Who was Sir Montague Burton?
One of the themes that we're exploring throughout #LeedsFashionFutures week is the rich history in Leeds in relation to clothing and textiles.
And of course it would be impossible to look back at Leeds' history without considering the role of one man who made Leeds his home in the early 1900s - Montague Burton.
As part of our #LeedsFashionFutures Week we invited local historians Jacki and Bob Lawrence to give a talk about Sir Montague Burton and the manufacturing and retailing empire that he built - which had its heart in Leeds.
It's a fascinating story - of the man who arrived in this country, fleeing anti-semitic pogroms, aged 15 in 1900 - and who wasted little time in setting up clothing shops in the north of England.
His move a few years later to Leeds was inspired by his desire to get into manufacturing as well as retail - Leeds at this time was a world-renowned manufacturing centre. By the second world war Burtons was said to be clothing 25% of the male population of this country.
Their big selling point was that they could make a made-to-measure suit for the same price as an off-the-peg suit - so for the first time an ordinary working man could afford to have a made-to-measure suit.
Their Hudson Road Mills site in Harehills once employed over 10,000 people - and pay and conditions were recognised as being a cut above what you might find amongst many other employers in the sector.
Bob, who started as a 15 year old apprentice at Burtons in the 1950s, really brings to life what it was like to work there.
He remembers too that there was nothing quite like a suit that's made just for you.
There's one thing I can say about the old fashioned ways of tailoring. If you bought a suit made to measure, and it had a lovely satin lining to it, nothing felt quite like it. I've never tried on a modern suit that felt exactly the same - there was something about a hand made suit that was made to fit you that was quite special. I remember I had one - I had it for years. I eventually wore it out.
What can we learn from the story of Montague Burton and the business that he built? How he valued his employees, with good pay and working conditions? "The workers here are not hands, they are individuals", Jacki quotes him as saying, after a visiting dignatory commented on the fact that the workers were enjoying the same meals as him in the canteen.
Little of the clothing we wear now is made in this country. Can we be as confident that the people who made our clothes are enjoying decent pay and conditions? What opportunities do we have to influence that? How can we help to change how clothes are made, so the people making our clothes today are seen as "individuals, not just a pair of hands" - a theme that was revisited during the 1970 Clothing Strike in Leeds.
With the recent news that Burton shops will be closing after the brand was bought by online fashion retailer Boohoo - alongside the expected closure of the Hudson Road site - it is perhaps a good time to be looking back at how we have manufactured and bought clothes in the past.
In doing so, we can then imagine how we might do that in the future - with sustainability at the heart of how clothes are made, and how we purchase them and look after them. This a theme we'll continue to explore through our #LeedsFashionFutures project.