but also feature a number of dainty spot interpretations that give a clever contemporary edge.

The range features a variety of heritage colour-ways (such as pink/green and amethyst/lavender) as well as some beautiful single-colour renditions in cool azure or warm earth tones.

I always seek to use local craftspeople wherever possible, so was delighted to find that this range was not only conceived and designed within Yorkshire, but is being manufactured there as well. This is surely a great testament that the British textile industry is alive and kicking in an era where there is strong competition from both European and Asian imports.

Prestigious Textiles have chosen to work with Guiseley-based Abraham Moon & Sons who have been manufacturing wool fabrics since 1837, the year that Queen Victoria succeeded to the British throne.

Moons grew rapidly from selling their wares in Leeds Market to exporting to emerging markets such as Japan as early as the 1890s. They have always adapted to serve the needs of their times, providing shirts and greatcoats in the First World War, new fashion fabrics as demand emerged in the 1920s and now key ranges of upholstery fabrics to satisfy this current trend. The company controls all of the process on one site, from dyeing and blending the raw wool to weaving and finishing the fabrics.

They have remained under family ownership for four generations of the Walsh family, who purchased the firm from the Moon family in 1920. Trevor Helliwell, managing director of Prestigious Textiles, explained why the company had decided to use Yorkshire manufacturers for their new range: “We initially contemplated using Italian manufacturers, but they were of a far greater price point. Moons give value for money and offer the best quality. Their experience of manufacturing wool fabrics is invaluable and in conjunction with our design team, we have created this fantastic new range as wool is now a fashionable choice for home textiles.”

The combination of a Guisley-based manufacturer working closely with the design and sales teams of Bradford-based Prestigious Textiles ensure that this range truly deserves its “Made in England” stamp. Trevor Helliwell is excited about the potential for these fabrics, adding they “offer great scope to develop international trade, and it is a privilege to sell our wool to the rest of the world”.

I echo those sentiments entirely and am looking forward to using these great textures in my next project.

• The Isles of Skye collection is part of the Prestigious Textiles Exclusive Range around £65 per metre (for stockists call 01274 684448; www.prestigious.co.uk).