Almond, Kevin (2012) Made in Yorkshire: Harnessing the Zeitgeist. In: Fashioning the City: Exploring Fashion Cultures, Structures and Systems, 19th - 21st September 2012, Royal College of Art, London. (Submitted)

This research was inspired by a meeting at The Textile Centre of Excellence in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, instigated by Rita Britton, the owner of the iconic independent fashion boutique Pollyanna, based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire (FIRST SLIDE). After conversations with the president of the Huddersfield Textile Society and fashion journalist Colin McDowell (SECOND SLIDE), Rita had formed a vision centred on creating a fashion label that combined the use of heritage Yorkshire fabrics with cutting edge contemporary design. The range would be designed, produced and marketed in the Yorkshire region capitalising on the manufacturing and design skills within the county. The intention was to put the concept of a ‘Made in Yorkshire’ brand on the global fashion map as a credible entity. This investigation seeks to establish the history and culture of fashion in Yorkshire, assessing the viability for creating a fashion brand beyond the confines of a major fashion city. As fashion has become a globalised industry the established fashion powers of New York, London, Milan and Paris have been usurped by cities such as Shanghai, Los Angeles, Copenhagen and Melbourne etc. There has been little expansion however of fashion hubs beyond the nucleus of major cities. Although many designers and consumers of fashion products exist in smaller provincial areas these metropolitan giants overshadow them. Regional centres lack the sophistication and edge of cosmopolitan municipals and have to tap into different cultures and traditions to inspire them when creating fashion products. Fashion perpetually attempts to harness the Zeitgeist. This is centred in a general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, or political climate. Fashion reflects this through an ambiance, direction, and mood usually emanating from stylish capitals or resorts that attract those who aspire to be fashionable. There is a relative lack of research that addresses the development of fashion within provinces around the world and how this impacts upon design, production and consumption. This paper seeks to redress this by emphasizing the wealth of fashion related activity within the Yorkshire region that both responds to and creates its own ‘spirit of the times’. (THIRD SLIDE)

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