From police balaclavas to York Fashion Week venture - MLA has the pattern for success

Pocklington Post
From police balaclavas to York Fashion Week venture - MLA has the pattern for success
One of the biggest suppliers of police protective equipment in the UK, which is based at Allerthorpe Business Park, Pocklington, is turning its hand to couture fashion in a new venture with one of Yorkshire’s top designers.
MLA will be going from balaclavas to ballgowns, launching items from a collection designed by Yorkshire born James Steward at York Fashion Week in May.
The successful company, which designs and supplies every police force in the UK with equipment ranging from public order helmets to flame retardant balaclavas, has been working with Mr Steward for the last few years.
Currently, he is working on a low-profile blunt protection garment for the American market but has previously worked with a host of celebrities.
He designed a dress for Kylie Minogue, which she wore to the Brit Awards after show party, a top for Victoria Beckham for an interview with Michael Parkinson and several red-carpet dresses for Katherine Kelly.
He even designed and made singer Corinne Bailey Rae’s wedding dress.
In this new venture, known as Lupton Steward, he will work with clients to create their dream, made-to-measure outfit, for everything from mother of the bride to race day dresses.
There will be an initial consultation with Mr Steward, who will sketch out a bespoke design with the client.
The team will then create the pattern, make the toile for an initial fitting, and then create and fit the garment.
Joy Lupton, a director at MLA, said: “There is a wealth of talent in our production and sewing rooms.
“We pride ourselves on being able to cater for specific requirements from individual police forces and it is the talent and vision of the team we work with, which enables us to do this.
"I have a real passion for clothes and fashion and have had several pieces designed by James before he came to work with us. It made sense to utilise the expertise of James, along with our brilliant seamstresses.”
James, who has over 25 years’ experience designing and making clothes, said: "It’s amazing to be getting into fashion with the support of a such a talented team.
"I’ve enjoyed turning my hand to this new side of design and learning about all the fabrics and textiles involved in creating specific pieces for the police market, but fashion is where it all began.
"I love to be able to work with individuals to create something which is going to make them feel full of confidence and I’m really excited to have this opportunity to do this again with the support of MLA.”
The project is being led by MLA production manager Aimee Duclos who studied at London College of Fashion and clients can contact her for more information or to arrange an appointment with James.
Some examples of James’ work will be modelled at York Art Gallery on Saturday, May 4 as part of York Fashion week.
Several of the MLA team, including Joy and Aimee, will be modelling pieces created for them by James.
Email for more information or to arrange an appointment with James.
Caption: James Steward is pictured in his workspace at MLA. Photo: Gareth Buddo