A TEXTILE industry chief in Huddersfield has welcomed a royal vote of confidence in the woollen trade.
The Prince of Wales spoke in support of wool textiles – still a key part of Huddersfield’s manufacturing sector – during his annual summer tour of Wales.
He was also speaking as patron of the Campaign for Wool, which aims to bring the fabric back into fashion in a big way.
The prince voiced concern that wool prices have dropped so low in recent years that it can cost more to shear a sheep than the wool will fetch when sold.
New breeds of sheep which naturally lose their wool have been introduced as a cost-cutting measure.
“That seems to me to be the absolute epitome of all that is wrong in the way that we look at the world,” Charles said.
The prince highlighted the many virtues of the fabric, including its natural flame retardance, its comfort and the fact that it is a natural product which is also entirely biodegradable.
He also spoke of the campaign’s international success in Australia and New Zealand, where the fight to improve the image of wool also has strong backing.
The Prince of Wales has already met figures from the British Wool Marketing Board, farmers and fashion experts to discuss the campaign
The prince’s backing was welcomed by Paul Johnson, chairman of Huddersfield’s Textile Centre for Excellence as “great news”.
Mr Johnson, managing director of Moldgreen-based textile finishers WT Johnson and Sons, said: “The support for wool the Prince of Wales is giving through his Campaign for Wool is great news.
“These local companies are world leaders in wool processing and assist in the creation of a range of superb wool products.
“Our companies and local people are aware of the range of benefits wool provides and that it is positioned as a desirable, premium product.
“The Prince of Wales can be of great help in getting this message across to a global diverse audience.’
John Thorley, chairman of the Campaign for Wool, also welcomed the remarks, saying: “There is no doubt that the Prince of Wales can work magic and that is exactly what we are expecting to happen now.
“He has brought in people like Jasper Conrad and he can use his high level contacts like no others.
“The effect of this around the world will be absolutely amazing. There is a massive interest in our royal family around the world and in Prince Charles in particular.
“His patronage will have an enormous effect on the campaign and raise its profile not just in the UK but globally.”
Famous Huddersfield names in wool textiles include Lockwood-based Taylor and Lodge, which makes fine worsted for suits, jackets and overcoats; New Mill-based weaver and textile designer Bower Roebuck; and knitwear specialist Spectrum Yarns, of Slaithwaite.