Yorkshire's textile industry celebrated with Tour de Fleece

Wharfedale Observer: (6674519)Gary Verity wearing a jacket made from 40 mile fleece (6674519)Gary Verity wearing a jacket made from 40 mile fleece

Yorkshire's textile history is being celebrated with a locally made cloth dubbed the Tour de Fleece.

The fabric, which is produced with the help of Laxton's Mill in Guiseley, has been used to make a special one-off jacket for Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Gary Verity.

The project, which is supported by Leeds City Council, celebrates the rich textile history of the region through the production of a high-quality ‘forty mile fleece’ - travelling just forty miles from fleece to fabric.

The cloth is using only British wool with an eco pedigree that considers the environmental impact of its production.

Developed by designer Susan Gaunt, who is working closely with Suzy Shepherd of Leeds Fashion Works and Yorkshire Textiles, the group is using the expertise of Laxton’s Mill in Guiseley, bespoke tailors ‘Carl Stuart’ of Ossett and textile finishers WT Johnson of Huddersfield to produce the cloth.

The talents of a young designer and cutter at Samuel Bros in Leeds have also been used to create ladies jackets from the forty mile fleece.

The project is funded by Leeds City Council as part of its work to support the textile sector and supported by Welcome to Yorkshire.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills said: "The specialist skills which are needed on a project such as this one are a real testament to the tremendous history, tradition and innovation which exists in Yorkshire’s manufacturing and textiles industry. It’s brilliant to see the heritage and skills of years gone by influencing work going on today and in the future."

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: "It’s great to see Yorkshire’s heritage and home grown wools being combined and crafted into something that reflects just that. Our county is famous for its countryside and agriculture, so to have a product that is eco-friendly and 100% uniquely Yorkshire is great news."

Susan Gaunt who developed the cloth with Laxton’s Mill said "I wanted to reinvent the image of British wool and show that a soft luxurious cloth could be created from what has often been an undervalued resource with the minimum environmental impact."

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