Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Fashion Fix: North country boy

Among the geographical pit stops during last week’s half-term road trip, my son and I made a trip to Bradford to visit my mother’s hometown. Not wishing to offend any readers from that part of West Yorkshire, but the city seemed badly in need of some love.
My childhood memories of Bradford are of that mythical place where people left back doors open, where the idle chitter-chatter of neighbours gossiping between washing lines provided background noise, and where as kids we would play cricket on the cobbled streets late into the evenings, with streetlamps instead of floodlights and milk-crates used as stumps.

Until the age of 13 I spent every school holiday living with my grandmother and enjoyed a sense of freedom missing from life at home in London. Back then there was still a textiles industry in Bradford. The city was built around fabric mills with micro-communities living and working around these factories. Even in the 1970s many of these mills continued to provide employment for many of the first generation Pakistani immigrants who had flocked to Bradford in the 1950s and 1960s.

Today the mills have largely closed down, and where once the huge factories clattered to the sound of industry they are now largely populated by pigeons. The only textile mill I spotted during various drives around the city that was still in business was Hield, which continues to provide fabrics for both the fashion and furnishing markets.

In the city centre I also noticed a space earmarked for a new Westfield shopping centre aimed at lifting the city’s retail options beyond the bargain basement retailers that litter a once proud shopping destination. Judging by my cousins and their friends the younger people in Bradford are a brand-hungry lot – for reference, G-Star was the brand of choice with nods to perennial favourite Stone Island – and the introduction of a new shopping centre should go some way in dissuading them from travelling to Leeds and Sheffield. If the city can sustain the forthcoming Westfield development the icing on the cake would be the arrival of a new wave of young fashion indies.

Do you live and work in or near Bradford? If so, I would like to read about your impressions of the city and any memories you may have of the city’s illustrious history as the textiles hub of the UK.

Readers' comments (1)

  • As Eric Musgrave will attest, I too have endured the mills of Bradford. I cut my financial teeth auditing many of them - from Saltaire through Bradford to Halifax.Grim working conditions. But their presence and activity gave a certain puposefulness to the West Riding which the migration to service inmdustries comes nowhere near replicating.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.