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Show time!

20.07.10 | Makepiece on the Great Yorkshire Show catwalk

Makepiece wedding knitwear on the catwalk at the Great Yorkshire Show

We were really excited to be invited to show at the Great Yorkshire Show fashion pavilion this year.

A while back I was at an event at which a man told me how his wife had hunted high and low at the Show and not found any knitwear made in Yorkshire - which seemed rather amiss at the Great Yorkshire Show. So I was pleased to be there to remedy the situation.

In fact, this year, the Fashion Pavilion organisers had made a huge effort to show Yorkshire design at its best - 4 different designers, 4 textile colleges and not just Makepiece flying the flag for eco-couture, Sheffield based Elizabeth Edwards too.


but it's not just canapes and champagne...

Truffle ruffled dress

Having accepted the invitation, we decided to go for our most complicated dresses - all in cream - as a foretaste of our forthcoming Makepiece wedding collection.

Lovely dresses, but, oh, the ironing!  

I was still pressing the last ruffle at 10pm on Sunday night. And then left the house bound for the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate on Monday morning at a cruel 7am. 

Having seen all the lovely girls from Morton Gledhill fashion team in their outfits, I left them to rehearse for the day. They put together a great show - and I was back to help dress on Tuesday at 10am.

I don't think that I ever expend more adrenaline than I do backstage at fashion shows. Unzipping zips, pouring models into dresses and dresses over models, lacing, zipping, tying in choreographed flurries to get everything on right. It's always amazing how models can dash ungainly from dressing to stage and gain poise and pace as soon as their high heels hit the catwalk.

Fortunately our knitwear, although complicated to knit, was one of the less complex scenes to dress. Dresses flowed onto models - and the models flowed down the catwalk.

This was repeated four times a day for three days - we think about 3,000 people saw it!

it's all part of a mind shift too

Makepiece knitted wedding dresses at the Great Yorkshire Show

The Great Yorkshire Show is one of the places that shaped my thinking about Makepiece.

I visited in 2002 and bought my first pair of mohair socks - made entirely in the UK from angora goats farmed in Patterdale (Crookabeck angoras and also Capricorn socks). They were one of a few small enterprises shortening the path from farm to (in this case) foot.

I seem to remember there was only one company in the food hall supplying meat direct from the farm - Farmhouse Direct. It's amazing now the variety of farm enterprises who are doing similar things. And it was great to see Farmhouse Direct still going strong - and still proud of their farming practices.

Since then things have definitely changed - I noticed that the NFU stand no longer has a display of cute chicks destined for battery farming. They've been quietly dropped in favour of a more holistic approach (in tone at least!).

I managed to have a look at the Shetland sheep but otherwise filled the time between fashion shows working out a diet based entirely on ewes milk cheeses (from Shepherd's Purse) interspersed with the new Wensleydale Creamery Jervaulx Blue. They keep for six weeks - but there's no sign that they'll ever make it to their best before dates.

This year I felt that the ideas that shaped Makepiece have taken root much more widely. They're becoming part of the mainstream.

It's like turning a giant tanker - degree by degree - imperceptibly for someone standing on deck until you realise after a while that you're facing in a different direction.