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Dugdale gives cloth masterclass at The London Academy of Bespoke

It’s no secret that we’re supremely proud of our rich textiles heritage, but if there’s one thing we love just as much as the tailoring world itself, it’s inspiring other people to become passionate about the industry too. This recently came to light when our chairman – Robert Charnock – headed to the capital to deliver a talk on the topic at The London Academy of Bespoke (LAB).

One of the country’s most commended tailoring schools, LAB offers a catalogue of classes under the bespoke tailoring umbrella – teaching the next generation of tailors and cutters about the craftmanship in this niche trade. All of the teachers at LAB have a background working for well-known tailoring houses on Savile Row, and impart their experience to their small classes of students – making the studio feel as close to a bespoke tailoring work placement environment as possible.

At the end of March, LAB hosted an event – aimed at students – to offer valuable insight into the clothmaking and tailoring industries, and our chairman was asked to attend as one of the guest speakers.

The first of its kind, ‘Everything Good About Cloth’ was set up to give students insight into the relationship between the tailoring and clothmaking industries – as well as looking in depth at the characteristics of certain fabrics, and how this governs which are chosen for crafting different garments.

Victoria Townsend, founder of LAB and bespoke ladieswear cutter, said: “Gaining a rich understanding of the link between cloth and tailoring is important for our students. In my experience, few colleges focus on how certain textiles can both breathe and handle heat differently – and, this knowledge is a crucial component of becoming a tailoring professional.”

“Stationed in the heart of Yorkshire’s clothmaking industry, Dugdale Bros was the perfect fit for our event – our students are always keen to learn more about this traditional side of the tailoring mix.”

After the initial event introductions, Dugdale’s Rob took centre stage and spoke about the history of the clothmaking trade – explaining Huddersfield’s key part in Yorkshire’s worsted industry – and the work Dugdale Bros carries out with local spinners, weavers and finishers, to be custodians of our wonderful legacy. In addition, he also took numerous bunches along, so that – throughout the talk – the students could look at how the composition of each fabric differed.

There was then a Q&A session, where tailoring students asked Rob questions about individual cloths and his experience of working at a world-renowned luxury cloth merchant.

Speaking about the day, Rob said: “It was an absolute pleasure to speak at LAB about our town and traditional industry. It was clear to see the students were passionate about tailoring – and it was great showing them this historic dimension to their studies.”

After Rob’s session, there were other discussions and demonstrations throughout the afternoon. A finisher gave some short lessons in how to make buttonholes – which was well received by students.

Victoria added: “Overall, it was a great success, and this may even be the start of a future series!”

Rob concluded: “This event is only the beginning when it comes to inspiring LAB’s upcoming tailoring professionals. Next, I will be inviting groups to visit Huddersfield and experience first-hand the wonders of our town, history and industry.”

More than 30 people attended ‘Everything Good About Cloth’ – with an audience including students, staff, industry bloggers, tailoring apprentices and other trade professionals.

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