Dugdale Bros collaborates in app development for WOVEN festival

As you know, here at Dugdale Bros, we’re extremely passionate about our heritage. But, it’s not just the legacy we’re keen to promote within the region, it’s also that of the historically rich town in which our headquarters are stationed, Huddersfield.

Over the years, we’ve taken part in many local programmes and initiatives centred around the textile industry and clothmaking trade, and we’re proud to share news of our involvement in the WOVEN festival – an initiative led by Kirklees Council and HATCH.

The overarching aim of the festival is to exhibit the textile industry’s relevance in modern-day society, as well as bring the stories, memories and curiosities of times gone by to a contemporary audience. It comprises a series of events which celebrate Kirklees’ long-standing cloth trade – illustrating its past, present and future role in the borough.

And this year marks the event pilot – taking place between 8-16th June 2019.

But where does Dugdale Bros come in? We’ve been working closely with HATCH’s director Alison McIntyre and Andrew Taylor – senior lecturer at The University of Huddersfield’s Department of Fashion and Textiles – to create an app, Woven Walk, which helps to digitally preserve, and present, the enthralling heritage of the town in an interactive way for users.

The beginnings of the app itself started with Andrew, when he originally put a proposal forward for an Augmented Reality (AR) experience to form part of the ‘What’s This Dull Town to Me?’ art exhibit in the Temporary Contemporary gallery, back in April. This was a project led by Andrew and his colleague Katrina Whitehead, which explored the local histories of the town using innovative technologies.

Commenting on the project, Andrew said: “We wanted a way to augment the past – using mobile app technologies – by walking through the town, looking at images of Huddersfield as it stands today, and creating an interactive exhibition experience that transforms our perception and perspectives of the future.

“Both Alison and Dugdale’s chairman, Rob Charnock, were at the exhibit and loved how the app brought the archived imagery from Kirklees Image Archive – provided by Kirklees Museums – to life. So, it ended up being a prototype that has been recommissioned for use at the WOVEN festival.”

The app development has been a university-led project – with financial backing from both WOVEN and Dugdale Bros – and is centred around the concept of AR.

Alison added: “We were really impressed by the idea of connecting the past with the modern user via advanced technology and thought it would work perfectly for WOVEN – connecting the dots between the heritage of the cloth supply and merchants, with today’s industry developments.”

Available to download in the app store on both iOS and Android – Woven Walk works as a mobile walking tour, featuring 10 street locations. At each location, it shows the user curated collections of archived photographs and audio snippets about the site’s history, meaning they can view and listen as they walk from place to place.

Viewable through a phone camera and audible with headphones, you are historically reconnected with old Huddersfield street scenes in and around Queensgate Market, The Piazza, Victoria Lane, Peel Street, Process Street, Bull and Mouth Street, The Shambles, King Street, as well as the Dugdale Bros HQ, on Northumberland Street.

Rob explained: “At Dugdale Bros, we’re excited about the long-term effect this AR walking tour app will have on both the local industry’s heritage and its future.

“We love collaborating with the University on such innovative projects, as it aligns with our brand objectives of making the community aware of what textile-related activity has been – and still is – going on in their hometown.”

Dugdale Bros’ base – on 5 Northumberland Street – will be the tenth destination of the app, where users are able to stand outside the location, point their camera towards the building and trigger pictures and facts relating to our cloth merchant heritage.

In addition, Rob has organised for Alan Cannon-Jones – former tailor at Chester Barrie and director of menswear and tailoring courses at the London College of Fashion – to take part in the event and give a talk and Q&A session, at the University.

On Friday 14th June, chair of The Golden Shears Awards, Alan, will be talking to delegates about the 2D-to-3D tailoring process – spanning the history of the craft, right through to the modern-day workings on London’s iconic sartorial street.

Rob concluded: “For me, it’s all about keeping people engaged and inspired by our town’s heritage. And contributing to the festival – both via Woven Walk and through involving industry friends – is a real honour.”

The next WOVEN festival is already scheduled to take place in 2021, and the app will remain live for locals and visitors to access its historical content archives any time.