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The Cheetham Hill space hoping to encourage the next generation of Manc fashionistas

The Yard Atelier non-profit will nurture the city’s fashion start-ups in a unique space, giving graduates access to technical equipment and mentoring to kick-start their businesses
The Yard Atelier

An exciting new space in Cheetham Hill is hoping to encourage the next generation of Mancunian fashion designers.

The Yard Atelier is hoping to encourage the next generation of Manchester’s creatives in a unique venue with all the equipment and expert advice you need to get started in the fashion industry.

So if you fancy yourself as the next Nadine Merabi, Vivian Westwood or Private White V.C. – why not head down to check it out?

The Yard Atelier

The Yard Atelier
Fancy yourself as the next Manc fashionista?

The Yard Atelier is Manchester’s first non-profit fashion Atelier.

An atelier is the private workshop or studio of a professional artist in the fine or decorative arts or an architect, where a principal master and several assistants, students, and apprentices can work together to produce fine art or visual art released under the master’s name or supervision.

It aims to support start-ups in a unique space, where the machinery and garment-making equipment needed to kick-start a fashion business is accessible under one roof, alongside expert mentoring.

Re-establishing slow fashion in Manchester

The creative space – which aspires to re-establish ‘slow fashion’ in the city – was set up by Caroline Herz and Georgina Housley, two former Manchester Metropolitan University senior lecturers with a wealth of experience in the fashion industry.

What does Smart Works charity do?

Smart Works Greater Manchester, the charity that exists to give unemployed women the confidence and the skills they need to secure employment, is supporting the Atelier with a donation of several special designer pieces.

The Smart Works fashion archive will be available to resident creatives so they can be inspired when designing their own collections and learn from expert craftsmanship. Archive items include a one-off Paco Rabanne chainmail dress and Victoria Beckham’s exquisite tailoring.

An official launch event was held at The Yard Atelier this week.

Jane Shepherdson MBE

Smart Works Patron and retail industry expert, Jane Shepherdson MBE, spoke at the event, which was attended by Smart Works CEO Kate Stephens, fashion graduates including the Atelier’s first resident creatives; some of Manchester’s fashion influencers; and Smart Works’ business supporters within the region including Sarah Welsh, CEO Retail of N.Brown, and nationally including Gemma Sheppard, Award Winning Stylist @10yearsyounger and Editor in Chief of @voyages_and_vanity

Caroline Herz, co-founder and director of The Yard Atelier

Caroline Herz, co-founder and director of The Yard Atelier, said: “The need to source materials wisely, re-cycle, re-use, re-new, and rethink in all areas of fashion while encouraging onshore design, is at the centre of our vision for The Yard Atelier.

“Ultimately, we want to carve out a space for slow-made collections in today’s fashion industry and encourage production businesses to return to Manchester, especially given the city’s rich history.

“Each resident designer will learn about beautiful workmanship – including from our Smart Works fashion archive – and develop a deep understanding of the fashion industry.

“They will hopefully leave with the skills, knowledge and experience they need to become the best fashion designers that Manchester has to offer.”

Jan Iceton, Smart Works Greater Manchester, added: “We’re so pleased to be able to support The Yard Atelier fashion archive by providing iconic, design-led pieces from some of the world’s great designers, kindly donated to our wonderful charity.

“At Smart Works, we are deeply immersed in the ethos of Fashion as a Force for Good. It’s embodied in every

“From the transformative experience our clients undergo in the wardrobe, where the right clothing instils a sense of confidence and empowerment, to collaborative initiatives such as The Yard Atelier Fashion Archive”.

“We’re thrilled that Smart Works Trustee and Patron, Jane Shepherdson MBE, offered her words of wisdom about fashion design, fashion education and making skills at the launch.

“She also shared stories of her volunteer work as a Smart Works Stylist, seeing first-hand the link between clothes and confidence.”

Smart Works Greater Manchester is an independent, volunteer-led charity operating from two centres in Greater Manchester and is part of a wider network of 11 Smart Works across the UK.

Each help unemployed women to access employment and gain financial independence through career coaching, styling guidance and one-to-one interview training.

Since opening in 2015, its two centres in Greater Manchester have supported over 4,000 clients with job search and interview preparation services.

Its clients across Greater Manchester are women from all backgrounds, with 46% ethnic minority, 33% single parents, and 17% identifying as having a disability.

Smart Works helps to break down the barriers to employment that exist for these women and support, empower, and inspire them to succeed.


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