Fashion has always pioneered new ways of thinking and working, challenging accepted norms and showing the way towards a better, kinder, more sustainable world.
Yorkshire textile mills might not be as plentiful as they once were, but the county continues to be at the forefront of world-leading fashion manufacture, design and development, from global brands such as Burberry to small independent makers focusing on sustainability – the watchword in fashion for 2019. This year has seen designers and retailers join campaigners in addressing alarming statistics, not least that 11 million garments a week end up in UK landfill, while the textile industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than shipping and aviation combined.
Yorkshire students are pioneering fresh thinking and in February, we featured the Keepers of Lost Clothes project in which students at Leeds Beckett University reworked unwanted shirts into desirable new clothes as they explored ways towards an aspirational sustainability.
Yorkshire designers Matty Bovan and Edward Crutchley wowed at London Fashion Week while Ricardo Tisci presented his second collection for Burberry, showcasing the manufacturing excellence of its Castleford plant.
Also in February, we profiled 32-year-old family business Glencroft Countrywear, based in the Yorkshire Dales, championing British-made knitwear sold at markets and fairs across the UK. Lotherton Hall, meanwhile, celebrated its 50th birthday as a museum with an exhibition called Fashion Forward featuring Yorkshire designers including Cunnington & Sanderson, Bo Carter and Faye Hindle.
March was the month we swooned over ball gowns as we created a special shoot at Bowcliffe Hall, Bramham, celebrating the rise of the school prom with three young Yorkshire models wearing Yorkshire brands Eternity Bridal, Kate Fearnley and Johnny Tuxedo.
Meanwhile, The Apprentice 2018 winner, Leeds swimwear designer Sian Gabbidon, launched a new range by her brand Sian Marie and York Fashion Week brought together big names Vivienne Westwood, McQueen, Louis Vuitton and John Lewis with independent designers and new diversity models.
In April we featured the striking designs of Huddersfield’s Georgia Boniface, who combines art with wearability (how we loved her pockets).
May saw Marks & Spencer take to the stage in Bradford with Dressed in Time, the story of British fashion and shopping, created by the M&S Company Archive at the University of Leeds. Vintage fashion was showcased in a beautiful shoot at Sunny Bank Mills featuring actor Rose Muirhead wearing clothes from Rose & Brown Vintage.
In June we previewed July’s Great Yorkshire Show Fashion Pavilion, always a highlight. This year, Bernadette Gledhill brought together a catwalk featuring Harrogate designer Jillian Welch, capes from sheep farmer Galijah, celebrity designer Mary Benson, plus John Lewis, Keighley-based Brook Taverner and more. Among the stars modelling was paralympian Hannah Cockcroft who took part in a special Yorkshire Post shoot at Sandersons department stores.
In July we teamed up with Bettys to mark its centenary with an afternoon tea themed fashion shoot at RHS Harlow Carr Gardens with clothes provided by Catherine Smith Vintage. Also that month, emergency nurse Andy Boocock, AKA Very Inky Dude – a man making a name for himself as a Yorkshire influencer and model – showed off his tattoos and extensive wardrobe at Leeds Dock while textile designer and children’s author Malcolm Campbell turned model at The Ivy Harrogate for our fashion pages in August.
The society style event of the year was undoubtedly the August wedding of pop star Ellie Goulding and Caspar Jopling at York Minster, where she wore a bespoke Chloé gown designed by Natacha Ramsay-Lévi and embroidered with white Yorkshire roses.
In September Joanna Lumley, also looking absolutely fabulous, posed for The Yorkshire Post when she came to Sandersons department store at Sheffield’s Fox Valley to open its new Wellness Spa. And we marked the Second Hand September campaign by highlighting the work of Oxfam Wastesaver Batley, which saves more than 12,000 tonnes of clothing from going to landfill every year, sending much to its project Senegal, as well as selling designer finds via Oxfam Online.
We previewed the Leeds launch of Smart Works, the UK charity championed by Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, which helps women back into work by providing them with clothing and coaching.
October saw the legend that is Dame Joan Collins headline the Made Up Leeds beauty festival, and we also featured the nine Go Racing in Yorkshire’s Best Dressed Ladies Day finalists. Yorkshire fashion lecturer Louise Stocks-Young launched new brand The Smockworks offering exquisite, handmade working dresses.
And so to November, when we profiled the career and work of Robert Eaton, creative director of Russell Eaton, which has hair salons in Leeds and Barnsley. Robert had been nominated for that month’s British Hairdresser of the Year 2019 – and he won, bringing the title back to Yorkshire for the first time in 13 years.