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Saltaire event looks at why wool is back in fashion
It was the wool trade that made Bradford an international powerhouse in the 19th century – and now the district is leading the way again in the textile world.
As UK Wool Week looms in October, major designers are championing the material and the fashion world is gearing up to welcome the sheep-stuff back to the fold.
Which is why an exhibition that has opened as part of the Saltaire Festival and runs until November could not have been more timely.
Wool Re-Fashioned is a collaboration between the Yorkshire Fashion Archive and the Woolmark Company. It has opened at Gallery 2 in Salts Mill as one of the events of the Saltaire Festival, but will continue to run after the festival closes until November 11.
Students and staff at the School of Design at the University of Leeds got together with the Woolmark Company, which works with wool producers and clothing manufacturers to promote the industry and the product, for the exhibition.
They teamed up with the Yorkshire Fashion Archive to present pertinent wool-based pieces from the archive, which was recently set up to offer a publicly accessible collection of haute couture, fashion garments and everyday clothing.
The archive’s collection is not just about the clothes though - it allies them to their place in time and social history going back a century. The pieces selected for the exhibition all have some kind of link to Yorkshire.
Ranging from the 1940s to 1980s, on show are designer labels such as Issey Miyake, Comme de Garcons and Ossie Clark, through to high street favourites Laura Ashley and Marks & Spencer and also exquisite home-made wedding dresses.
Admission to Wool Re-Fashioned is free. Gallery 2 at Salts Mill is open Monday-Friday, 10am to 5.3pm and 10am to 6pm at weekends.