AW Hainsworth and Yorkshire Textiles Launch New Heritage Cloth

Yorkshire mill AW Hainsworth and Yorkshire Textiles have collaborated on a unique project to bring the region’s textile heritage to life for a new generation of fashion designers.

With designs programmed using punch cards, the jacquard loom is credited with using the earliest form of coding. The project builds on this heritage of innovation by taking historic jacquard punch cards from Leeds Industrial Museum, digitising the designs, and using them as the inspiration for a unique ‘New Heritage’ cloth.

Jacquard loom

The project was supported by Future Fashion Factory as part of its first innovation funding call earlier this year.

Future Fashion Factory is a five-year, £5.4m industry-led project supporting innovation in the fashion and textile industry. It is part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme, an £80 million initiative led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of the Industrial Strategy. The Programme is led by the University of Leeds in partnership with the University of Huddersfield and Royal College of Art.

A short film about the project premiered at Future Fashion Factory’s Year 1 Showcase at Salts Mill, Saltaire, on Wednesday 16 October. It follows designer Rebecca Ough’s journey through the project, from examining the historic jacquard punch card designs held at Leeds Industrial Museum through to seeing the finished product come to life.

Unique items made in the New Heritage cloth by designers at Hainsworth Creative Hub, as well as garments specially constructed for the event by the School of Design at the University of Leeds, were also on display.

The New Heritage cloth project highlights the spirit of innovation that has been at the heart of Yorkshire’s textile industry since its earliest days. It has also supported new innovative developments, enabling AW Hainsworth to trial a designer-led short run production service for bespoke fabrics.

Using this new capability and the new fabrics, Yorkshire Textiles will develop educational projects engaging designers and students with both the heritage and the production processes behind bespoke fabric products.

Julie Greenough, Marketing Manager at AW Hainsworth, said:

“Being part of the first Future Fashion Factory funding call was a fantastic opportunity to be able to work on a project combining heritage and innovation within textiles. Our commitment to developing the fashion fabrics of the future while maintaining our link to our past is key to our fashion business.

“Delivering a positive commercial outcome in line with Future Fashion Factory allows us to create more focused plans for the future.”

For more information please contact Sarah Parkin, Future Fashion Factory Communications & Digital Engagement Officer:

Email: extsp@leeds.ac.uk Tel: +44 (113) 343-6934