Leeds’ Fashion Stars: Celebrating Local Models and Their Impact

Leeds has a rich history of textile, clothing and fashion manufacturing. The first episode explores this heritage through key figures such as Michael Marks (founder of the penny bazaar), Montague Burton and John Barron (founders of Burtons).

Peg interviews Dawn Wood, founder of Fabrication Crafts, and Jude Smallwood, a sewing teacher. They both talk about the resources they’ve pulled together in Leeds to help people make sustainable choices.

Unique qualities

As the world’s leading fashion capital, Leeds is a hub for some of the most creative and exciting models. With a wide variety of different looks and styles, the city’s models add character to their surroundings, and have a strong influence on trends. Some of these models have even become stars in their own right.

One of the most popular fashion trends of recent years is a more casual look. This style of dressing is characterized by loose, lightweight garments with a relaxed fit. It’s also characterized by the use of neutral colors, such as white and gray. This trend is a great way to add some personality to your wardrobe without going over budget.

While this type of clothing is typically associated with youth culture, it can be worn by anyone. In fact, it has gained popularity among many older generations as well. It’s no surprise that the style has spread to so many different parts of the world.

The Fashionable Yorkshire exhibition at Leeds Museums and Galleries features some of the city’s sartorial superstars. This collection of outfits reflects the ways that women have expressed their own sense of style through the centuries.

The exhibition also explores how fashion has been influenced by various factors, including religion, social status, and the Industrial Revolution. It’s a fascinating exhibition that highlights how the fashion of different eras can still be seen today.

Another fashion-forward look from Leeds is that of the hoodie, which has become a staple for many football fans. The hoodie is often decorated with the team’s crest, and can be worn to show support for the club. It’s also a popular choice for everyday wear.

Leeds’ most famous fashion star is Gnonto, who has quickly made a name for himself in the Premier League. He’s been a key player for the club this season, and will likely play an important role in the USMNT’s 2022-23 campaign.

Another local fashion star is Nadyia. Nadyia is an assistant manager at the River Island Style Studio, and she knows how to combine bold prints and colors with ease. She also has a knack for finding the perfect accessory to go with her hero piece.


The fashion world often gets accused of being superficial and shallow but a host of talented models who hail from Leeds prove that this isn’t always the case. Whether working for high-end brands, directing fashion videos or running their own eponymous label, these Leeds natives are making a real difference to the industry.

In this episode, Peg Alexander looks at three themes: the heritage of fashion in Leeds; skills and resources; and valuing our clothing. The podcast is part of Leeds Fashion Futures – a project supported by Zero Waste Leeds and the RSA – that explores whether Leeds can change the face of fashion in a more sustainable direction.

From the city’s earliest days, fashion has been integral to its economy. Sheep farming brought prosperity before the Industrial Revolution saw canals, mills and woollen factories grow to meet the demand for cloth. The Leeds Textile Trail – developed by the Zero Waste Leeds team – showcases this rich heritage and explores how the city continues to contribute to the global clothing, textiles and fashion industries.

One of Yorkshire’s most prominent names in the fashion world is model, stylist and entrepreneur Chloe Hillier. Known for her edgy, alternative and bohemian look, the 25-year-old has built an impressive portfolio of clients that includes the likes of Victoria Beckham and Kate Middleton. She was also recently seen strutting her stuff on the red carpet at the British Academy Television Awards in a stunning Kevan Jon Sian pencil dress.

Another of the city’s rising stars is fashion blogger and YouTuber Olivia Miller. Having interned with some of the biggest fashion brands, including GURU Agency, she has since set up her own online shop and blog, focusing on high-end vintage and reworked outfits made from secondhand clothes. She has also authored a book on styling for budget-conscious fashionistas and recently launched a collaboration with Leeds store Pop Boutique.

Gnonto Aaronson is a key member of Jesse Marsch’s Leeds United side and has been the club’s standout player so far in 2022-23. The winger has a unique ability to combine brisk direct running with an innate feel for the game and never gets caught up in freneticism. He will be keen to add to his goal tally at the weekend when Leeds take on Tottenham at White Hart Lane.


Gnonto’s ability to stretch opposition defences – whether it’s through his direct dribbles or his intelligent runs with the ball from deep areas – has potentiated Leeds’ attacking output since his arrival. It has also enabled them to alter their shape in possession. Rather than bringing their wingers inside to create space for themselves, they are now keen to find Gnonto out towards the touchline when they have the ball.

Chloe has a gift for effortlessly putting together a look that is both on-trend and original. Her sense of style was highlighted by her final project for her Fashion Concepts and Communication degree show. And she’s now a regular face at Pop Boutique as well as running her own brand, Harvest Moon Vintage.

She’s also no stranger to the catwalk and has worn creations from Kevan Jon for both This Morning and Strictly Come Dancing. The designer is a favourite of the TV presenter, who recently wore one of his red, off-the-shoulder gowns at the National Television Awards.

Whether she’s sharing her tips on breastfeeding or compiling a tax return, Jen’s down-to-earth attitude and affordable, relatable approach to fashion has made her a go-to influencer for young women across Yorkshire. She’s a regular contributor to Grazia magazine, blogs for The WaR Agency and has worked as a stylist for Marks & Spencer.

With a focus on ethical and sustainable fashion, the founder of Reigning Champ works with brands such as Reformation and Stella McCartney to produce collections that are sold across the UK and internationally. But her real power lies in the online community she’s built up around herself and the way she uses her platform to raise awareness of mental health issues among her peers.

She’s a big fan of a good T-shirt and has been instrumental in the development of our latest capsule, which celebrates Leeds’ storied (but often overlooked) history. The collection features a range of sweatshirts, including one inspired by the club’s famous anthem and another emblazoned with “UNTIL THE WORLD STOPS MOVING ROUND”. Shop the full collection on our webstore.


The students at Leeds Beckett were able to showcase their work in a high-end, industry-standard setting. The event was a unique opportunity to highlight the talents of Leeds’ fashion graduates and the positive impact they can have on society.

The Leeds RAG Fashion Show (LRFS) is a huge fundraising event at the University of Leeds that combines creative collaboration with a huge amount of money raised for charity. The show is one of the biggest community-driven events in the student calendar and has won many awards over the years. The event aims to inspire creativity, emphasise the power of fashion and community as forces for social change and raise awareness of important issues in society.

In addition, LRFS promotes the benefits of student volunteering and has raised over £250,000 for local charities. The event has also benefited the city’s fashion scene, with designers such as Kevan Jon creating outfits for the models to wear at the show.

The project’s delivery was a truly collaborative approach, with all partners working together to ensure the scheme met its objectives. The team included the council (project management, programme coordination and part funder), the Department for Transport (funder), WSP (design partner) and our construction delivery partners BAM with Mott MacDonald and Sisk with Capita.

During the project, the partners developed a common model for working in partnership and established an effective system of joint governance, building on the previous experience of Leeds City Council. This involved the creation of a new type of local care partnership, bringing together council, NHS and third sector (community organisations) staff from across the city to deliver improved services and support local communities.

Gnonto is a self-sufficient player who stresses the opposition’s defensive shape from deep possession and can back players up with direct dribbles. He is the team’s most prolific ball carrier and one of their main sources of thrust, yet he avoids freneticism and maintains close control even when covering large distances at speed.

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