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Yorkshire mills and RCA fashion designers collaborate for Wool Week


Emerging fashion designers from the Royal College of Art have collaborated with Yorkshire’s prestigious heritage woollen mills to produce unique garments marking Wool Week 2020.

Future Fashion Factory connected designers and mills from its network of over 250 fashion and textile businesses and professionals across the UK. The result is a stunning range of unique pieces that celebrate the UK fashion industry’s global reputation for heritage, luxury, innovation and craftsmanship.

With support from Cardiff-based industry partners BrandLab Fashion, each outfit has also been translated into a virtual showroom where it can be viewed online here.

The collection consists of:

  • A ladies’ tailored jacket by Lee Hurst in a red and black bespoke jacquard ‘New Heritage’ AW Hainsworth cloth

Future Fashion Factory Wool Week Lee Hurst

  • A new luxury take on the classic denim jacket by Yvonne Lim and Shaonan Xu at The Array, made in indigo lambswool from Joshua Ellis

Future Fashion Factory Wool Week

  • A hand-knit sweater by Jennifer Koch in natural-coloured Sheepsoft yarn from Laxtons – the pattern for Jennifer’s design will be available to download from the byLaxtons website bylaxtons.co.uk

Future Fashion Factory Wool Week

  • A unisex tailored jacket by Ben Osborn in dark blue Travel Resistant lightweight wool worsted by Dormeuil

Future Fashion Factory Wool Week

  • Shirt, shorts and jacket by Danielle Elsener in super-light 100’s wool and mohair twill by John Foster

Future Fashion Factory Wool Week

Each designer is a recent graduate of the Royal College of Art and has brought their own distinctive style to working with luxury cloth from historic mills.

Susan Postlethwaite, Senior Tutor (Research) Fashion at the Royal College of Art, said: “This innovative new project allows some of the RCA’s best graduate designers direct access to the UK’s top fabric producers and mills. This opportunity brings together unique design skills with exceptional textiles in a collaboration that showcases the best of our world class industry.”

Peter Ackroyd, COO of The Campaign for Wool, said: “Continued education and learning is so important for emerging designers to learn the natural performance benefits and the handling of wool into garments. It has been fantastic to see the support of British spinners, mills and manufacturers in this project, targeting the post-graduation level of emerging designers and aiding their journey into industry and commercial experiences which is very much on topic for the 10 year anniversary of the Campaign for Wool Student Design Competition project for Wool Week.”

Suzy Shepherd, Co-Director of Future Fashion Factory, said: “All of the designers involved in the project have told us what a dream the cloth and yarn has been to work with. Yorkshire’s mills have been producing luxury woollen products for centuries and continue in the spirit of innovation shared by RCA’s visionary designers. We are very proud to have brought these collaborations together, showcasing the unique manufacturing and design skills in the UK fashion industry.”

Future Fashion Factory is part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme, an £80 million initiative led by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The Programme is led by the University of Leeds in partnership with the University of Huddersfield and Royal College of Art. UKFT’s Adam Mansell is chair of the Future Fashion Factory project.