Yorkshire woman weaves a career out of Britsh wool

Three years ago Adriana Gentile set up her own homewares business for wool products. Catherine Scott reports.

Weaving is Adriana Gentile’s DNA. Her great-grandad used to make looms and now she has set up her own business in a former textile mill in Leeds.

“I have always been creative,” explains Adriana,

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“My mum taught me to knit when I was very young and I think that’s where my love of wool came from. She was always making things and I probably got it from her.”

She studied art and design at sixth-form before going onto study textile design in Birmingham, where she was able to develop her own style of design.

Throughout her degree Adriana’s love for weaving grew, but she found herself afraid of creating colour combinations within her designs.

During her final year, she knew that she had to tackle her issue as it was holding her back.

She went from being afraid of colour, to building a business that is unique in its use of colour.

“I just love colour, and in particular mixing my own colours which are then used to dye the wool.”

After leaving university, Adriana knew she wanted to continue weaving.

She was able to buy her first loom with a business loan from The Princes Trust and her business began and she set up a studio in her home city.

Adriana’s first major commission came soon after.

She created a piece of textile art for the famous Great Fosters. The hotel has an impressive list of Royal visitors, also where Charlie Chaplin was a regular guest.

And although she loved creating textile art, Adriana realised that she would have to diversify if she was to make a business out of her passion for wool. Her passion for British manufacturing saw her business develop and in 2016 Adriana Homewares was born.

Specialising in designing textiles for the home, such as cushions and throws, Adriana works with only 100 per cent wool yarns, which she has specifically dyed to her own unique shades.

All the wool is Bluefaced Leicester Wool, a long lustre wool, with its long fibres produce a yarn prized for its softness and durability, perfect characteristics for upholstery and soft furnishings.

“I wanted to create a contemporary textile brand with an honest ethos, that uses beautifully coloured soft woollen yarns,” she explains.

“But I kept finding that all the yarns on the market were itchy or dull coloured, so I decided to spin and dye to my own unique wool yarns.

“It’s thanks to the brilliant British and in particular Yorkshire manufacturers that make it possible and help create my vision.

“We pride ourselves on our Yorkshire heritage as well as our limited carbon footprint. With all our processes – from fleece to finished product – taking place within Yorkshire. All our ranges are named after places in Yorkshire.”

The Whitby range is nautical blues and greens then there is the best-selling Howardian and Hovingham ranges.

“All our range ideas start out as an experiment of colour and pattern, hand-dyed and hand-woven on a traditional loom in our Leeds studio.

“Next our designs and specifications are sent to our manufacturers’ state-of-the-art mills to be brought to life. Each piece is then hand finished.”

Now, Adriana works from a historic mill, which has over 200 years of expertise in military textiles.

“Our plan is to bring all of our manufacturing here under one roof.”

Adriana Homewares supplies a range of Interior Designers nationally and are stocked in a number of independent boutiques including Redbrick Mill in Batley.

“We like working with interior designers as we can do bespoke colours for their clients if they 

She has also taken her designs to number of trade shows across the country, including exhibiting as part of London Design Week.

Adriana Homewares has also had opportunities to venture internationally, by exhibiting at prestigious show and trade fairs.

As well as homewares Adriana designs scarfs and wraps and has just launched her mummy and me collection.

“Scarves are one of our best sellers,” explains Adriana.

“And then I thought it would be nice to do a range of smaller versions for children. Every young girl wants to look like her mum and now she can.”

Adriana believes her products are competitively priced when you look at all the work that goes into it.

Children’s scarves cost from £25 with the adult version £75.

Cushions are between £70 and £85 (some in the sale are reduced to £36) and throws £180.

Adriana also believes that there is a move back to quality purchases,

“Of course there is always the challenges from fast fashion and cheaper homewares, “she says.

“But I do think there are more and more people wanting to buy something of quality. They may not buy it as often but it will last a lot longer.”

Adriana Homewares can be found at Leeds Creative Hub inside AW Hainsworths in Stanningly

For more information visit www.adrianahomewares.com