CLYDESDALE and Yorkshire Banks have collaborated with a Glasgow designer and a Yorkshire mill to weave the rich heritage of the banking brands into the fabric of their new employee uniform.
Set to be unveiled this month in branches nationwide, the revamped workwear collection marks a new chapter in the banks’ history, as they embark on a standalone future, and takes inspiration from the art, environment, landscape and architecture of where they belong.
Scottish designer, Aimee Kent, was commissioned to create two prints – one for Clydesdale Bank and one for Yorkshire Bank – and Yorkshire’s Clissold Mill was invited to design two patterns – tartan and tweed.
A graduate from the internationally-recognised Glasgow School of Art, up-and-coming Glasgow-based designer, Aimee Kent, was selected from a shortlist to create an individual print for each Bank which captured their cultural heritage and combined this with a contemporary twist.
With a focus on sustainable textiles and high-end bespoke fashion, Aimee’s work has been showcased at fashion weeks worldwide, worn by celebrities including Livia Firth and published in Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire magazines.
Aimee has also collaborated with award-winning designer, Henrietta Ludgate, as well as US retail partnership, Nineteenth Amendment x Macy’s on an exclusive collection.
For Clydesdale Bank, Aimee drew inspiration from Glasgow’s vibrant international culture and world-famous architecture, including the Templeton Carpet Factory and the timeless structures, interiors and facades of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Combining different motifs, she created the Clydesdale fabric in the bank’s red brand colour with an abstract flow of repeated patterns, reflecting art nouveau design but in a modern, geometric arrangement.
For Yorkshire Bank, Aimee looked at the architecture of major towns and cities in the region, the famous cotton mills, the textiles, the rolling hills and fields, coastlines and David Hockney’s art.
The Yorkshire fabric draws from the brand’s blues and is rooted in The Dales in a patchwork style that chimes with the area’s strong quilting history.
Other subtle textural elements are also apparent, recalling the vast, curved glass ceiling of the Leeds Corn Exchange and polka dots, based on cotton mill thread spools.
Aimee Kent said: “I wanted to make something you’d feel proud to wear. A distinctive print that would brighten your day. There’s no reason why workwear should be unstylish. It should be on trend, yet timeless, classic, and flattering to all.”
Clissold Mill was founded by Joseph H Clissold in the small town of Cleckheaton in 1920 and has been a cornerstone in Yorkshire’s wool textile industry ever since.
Today, 100 years of cloth-making craft and expertise has been pushed to the limits of technological advancement and the Mill’s fine, high-quality fabrics have caught the eye of the fashion world, including Paul Smith who used bespoke cloth designed and made by Clissold for ‘The British Collection’ in 2014.
The mill created bespoke fabrics with roots in the heritage of both Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks by reinventing traditional designs and distilling them into workable wear.
The Clydesdale tartan draws inspiration from one of the bank’s founder’s family tartans and brings the pattern up-to-date, while the Yorkshire tweed presents a modern take on traditional tweed, giving it heritage with a twist.
Both fabrics were put through extensive testing to ensure they would wear-well over time and be easy to maintain.
Ruth Crawshaw-Sykes, lead designer at Clissold Mill, said: “The look of tweed, but in a suiting cloth, is quite difficult to achieve. A tweed is made from woollen yarn, with a heavy appearance, rough surface and a lot of colour. Whereas suiting cloths are traditionally worsted-spun, with a soft, smooth handle.”
Helen Page, director of Customer Proposition and Marketing at Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, said: “As Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks embark on their standalone future, we wanted our staff uniform to represent our brand – not just in the way it looks and feels, but in the story of its making.
“Our branding comes from our roots – we’re proud to be local and we care about the customers and communities we support and that’s why our new uniform will combine a Glasgow designer and a Yorkshire mill. In making the new collection, we’re pleased to have been able to support Clissold Mill which is a long-standing, regional family business, as well as helping to provide a platform for the next generation of Scottish design talent.”
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