Alumnus update: Mikey Womack, Design Union and Textile View
08 April 2017 by Editor
It’s certainly unusual for a young textile designer to see his work on the front cover of an international magazine just months after graduation. But thanks to the keen eye of designer Eileen Gleeson, and her instinct for talent, Mikey Womack found himself working on a special print forecast edition of Textile View published for top European trade fair Premiere Vision.
Eileen Gleeson set up Design Union first in New York after graduating Brighton Polytechnic studying under John Miles, then moved back to London where she is now based with her team of artist/designers.
She first spotted Mikey while interviewing graduates for Texprint in June 2016 (in order to be selected for Texprint, over 200 graduates put forward by their college tutors and are interviewed by panels of industry professionals). Eileen says her first impressions were of a young designer who worked in a highly sensitive and original way, “painting from the gut” as she describes it.
Front cover, Textile View special edition
Eileen continues: “His work impressed me with its strong and fluid painterly style – unique and very individual with a hauntingly beautiful colour sense, not over polished instead a little strange and ethereal. Individualism was the theme for our View shoot, we were looking at portraits and in particular paintings of Marlene Dumas, his work slotted perfectly in.”
Eileen had previously worked with David Shah publisher of Textile View magazine, so when she got the brief to work on the autumn/winter 2018/19 print trends for Issue 117 the timing was right and the work Mikey developed with such a natural ease was adopted - the results are just brilliant.
From Mikey’s point of view, the opportunity was mind-blowing: “With Eileen, I started brainstorming ideas, we looked at Basquiat and Marlene Dumas, and looked through my portfolio to decide on which direction to go. She gave me a lot of creative freedom, which was fabulous. I came up with the name 'Soft Punk' for the trend as it combined pastel, spring time shades and delicate, ghostly colours with an energetic punk-style drawing. The whole process was very instinctive, I literally decided on the colours by picking up used brushes that had been tinted by paint over time and taking the colours from them (the image of the brushes ended up getting published in the edit!)
Seeing my work eventually being turned into a garment worn by a model and styled with an amazing backdrop was a proud moment for me. Then having the director of Textile View magazine love the spread enough to want it on the cover was mind-blowing. I can't thank Eileen, Design Union and Textile View enough for the opportunity!”
Looking forward, Mikey is freelancing and exploring a number of exciting new projects including a print collection for a womenswear brand in China, a collection for a new London menswear brand (which showed at Copenhagen Fashion Week), and designing the album artwork for an up-and-coming band!
Following images - Design Union and Textile View autumn/winter 2018/19 print trends...