Joshua Ellis: Yorkshire heritage and the cashmere stole

Joshua Ellis: Yorkshire heritage and the cashmere stole

It will soon be time to look ahead to our 2021 autumn and winter collection.

And, with that in mind, we thought we’d provide a bit of background about where our inspiration comes from, before products like our cashmere stoles and cashmere scarves are worn by people across the globe.

So, what exactly goes on before buying a cashmere stole? We can’t give away all our secrets, but we can certainly share a few.

Although the collection will be out in a few months, the process actually began back in November 2019, with a whistle stop tour of some of Yorkshire’s most historical sites.

Yorkshire heritage

Based in Yorkshire, we are lucky to have on our doorstep so many heritage sites.

If you take a look around our website, you’ll see that our Yorkshire heritage is something which has a very strong undertone to everything that we design and manufacture.

In setting out on this collection the design team wanted their inspiration to be intertwined with the foundations of Joshua Ellis. When thinking of how best to do this, we investigated the company’s origins and the historic social developments that led to the development of Joshua Ellis.

We decided that the industrial revolution in the 18th century was a great place to start. The industrial revolution engulfed the country, and made the development of large scale weaving a possibility.

Our journey on this process began with a visit to Armley Mill in Leeds - home to a collection of traditional weaving and yarn manufacturing equipment.

The colours and shapes of the machinery filling the long factory floors and the different shadows and lights, was a wonderful starting point for our research, but it was the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield, where we really got a feel of how local industries would have worked supporting one another in their quest for growth.

The museum is set over a large outdoor site that has a wide range of machinery both indoors and outdoors, and shows the technological enhancements of colliery experience, and social structure through time.

We were captivated by the unusual shapes, but what really grasped our attention was the wide range of damage and corrosion to the equipment.

The theme of decay became our most prominent inspiration, in particular the layers of flaking paint, and how rust sets in showing its bright industrial hues through the seemingly clinically painted equipment.

It was the interesting colour combinations and sporadic patterning that this creates that also fascinated us, and we returned from the colliery experience with a huge number of vibrant coloured images in our mind, such as yellow, heavy greens and rusty oranges.

Machinery rust theme

When we’d settled on the theme of rust, we looked for a way to inspire the pattern, and we found the answer at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where we were naturally drawn to Sean Scully’s sculpture “Crate of Air”.

This particular sculpture was formed with horizontal and vertical lines reminiscent of a woven cloth, and depending on the angle from which the sculpture is viewed, creates different lines, shapes and shadows.

We were really inspired by many of the sculptures and how they have such an imposing shape on the natural landscape, not to mention the interaction between the soft lines of nature and the sculptures strong lines - which made us think about proportion and how to bring elements of a design to the forefront, and make it stand out from the ground of a fabric.

We left feeling invigorated knowing that the blend of colour and Yorkshire heritage was woven together perfectly through our findings.

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So be it a cashmere scarf or cashmere stole, you now know that the finest cashmere is developed alongside our very own cultural heritage here in Yorkshire and this is an example of the work we do before further design and sampling takes place. Perhaps that’s a blog for later in the series.

If you have a question about anything we’ve discussed here or about our cashmere scarves and stoles, then do get in touch with a member of our team. It would be great to hear from you.

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