Dress Rehearsal launches Yorkshire Fashion Archive at Salts Mill with a little help from Burberry

A Yorkshire fashion archive is launched with the help of one of the world's leading designers <br/>Photographs by Joan Russell

He’s probably one of the most unassuming fashion icons we have in this country but Christopher Bailey, chief creative officer of luxury brand Burberry, knows how to galvanize support for the industry and gifted young designers.

Burberry has donated several iconic trench coats to the new Yorkshire Fashion Archive launched by Leeds University, which aims to record the county’s fashion through the ages. Bailey, born and bred in Yorkshire, is patron of the archive as well as a member of the executive committee and was at the launch.

‘As a proud Yorkshireman, I would like to thank you for having me in the gang,’ said Bailey. ‘It’s a real privilege to take on this role working with people I admire.

My roots are hugely important to me. I still live here, in Halifax.’Burberry, a global company, still manufactures its iconic trench coats in Castleford, West Yorkshire. Bailey, 39, studied at Dewsbury and Batley College of Art and began his working career at the Beverly Summers wedding boutique in Harrogate. He is credited with transforming Burberry into a global brand and making it one of the world’s most influential designers.

He has collected many awards in recognition of his services to fashion including the MBE and a number of honorary university doctorates including ones from Huddersfield and Sheffield Hallam.

His support of the Yorkshire Fashion Archive at the School of Design, University of Leeds which aims to encourage its future development through sponsorship and donations, is just one of his projects to encourage young designers, especially from his home county. He attended Yorkshire’s first fashion week to support the region’s emerging gifted designers.

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The archive’s first exhibition, Dress Rehearsal at Salts Mill, Saltaire, explores Yorkshire life in the 20th century revealed through clothing and accessories. Many of the garments have been donated with accompanying photographs images, information and anecdotes.

The aim of the archive is to help young designers, scholars and fashion lovers understand the impact social change can have on the way we dress and present ourselves to the outside world.

Dress Rehearsal at Salts Mill runs until May 15th. Gallery 2 is open Monday-Friday 10am-5.30pm and Saturday-Sunday 10am-6pm, and admission is free.

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