Leeds concept store Lambert’s Yard is launching a new programme to support emerging fashion designers and re-establish the city as a leading centre for design, garment and textile manufacture.
The store has partnered with the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, part of the London College of Fashion, as well as Leeds City Council and charity Regeneration Through The Arts to form the Leeds Fashion Initiative, which will launch on November 25.
As part of a three-year strategy that aims to reinvigorate the city’s fashion, clothing and textiles industries, the partners will set up the first Fashion Design Incubator outside of London with a training facility and garment technology workshops.
“We have lofty ambitions, but it seems to be gathering momentum,” said Adam Jagger, the former Ralph Lauren, Topman, Asos.com and Coggles buyer who became retail director at Lambert’s Yard in July last year. “There is so much going on in the Leeds fashion scene at the moment that it feels a lot like east London 10 years ago in terms of interest and creativity.
“We are working with local designers and universities to put together a show to demonstrate what Leeds can do and we’ll hold a big fashion show to launch the Fashion Initiative [on November 25].”
Emerging designers can apply to be part of the programme and will receive free-of-charge training and practical business advice. Successful applicants will be assessed by interview and receive support tailored to their individual circumstances. They will also have the opportunity to be stocked in Lambert’s Yard.
“We’re looking for people fresh out of university, established brands that have not yet reached their full potential or people looking to come back to the region after some time away,” said Jagger.
The project is also looking for new external partners to provide funding and support and plans to establish a Leeds Fashion Initiative steering group of industry stakeholders to guide the long-term strategy.
Lambert’s Yard is a 4,000 sq ft concept store, which opened in November 2014 and positions itself as ‘the home of independent fashion’, stocking brands including womenswear labels Antipodium, AnhHa and Wood Wood, as well as accessories from Joanna Pybus and Williams Handmade.
Jagger said: “The store is going really well and now we’ve been trading online for two months we’re seeing fantastic growth week on week, with around 30% of sales coming from overseas.”