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Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, President of the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT) visit to Laxtons Specialist Yarns

On Tuesday 20th February, Laxtons Specialist Yarns welcomed Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to their spinning factory in Baildon, West Yorkshire in the traditional heartland of British yarn manufacturing. 

Founded in 1907, Laxtons were industry pioneers at the turn of the twentieth century and remain at the forefront of the specialist yarn industry over 100 years later, under the directorship of fourth generation owner, James Laxton. 

Laxtons are internationally renowned for spinning premium quality worsted and fancy yarns for brands across the breadth of textiles from carpets and upholstery to tailoring and couture fabrics, as well as for dyeing and handknitting. 

HRH The Princess Royal was taken on a tour of the factory floor, following the journey of the wool fibre from bales of raw material through gilling, spinning, twisting, and even assisted with one of the final stages of production, doffing balls of wool on to a conveyor belt for labelling and packing.  

Here, modern state of the art technology sits alongside the traditional skills that celebrate the proud heritage of the company. James Laxton is relentless in his commitment to innovation and supporting the continuation of textiles production in Britain. HRH is herself president of UKFT and a passionate advocate for the UK fashion and textile industry. 

Laxtons were privileged to witness HRH switching on their newly installed reeling machine, a collaboration between Laxtons and a German robotics manufacturer, which promises to improve productivity, as well as reducing the company’s energy consumption.  

This new technology, along with Laxtons use of Bio Methane (itself a product of the farming industry) and certified green electricity from renewal sources means that the factory now creates zero carbon dioxide from their energy consumption, a significant milestone on their path to Net Zero. A solar system on the roof of the factory generates sustainable power, further enabling carbon offset in the future. 

With responsibility at the forefront of all Laxtons decisions, the promotion of craft has always been important to the company, weathering the changes in fashion to come full circle in appreciating the wide reaching environmental, social and health benefits of hand knitting. Working directly with British Wool and sheep farmers across the country, Laxtons have created an industry first fully traceable yarn, Wooltrace, which is now available via their byLaxtons hand knitting yarn collection. HRH demonstrated the use of a QR code to trace the yarn back to the individual farms in England and experienced the mindfulness of knitting in the round. This is the future of a more sustainable approach to clothing, celebrating handmade, slow clothes with knowledge of every process from fleece to finished garment.

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