Rival showcase of Barnsley’s best

Barnsley lass behind the lens: Dolly Photography's Nicola Hyde
Barnsley lass behind the lens: Dolly Photography's Nicola Hyde
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Brass bands, Gough and Glover, collieries, chops... and of course, the legendary Dickie Bird.

Barnsley’s famed for many a thing, most of them macho.

But now its women are determinedly flying the flag for the town’s burgeoning future in fashion.

Creative Barnsleyites have been busily cutting out a name for themselves as designers, make-up artists, models and photographers. And when they heard a prestigious fashion exhibition featuring the likes of Prada, Chanel, Alexander McQueen and Louis Vuitton was arriving in town on a national tour, they felt a fashion gauntlet had been laid down.

“We got our heads together and came up with an alternative exhibition, showing just how creative and stylish fashion born and bred in Barnsley is,” says town photographer Nicola Hyde.

The Fashion Roots exhibition, showing Barnsley as a fashion mecca, is now on display at The Civic.

It is in total contrast to the exhibition it sits alongside. Catwalk to Cover profiles the work of the most sought-after designers through the eyes of leading fashion photographers.

Everything in the Fashion Roots images was made in Barnsley – right down to the models.

“I wanted to use home-grown talent to prove to everyone that we’re not just flat caps and whippets folk,” says Nicola.

“The Catwalk to Cover exhibition is amazing but I thought Barnsley should have their own show to sit alongside it. There are talented make-up artists, hair-dressers and designers who are really making a name for themselves here.”

She approached the Civic with her idea and was delighted when it was commissioned, then realised she had just six weeks to rally a posse of local models, designers and make-up artists. “But everyone leapt at the opportunity,” says Nicola, aged 32, who runs her own company, Dolly Photography.

“Many made pieces especially for the shoot. Royston designer Kelly Ann Garforth used Cannon Hall, our local stately home, as inspiration for a stunning blue debutante’s ballgown and Hoyland bag-maker Jilly Gough created an amazing leather clutch which she hand-embellished with 300 studs.

They were among the people who pulled out all the stops, as were fashion students at Barnsley College who created some highly individual designs too.”

Nicola, who only became a photographer five years ago after having her own wedding pictures taken, created all 30 shots for the Fashion Roots show at the Civic Theatre and Art Gallery on Hanson Street.

“Every shot was taken locally: it’s not always the obvious locations that are the most glamourous, there’s some really interesting stuff in Barnsley that lends itself to a fashion shot,” she enthuses.

“It’s just about looking at things in a different way. I shot some of the images on a heritage railway line at Elsecar, others in woodland, I even shot some on some abandoned reels that had been rolled into a lay-by in Grimethorpe.

“This is a celebration of all the talent coming from my home town. I’m proud to be able to show their work.”

The international exhibition

Catwalk to Cover is a fascinating behind-the-scenes insight into the creative world of the fashion show.

It puts the whole process, from catwalk to cover, under the microscope through a series of candid photographs from top catwalk photographers and features clothes and accessories created by internationally-acclaimed designers including Prada and Vivienne Westwood.

Created by the Fashion and Textile Museum, the exhibition’s highlights include key moments from the shows of Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs.

Both exhibitions run until June 8.