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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 Como’s continued sponsorship of Texprint again provided the opportunity for seven talented Texprint 2016 designers to participate in seven-week internships this autumn in the heart of Como with some of the finest textile companies in Italy. More than ever supporting graduate designers through properly structured internships is proving invaluable in helping them fast track their experience and commercial understanding.

Laura Sofia Clerici and Andrea Taborelli talk with designer Alice Timmis

Laura Sofia Clerici and Andrea Taborelli, who are both on the ComOn select committee, came to Texprint London earlier this year to personally select the seven short listed.

Short listed designers at Texprint London with Laura Sofia and Andrea, and on the right, Peter Ring-Lefevre, Texprint creative director

Texprint designer Alice Timmis says: “During my placement in Como, I was given complete freedom to design my own collection of jacquard fabrics, and the opportunity to have some of my designs realised into actual cloth too. The mill where I was placed, Tessitura Taborelli, offers so many options to the fashion industry due to its size and range of different production looms. My time in Como has been really inspiring, living in a new culture whilst engaging with its impressive textile industry.”

Designer Amy Smith adds: “I’ve had such an amazing time in Italy and want to thank Texprint for giving me the opportunity. I've learnt so much and now understand better industry standards and what clients and producers will expect of me as a designer.”

“My mill (Lisa) and my tutor, senior designer Letizia Rodilosso, have been great. The studio designers all speak really good English taking the pressure off my (very basic) Italian! I was assisting them with general tasks such as putting designs into repeat and doing colour separations, while also working on my own client briefs and designs for the new collection to be shown at PV in February. Mainly on childrenswear conversational prints which is a new area for me, but I have really enjoyed the fun, colours and prints. Also I have been drawing straight into Photoshop with a graphics tablet which has been a fantastic skill to learn and will help my design work moving forward. Letizia was really helpful with feedback and pointers on what helps designs sell better such as avoiding lines and directional prints.”

Another Texprint designer, Esther Rigg, enjoyed herself too: “While working at Teseo, I visited Como Crea with the design team.  It was especially interesting to see how the mill chooses prints, and after exhibiting at Première Vision Designs, to understand how the process works from a buyers perspective. It has been a great opportunity to design to a brief and expand my digital skills, putting designs into repeat and preparing files for weaving and printing.

The inspiring research studio at Erica

The ComON Creative Sharing programme included visits to the Como Silk Museum, Antonio Ratti Foundation archives, Centro Tessile Serico to talk about their fabric testing laboratory, Textile Solution Centre, a major centre for improving and mastering ink-jet production, and Arte Miniartextil for a fine art exhibition. Also visits to see the state-of-the-art printing facilities and highly regarded textile archives at Ratti and Canepa, to find out how these impressive mills are adapting their production methods to reduce water use and remove toxic chemicals. Designer Jacob Monk worked at the Clerici Tessuto mill where the designers were shown high-end archive designs as well as the production processes.  

The designers also spent a day with Como-based swim/resort wear printers, and attended a lifelstyle and consumer presentation by renowned trend specialist David Shah.  Designer Melissa Ougham visited the swimwear fair Mare di Moda in Cannes with her mill Taiana.

Design archives at Erica

Italian companies that generously invited Texprint designers included Tessile Erica SpA, Seterie Argenti SpA, Clerici Tessuti SpA, Taiana, Lisa SpA, Tessitura Taborelli, and Tesseo SpA.

A final comment from designer Megan Clarke: “Overall the experience was really great. The ComOn team were lovely and very helpful with any problems we had. The mill I was at, Erica, was fantastic! They allowed me to produce a mini collection for them to demonstrate their fabrics on as well as working on briefs for fashion clients. If I ever needed different art supplies they would order them which meant nothing was off limits with regards to painting and mark making etc.  I would definitely recommend Como to anyone who wishes to find out more about the Italian production industry - but would suggest learning more Italian before going!”

 

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