Leeds Fashion Initiative is a new project launched by independent retail and events space Lambert’s Yard, Leeds City Council and Centre for Fashion Enterprise. The aim is to make Leeds the fashion capital of the North, and so far they’ve got some big names involved – Burberry, Aquascutum and Christopher Raeburn will all be showing some of their key pieces at the launch event this month. We spoke to Retail Director Adam Jagger!
Can you tell me about the project?
We’re working with a lot of older textile mills, collaborating with young designers, working with the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, which is the business wing of the London College of Fashion and setting up the New Market Entry Programme where young designers and young brands can come to receive support that can help develop their business.
How did the project begin?
It was the brainchild of the team at Lambert’s Yard and it’s in partnership with Leeds City Council. It has been bubbling away for a couple of years but these things can take a while to get going. It feels like the right time to be launching now, especially because Leeds is having a really good turn at the moment. I’ve been away in London for the last 10 years, but I moved back a year ago and for me Leeds feels like it has changed so much.
What have you organised for the launch event?
We’re showcasing a lot of Yorkshire talent and a lot of national talent with Yorkshire links – such as Burberry who have just announced they’re opening a factory creating 1000 jobs. That’s very much what the initiative is about; creating jobs in the area and retaining talent in Yorkshire.
How did you get the big brands are involved?
There’s a lot of support out there for someone to do something like this and there’s a lot of links to Yorkshire because it has so many good mills and so much textile heritage. A lot of people have a soft spot for Yorkshire and want to see it succeed.
What has been the most challenging part?
As ever with these things, being a commercial project we haven’t had as much time as we’d like! But everyone has been very supportive – it’s just a case of not having enough time and enough people but I think that’s just part of any project. If it wasn’t challenging it wouldn’t be fun.
The New Market Entry Programme is a two-day workshop on 30 November and 1 December. Head to www.fashion-enterprise.com to find out more.