FEATURES: Fashion

Alumna stories: Elmina Fors, knitwear designer

25 March 2017 by Roger Tredre

Swedish knitwear designer Elmina Fors has built her own small business following her experience at Texprint in 2014. And small can be very beautiful.

She comes from a town where daylight never happens for three weeks in December and temperatures plummet to -30 degrees centigrade. No surprise perhaps that knitwear designer Elmina Fors likes to make what she describes as “warming clothes”.

© Elmina Fors 2017

The Swede, who was a Texprint designer in 2014, grew up in Kiruna, the northernmost town in Sweden. “You wear wool garments most of the year. I do like to use natural fibres and good quality yarns that feel good on the body.”

Elmina Fors Knitwear designs, makes and sells knitted accessories including scarves, hats, socks and wrist warmers, as well as soft throws and cushions. Her teal and orange Artisk scarf, available in teal and orange, or black and white, is a typical example of her work, the pattern inspired by age-old Northern Scandinavian patterns used on jumpers, made in a soft slightly felted Merino lambswool, wide and long to wrap over the shoulders. For the Spring/Summer season, she’s working with some new natural yarns including cotton/lambswool for her oversized Trekant jumpers and a lovely Swedish linen yarn from Vaxbo Lin for linen jumpers and scarves. 

© Elmina Fors 2017

A sense of tradition and connection with the past runs through all her work. “I like the history of patterns. Everyone has a connection to repeated patterns and geometric shapes because people have been doing them for a very long time. There is such a wealth of patterns that have travelled across the world.”

At home in Kiruna, handknitting was a family matter. “My mum taught me how to knit, and her mum taught her. It’s always something that people do there – people make things for themselves or family members. You fix things in your own home. I like that idea of DIY. You don’t have to buy new all the time.”

Saying Scarf: only wear clothes you can dance in  © Elmina Fors 2017

And there was a joyous communal aspect to it too. “Only wear clothes you can dance in” are the words stitched into her Saying Scarf, taking the words from a favourite saying of a friend. (See Fors’ video with the same title, created with R&A Collaborations).

Only Wear Clothes You Can Dance In - Elmina Fors from R&A Collaborations on Vimeo.

She first came to the south coast of England to study knitwear design at Brighton University, expanding her skill sets to machine knitting and developing her own design aesthetic. Then came the breakthrough with Texprint, which gave her the platform to present her work on an international stage in Paris.

© Elmina Fors 2017

Fors made her home in nearby Hove, coincidentally not far from Texprint honorary chairman Barbara Kennington. The designer now plans to relocate back to her home country, where she has identified a studio in Stockholm, ready for occupation in July, but she intends to maintain her strong links with the UK.

She has good memories of Texprint. “It was really useful, all the support and advice, and meeting other designers. I looked at all the big labels and design houses at Première Vision Designs and asked myself whether it was possible to have your own business and keep it very small and local. So it started as a kind of experiment.”

The experiment has worked out well, although it’s hard work, as Fors acknowledges. “I have always wanted to work hard and I’ve learned to make decisions on my own. I think many makers are quite introvert personalities, and we have to be focused and organised. Yes, it’s hard but it can be so rewarding.”

Texprint’s Barbara Kennington says: “I love Elmina’s work and admire her desire to ‘do her own thing’. Setting up on your own is not for every designer. It can be tough as you learn to multi-task all the essentials - from marketing to organising production, finance management to deciding on retail options (pop ups, fairs or selling to buyers).”

She adds: “To run your own business, you need to be willing to work hard, call in friends and family to help, and put up with limited studio space and often working on your own. Participating in the Texprint programme certainly helps young designers to prepare for this.”

www.elminafors.uk

© Elmina Fors 2017

Alumna Stories: Sarah Podlesny, The Aviary Studio

24 January 2017 by Elli Weir

Texprint alumna Sarah Podlesny has worked at Zara Home and designed for many famous names. Now she has set up her own weaving and design consultancy, The Aviary Studio.…

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ComOn 2016: the designer’s view from Como

10 December 2016 by Editor

The Italian trade organisation Unindustria Como represents a core of 300 Como-based textile companies and is responsible for organising the ComON programme, now in its tenth year.

Unindustria…

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Texprint at Intertextile Shanghai, October 2016

25 November 2016 by Editor

Amy Smith and Jacob Monk on The Bund against the iconic Shanghai skyline

October 2016 saw Texprint exhibit for the fourth time at Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics sponsored by Messe Frankfurt (HK), and again it was an incredibly positive experience for two…

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Alumna Stories: Jayne Goulding

09 November 2016 by Roger Tredre

She was a last-minute pick for Texprint 2015, but turned into one of the year’s biggest success stories. We speak to Jayne Goulding.

A last minute drop-out from…

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Meet the Sponsor: Julie Davies, The Woolmark Company

02 November 2016 by Roger Tredre

Judging The Woolmark Company Texprint Award 2016 at Première Vision Designs

Texprint has worked with TWC for much of its 40-year existence, and the synergy of interests between the two parties has been nurtured by a succession of remarkable individuals.

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Making It In Textiles 2016

14 October 2016 by Editor

Texprint was delighted to be invited to take part in the third Making It In Textiles conference held in Bradford earlier this month; a conference made possible by the…

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Texprint 2016 Paris: Première Vision Designs

15 September 2016 by Roger Tredre

Texprint’s young designers exhibit for the first time on the international stage at PremièreVision Designs in Paris. We report on a very special three days.

The 24 young…

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Judges for The Woolmark Company Texprint Award Announced

11 September 2016 by Editor

The judges for this year’s The Woolmark Company Texprint Award have been announced. They are Aline Galimberti, chief designer of Dormeuil, and Jonathan Christopher, the 2015-16 European menswear finalist…

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Introducing Texprint 2016 prize presenter: Martin Leuthold, Artistic Director, Jakob Schlaepfer

06 September 2016 by Roger Tredre

Martin Leuthold

He’s a legend in the textile industry. Switzerland’s Martin Leuthold has devoted his career to working for one company, Jakob Schlaepfer, renowned for its innovative textiles for both the…

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New era design: AVA CAD/CAM

11 August 2016 by Editor

The design process is being transformed through the innovative use of new-generation software. Texprint designers checked out the potential of AVA CAD/CAM on a training course this August.

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WGSN Report: Texprint 2016 Designers

31 July 2016 by Editor

WGSN, a foundation sponsor of Texprint, believes strongly in the value and importance of supporting emerging creative talent. Its comprehensive report highlighting the designers of Texprint 2016 and reproduced…

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Texprint 2016: Notebook from London

07 July 2016 by Roger Tredre

How events unfolded at Texprint London 2016 as designers, judges and industry guests gathered at Chelsea College of Arts.

The sun came out for Texprint’s London preview (July…

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Meet the Judges: Pip Jenkins, Head of Design, John Smedley

29 June 2016 by Roger Tredre

Pip Jenkins, Head of Design at John Smedley, has joined the judging panel for Texprint 2016. We spoke to her about her work.

It’s one of the world’s…

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Texprint mentor’s story: Simon Gallant, lawyer

08 June 2016 by Roger Tredre

Simon Gallant Mentoring Session at Texprint London 2014

Lawyer Simon Gallant is a long-time mentor at Texprint London, advising young designers on how to protect their work from knock-offs – and much more besides. We spoke…

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Meet the Judges: Nadia Albertini, couture embroidery designer

30 May 2016 by Roger Tredre

Photo credit: Anne Laure Camilleri

Mexican-born embroidery designer Nadia Albertini, who worked for many years with leading fashion names in Paris, is now based in New York. And she’s coming to London to judge…

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Meet the Sponsor: Queralt Ferrer, M&S

02 May 2016 by Roger Tredre

Alexa Chung at M&S

The director of design at British retail giant Marks & Spencer explains what she looks for in new talent.

High above west London’s Paddington Basin, Marks & Spencer…

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Pioneering partnerships: alumna Emma J Shipley

13 December 2015 by Editor

Emma J Shipley is a supreme collaborator.  Following her graduation from the RCA and selection for Texprint 2012, Shipley has created a successful eponymous brand which takes her other-worldly…

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Texprint heads east: Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics

25 November 2015 by Editor

Texprint headed east this autumn to exhibit for a third consecutive year at Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics (October 13–15), sponsored by Messe Frankfurt (HK) and The Woolmark Company.

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Texprint alumna story: Bonnie Kirkwood, woven textiles designer

15 November 2015 by Kathrin Huesgen

Bonnie Kirkwood on her stand at Première Vision Designs, September 2015

Texprint 2004 alumna Bonnie Kirkwood has set up her own business in London designing sophisticated woven fabrics for the high-end global market.

We’re meeting in her London studio…

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Alumna stories: Materials Alchemist Lauren Bowker

07 November 2015 by Editor

The Unseen's colour-changing headpiece for Selfridges’ Sagittarius Christmas window. Image: Selfridges

As ever Texprint 2011 alumna and materials alchemist Lauren Bowker is creating a stir.  In recent weeks Lauren’s latest work has featured in Vogue, Wired, Dezeen, Creative Review, the…

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Texprint Connects with Italian Textile Giants

25 October 2015 by Editor

Cones of brightly coloured silk at the Ratti silk-weaving facility

More than ever supporting graduate designers through properly structured internships is invaluable to fast track commercial awareness and industry experience, and Texprint’s ongoing relationship with Italian trade organization Unindustria…

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Texprint alumni story: Fairbairn Wolf & Skinner

05 October 2015 by Roger Tredre

FW & S - Jane Zhang, James Skinner and Tali Furman

Three designers from Texprint 2014 have joined forces to create their own London-based printed textiles studio. They launched at Première Vision Designs this September.

There’s Jane Zhang, from…

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Jessica Leclere wins Woolmark Company Texprint Award 2015

24 September 2015 by Roger Tredre

Winner Jessica Leclere shows her work to Franco Fabrello and Kit Neale

Texprint's long links with The Woolmark Company are celebrated each year with the award of a prize in Paris at Première Vision Designs.

The judging for the Woolmark…

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Texprint 2015 Paris: Première Vision Designs

18 September 2015 by Roger Tredre

Prize presenter Rosita Missoni with Texprint creative director, Peter Ring-Lefevre

The participation of all the Texprint designers in Première Vision Designs in Paris is the climax of the Texprint year. Here’s what happened.

It’s the ultimate challenge – the…

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Introducing Texprint 2015 prize presenter: Rosita Missoni

11 September 2015 by Roger Tredre

The legendary Rosita Missoni, who founded Missoni with her late husband Ottavio more than 50 years ago, is presenting the Texprint prizes at Premre Vision Designs in Paris.

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Texprint alumnus story: William Stone, menswear designer

07 September 2015 by Roger Tredre

Young British menswear designer William Stone is attracting increasing interest at London Collections Men, both for his innovative luxury tailoring and his textiles. We spoke to him about his…

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WGSN report: Texprint 2015 Designers

30 July 2015 by Editor

WGSN is a foundation sponsor of Texprint and believes strongly in the value and importance of supporting emerging creative talent. Its comprehensive report, reproduced below, was written and created…

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Texprint 2015: Notebook from London

06 July 2015 by Roger Tredre

2015 judge Sarah Lowry (Aston Martin Lagonda) reviews the work of designer Nicola Costello

Here’s the inside story of Texprint London 2015, from the interview process to show time at the annual exhibition.

Texprint’s London preview was staged during the hottest weather…

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Meet the sponsor: Carla Buzasi, Global Chief Content Officer, WGSN

30 June 2015 by Sarah Waldron

WGSN Global Chief Content Officer Carla Buzasi is in charge of the world’s leading fashion trends service. Sarah Waldron asked her about WGSN’s links with education and young designers.

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Meet the judges: Ariane Bigot, associate fashion director of Première Vision Paris

22 June 2015 by Roger Tredre

For the past 15 years, Ariane Bigot, associate fashion director of Pascaline Wilhelm, has worked directly with Première Vision.  Now she brings her wealth of experience to the task of…

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Meet the judges: Nicholas Oakwell of Nicholas Oakwell Couture

11 June 2015 by Sarah Waldron

Couturier Nicholas Oakwell talks textiles, embellishment and designing with Sarah Waldron.  Nicholas joins the Texprint 2015 judging panel end June to select this year's prize winners.

If Charles…

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Texprint alumna’s story: Laura Miles, WOVEN Studio

15 May 2015 by Cezary Koralewski

Laura Miles on her stand at Maison d'Exceptions, Première Vision February 2015

Texprint 1997 alumna Laura Miles founded WOVEN Studio at a time when the modern weaving industry appeared to offer few opportunities and few places to intern. After more than…

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Internship: Cosmique Global, New Delhi

15 April 2015 by Roger Tredre

Texprint 2014 designer Monika Haeussler-Goeschl enjoyed a 10-week internship in New Delhi, India, with Cosmique Global. Here are the edited highlights from her diary:

Expect the unexpected!…

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Texprint alumna’s story: Egle Vaituleviciute, WLE London

31 March 2015 by Roger Tredre

Egle Vaituleviciute, from Lithuania, was a Texprint knit designer in 2011. Here, she tells us what happened next and how she loves developing her own kind of knitted-weave products.

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Texprint alumna’s story: Ffion Griffith, Liberty

15 March 2015 by Roger Tredre

Ffion Griffith (right) with Tessa Birch, Liberty Head of Design for Fabrics (left)

Ffion Griffith was a Texprint designer in 2013 and went from us to a year-long internship at Liberty Art Fabrics that has worked out in the best possible…

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Texprint alumna’s story: Manri Kishimoto, Mannine

26 February 2015 by Jainnie Cho

Mannine at Isetan Japan, autumn winter 2014

An optimistic energy is at the heart of Manri Kishimoto’s designs. The 32-year-old Japanese designer’s prints, bursting with colour and whimsical, nature-inspired themes, would put a smile on anyone’s…

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Internships: new directions for Texprint

21 January 2015 by Roger Tredre

© Charlotte Beevor 2014

Internships have become an integral part of developing a career in the textile sector, as in many industries. That's why Texprint is putting increased emphasis on supporting its designers…

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Texprint alumna’s story: Momo Wang, Museum of Friendship

10 December 2014 by Jainnie Cho

Momo Wang at work in a studio at Central Saint Martins

Alumna Momo Wang has progressed quickly and launched her own womenswear label since her time with Texprint in 2011. We spoke to her in London.

Though trained in…

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From Texprint to Ratti and Louis Vuitton: Andrew Boyd’s story

26 August 2014 by Roger Tredre

Andrew Boyd's studio; a new project underway 2014

This is the story of how a 35-year-old graphic designer from Hartlepool decided to rethink his life – and how Texprint helped him make it happen.

Andrew Boyd…

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Internship Diary: Florence Angelica Colson at Lululemon Athletica

10 May 2014 by Editor

Team Specialized-Lululemon cycle kit designed by Florence Angelica Colson

Selected in 2013 by Deanne Schweitzer, SVP of Design and Creation at yoga-inspired brand Lululemon Athletica, as one of two winners of the prestigious Lululemon Texprint Award, we catch…

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WGSN Global Fashion Awards, Emerging Fashion Brand: Emma J Shipley

07 November 2013 by Editor

The WGSN Global Fashion Awards held 5th November saw Texprint alumna Emma J Shipley winning the prestigious Avery Dennison Emerging Fashion Brand Award.

Speaking from the awards venue, the…

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Emma J Shipley: out of this world storytelling

12 May 2013 by Editor

Emma J Shipley on her stand at Indigo 2011

The work of Emma J Shipley is very much rooted in skilled draftsmanship - her drawings intricate, her storytelling out of this world. These are certainly a great strength,…

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London Fashion Week: Texprint’s textile review Part 2

04 April 2013 by Editor

In Texprint’s second report on the autumn/winter 13/14 London Fashion Week collections we look at the innovations in wool, surface finishes, jacquards - and at what’s new in technology.

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London Fashion Week: Texprint’s textile review Part 1

03 March 2013 by Editor

With London Fashion Week over we thought it useful to highlight the breadth of autumn/winter 13/14 fabric directions being explored and developed by British brands and designers.

This…

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