AW Hainsworth and Yorkshire Textiles Launch New Heritage Cloth

A collaborative project supported by Future Fashion Factory seeks to bring Yorkshire’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. Partnering with Yorkshire Textiles, Leeds mill AW Hainsworth has built on this tradition 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.

The project was supported by Future Fashion Factory as part of its first funding call earlier this year, alongside 8 other projects totalling over £645,000 investment in R&D.

A short film about the project premiered at Future Fashion Factory’s Year 1 Showcase on Wednesday 16 October. It follows textile designer Rebecca Ough’s journey through the project, from examining the historic designs through to seeing the finished product come to life.

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

Close-up of garments in AW Hainsworth New Heritage jacquard cloth
Garments were made in the New Heritage cloth by the School of Design at the University of Leeds

The New Heritage cloth project highlights the spirit of innovation that has driven Yorkshire’s textile industry since its earliest days. It has also supported new 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 to engage designers and students with both the heritage and the production processes behind bespoke fabrics.

“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,” says Julie Greenough, Marketing Manager at AW Hainsworth.

“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.”