Fabric of my Life.

North is Now.

I’m delighted to finally share a project I’ve been working on for the past 6 months with you all!
When Yvonne from TYRO (studios) first slid into my Instagram DM’s with a series of voice notes I was intrigued.. not least of all because I’m someone who hates receiving voice notes, haha. But I overcame my aversion and, as I listened to them one-by-one (because yes, there was a whole series!), I became more and more excited because what Yvonne was proposing was something I had had in my mind to do for years but had never had the means to execute before.
When I first launched Fabric of the North in lockdown 1.0 I had huuuge plans for it that I’ve struggled to get off the ground – and hosting a pop-up shop full of all the wonderful brands I’d discovered was one of them – but sometimes chance connections like this hold the key to making a glimmer of an idea a reality. Right from the get-go I realised that Yvonne and I held similar principles and design aesthetics, and that the beautiful space she had created with TYRO (studios) would be the perfect space in which to host the pop-up I was envisioning. As we spent more time together, batting ideas around and getting to know many of the founders behind the brands who agreed to be involved, our ideas for what we were developing grew and grew.
North is Now will ultimately become a new community for contemporary brands in the North, but we’re kicking off with the inaugural North is Now pop-up shop, hosted at TYRO (studios) in Shipley and featuring 25 independent brands from across the North that I’ve handpicked to be a part of the launch event. With representative brands from across Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Cumbria, Merseyside, Cheshire and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the product selection spans a diverse range of sectors from fashion, skincare and jewellery to homeware, stationery and publishing, highlighting the incredible wealth of creative talent operating in the North of England today.
Many of the brands have been associated with Fabric of the North since it’s launch in 2020, while several others have been recent discoveries who are local to TYRO (studios) in Shipley. Together though, they form a cohesive edit of products that we feel represent the spirit of both Fabric of the North and North is Now; championing mindful, aesthetic and sustainable practices and prioritising community and collaboration over competition.
The 25 Northern brands participating in the 10-day pop-up shop are:
Irene & Edith, whose founder Nichola Naylon creates hand built statement ceramics for the home combining textured clays, luxurious glazes and glimmers of gold and copper lustre.
Routes Interiors, whose timeless artisan textiles are created by skilled workers and communities around the globe. Routes bring the natural world into the home, preserving traditional craftsmanship in products which are designed to last forever.
Woodspring, who offer hand poured soy wax candles made using essential and fragrance oils and presented in apothecary style amber glass jars.
By Tilly, who creates hand illustrated 100% FSC certified paper goods that are printed in-house and in small batches to avoid any unnecessary waste.
Greater Manchester
AJOTO, who combine the precision of advanced manufacture with the soul of craft, to offer sleek stylish pen designs for design lovers and modern travellers.
Ara the altar, who offer minimal jewellery pieces designed for longevity not trend, with minimal waste in mind, using only 100% recycled solid gold and silver
Cedar, an independent home fragrance and aromatherapy brand offering a range of hand-poured essential oils candles, essential oils blends for baths and diffusers, as well as ceramic air diffuser mood lamps.
EROSA, a luxury womenswear brand focusing on craftsmanship, innovation and fabric to deliver a modern feminine wardrobe with an edge that celebrate the beauty of the human body and empower.
Table Chocolate, Liverpool’s first bean-to-bar chocolate brand, who work in micro-batches to develop deep flavours and a rich smooth texture, and have recently launched a limited-edition vegan chocolate using tiger nuts.
Utology, who design handcrafted shelving, storage and furniture which are simple in form, yet practical in function, with clean lines, a pared-back aesthetic and understated elegance.
Tyne & Wear
Pamoja, an award-winning skincare range created by Sarah Taylor, a trained skincare formulator, designed to bring a dose of kindness into your daily routine with skincare rituals that nourish your skin and nurture you.
Ran by Nature, who offer ethical athleisure you can actually work out in, designed for people who want to move mindfully and live sustainably. The collections are seasonless, inclusive and sustainable as standard.
North Yorkshire
Collette Haigh, who designs lightweight, hand-crafted polymer clay jewellery designed to inject a pop of fun into any outfit.
Emily Georgina Jones, whose jewellery designs are crafted using traditional silversmithing techniques. Each piece is a stand alone design, sometimes retaining unique and varied imperfections made during the crafting process – a visible trace of the gestures and hand movements made while forging each piece.
Lot : e by Lottie Edgar, who curates small timeless clothing collections from a mixture of organic, bio-washed and dead-stock materials.
Pith, who offer a refined selection of sketchbooks, notebooks, planners and pads, designed in collaboration with artists, illustrators and designers spanning multiple fields of expertise.
West Yorkshire
Amy Thomas Ceramics, whose small-batch wheel-thrown and handmade pottery is crafted in her small home ceramic studio in Haworth.
Anna Lisa Smith, who designs simple, striking contemporary textiles for the home. All pieces are woven in local mills using the finest quality Lambswool and are hand finished in the studio. She has recently launched a collection of Lambswool scarves, available at North is Now, using the off-cuts from her homeware pieces to minimise waste.
Becca Macdonald, whose conceptual jewellery designs are influenced by material experimentation. A common theme is documenting the ‘evidence of presence’ and human gesture.
Boniface, a contemporary womenswear line designed and made by Georgia Boniface which prioritises high quality fabrics and structural simplicity to create elegant contemporary garments.
Fox & Windmill, who are the UK’s first independent book publishing company for British South Asian writers, dedicated to bridging the gap in the industry for writers from underrepresented backgrounds and sharing their unique stories and perspectives.
Klara Ceramics, offering small batch, handmade ceramics from Amy Dunhill’s small home studio in Shipley.
Modern Alchemy Jewellery, handcrafted in sterling silver and designed for modern day wear.
NETT Exfoliator, originally from Ghana where it is known as a ‘sapɔ’, with a unique texture perfect for maintaining smooth, soft skin and the length and shape is great for getting to those hard-to-reach places.
The Stitch Society, who offer comfortable and durable workwear made from locally sourced and manufactured fabrics with minimal environmental impact.
The pop-up launched on Friday evening with a wonderful Friends & Family event that certainly seems to have been a roaring success! Having many of the brand founders in the event space, meeting one another for the first time and seeing their products on display amongst so many other beautifully designed and mindfully made products was a real joy, and huge part of what we want North is Now to become.
As well as being an amazing discovery tool for Northern dwellers to discover unique and contemporary design on their doorstep, we want our new brand to help connect, edcate and inspire those living and working in the North to be able to create as meaningfully and purposefully as their Southern counterparts, with access to the same level of support and visibility. This goes hand-in-hand with everything I’ve learnt throughout my career to date; first in retail, then in-house at several national magazines, before transitioning to PR agencies and my current freelance career working with small independent brands on everything from strategy, PR and marketing to website design and content creation.
My Editor’s Letter from the accompanying North is Now magazine, which is available in-store as a complementary gift with any purchase, is below:
“When I relocated from London to Manchester in early 2017, I was struck by just how much creative talent – and beautiful spaces – there were in the North, that I had previously been blind to. Growing up in London I had become accustomed to the relentless pace of consumerism on a global scale, and bought into the misplaced belief that the capital was the beating heart of the country – and the only place to be.
As my personal lifestyle blog, Fabric of my Life, evolved during my time spent in the North, a new editorial website became a natural progression. In 2020 I launched Fabric of the North, designed to celebrate and champion mindful, aesthetic and sustainable businesses in the North and share their incredible stories. The North is Now pop-up, hosted by TYRO (studios), is the next wonderful step in its evolution.
Now, more than ever, I believe it is crucial to be looking close to home for brands and products that champion contemporary, ethical and sustainable ways of living. While it’s easy to believe that brands like this exist only in the South – where small business support, an affluent customer base and a robust PR machine seem readily accessible – I’m here to tell you that’s simply not the case. There is an abundance of contemporary design and exquisite craftsmanship right here in the North that deserve not just our attention and admiration, but our amplification too. We’ve curated a wonderful selection across multiple disciplines in the inaugural North is Now pop-up to prove it!”
You can also access the North is Now magazine, volume 1, by signing up to the North is Now newsletter here.
If you live in the North of England – particularly Bradford, Leeds, York and Manchester – I really hope you’ll be able to make it along to the pop-up shop during our 10-day event to discover these amazing brands for yourself! It really has been a labour of love for myself and Yvonne to plan and deliver – you’ll even find us both in-store manning the till on various days throughout the event – so please do come by and say hi!
North is Now pop-up, 29 April – 8 May 2023. TYRO (studios), 42 Westgate, Shipley BD18 3QX. Open daily, 10am – 5pm. View map.
Planning to make a day trip to Shipley for the pop-up? You can discover more wonderful local things to see and do in the Northern Neighbourhood Guide to Shipley & Saltaire on Fabric of the North. 

All photography © Kate Baxter / North is Now

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