While London remains the undisputed fashion capital of the UK (and now the world, for a second consecutive year,) the city of Leeds is doing its best to win this title, as it seems to have unofficially established itself as the fashion capital of the North already.
Like London, Leeds has long been a key player in the fashion and textile industry, serving as the Yorkshire home of the cloth trade and handling one-sixth of the cloth exports from all of England at its peak. Leeds became a booming mill town during the Industrial Revolution thanks to the textile business, during which the Marks & Spencers, Next and Burton brands were all founded in the city (Next began life as Hepworth & Son; and Burton, which once had a factory in Leeds, now belongs to the Arcadia Group.)
The aim of the nonprofit Leeds Fashion Show, now in its seventh year, is to continue this legacy of prominence in the fashion industry by bringing together up-and-coming local talent. This year features 26 designers, jewelry makers, and milliners partnering with area makeup artists and models to showcase themselves and their work in Leeds Town Hall. To further its goal of encouraging fashion industry growth in Yorkshire, Leeds Fashion Show has partnered with LOL! Leeds Online for its first ever digital fashion week, featuring designer profiles, “made in Leeds” spotlights, contests, industry interviews, and even a piece on Leeds United’s new football kit.
The fashion show itself is open to the public, with tickets ranging from £10 to £25 depending on the seating package. Doors open an hour before the show for those wishing to browse the stalls and do some networking. When you’re not at the show, LOL! Leeds Online has a great list of art-related events to enjoy during the rest of the weekend.