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Texprint 2017 Paris: Première Vision Designs

21 September 2017 by Roger Tredre

The 24 designers chosen for Texprint this year went to Paris in September for Première Vision Designs – the highlight of the Texprint experience. Here’s what happened.

In Paris, things get serious. For most of the 24 young Texprint designers, the experience of exhibiting at Première Vision Designs (September 19-21) is their first contact with the real world of business. “It’s very different from the Texprint exhibition in London,” said Olivia Qi. “It’s much more about business.”

Designer Olivia Qi shows her collection to buyers

That means early starts (5.45am), three long days on the stands, and a readiness to sell, market, and generally eulogise your work to everyone who passes by. A total of 39 pieces of work were sold on the first day of PV, delighting the designers. But the joy of selling much-loved work can also be tinged with sadness. Lucy Day sold one of her favourite samples. “It’s got a lot of my identity in it,” said Day. “I think the buyer could see the despair on my face.”

The Paris experience is a true learning process, with the designers supported by the experienced Texprint team including Creative Director Peter Ring-Lefevre, Designer Liaison Gillian Little, Sponsorship Director Joanna Bowring and International Communications Executive Kate Harris.

In particular, designers learn how to refine their work for the broader commercial market. Ilana Avital, one of the busiest Texprint designers in Paris, found buyers attracted by the bold colours in her work. However, some of her more technical designs were overlooked. “It’s too complex to be produced industrially. I need to focus on my more commercial designs in the future – buyers have been really eager for these.”

Designer Ilana Avital shows her collection to buyers

While the proud recording of a first sale is an important rite of passage for any textile designer, Texprint’s greater importance is in establishing connections and opportunities for the longer term future. Angelica Chrysanthou noted: “The networking experience is actually more important than the selling.”

Abigail Barnes added: “It’s so great to talk to people in the industry. When you’re making, you get obsessed in your own creation bubble. Now I’m receiving feedback that really helps.”

Designer Abigail Barnes shows her work to Yuma Koshino and Peter Ring-Lefevre

The designers were also job hunting. Kate Connell, who studied textile print at Glasgow School of Art, had already landed a job (starting in October) before she got to Paris. “Tamara from Pentland was on this year’s Texprint interview panel, and we stayed in contact, so I really got the job through Texprint. After Texprint in London, Pentland interviewed me and offered me it – they loved my sporty prints and sports aesthetic and my fabric manipulation that is perfect for accessories.”

After a busy first day, the second day in Paris concluded with the award presentation hosted by Texprint chair Barbara Kennington. The event gave Kennington the opportunity to share the news that Texprint is to be rebranded from January 2018. The plan is to change the charity’s name to TexSelect to reflect more accurately the diversity of the participating textile designers. Kennington also emphasised Texprint’s digital marketing initiatives in recent months, including investment in social media communication through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

And then there were the awards. First up, a new award from UK retailer Marks & Spencer – the Marks & Spencer Texprint Fashion Textile Award – which went to Roberta Fox (who also won the Texprint Colour Award). Libby Allan, Trend Lead, Womenswear & Lingerie, at Marks & Spencer, said the judging had been a challenge. “At M&S, we passionately believe in supporting young design talent… and I’ve been blown away by the creativity and diversity and ambition.”

Libby Allan, Trend Lead Marks & Spencer, speaking on the new M&S Texprint Fashion Textile Award

Also on the winners’ podium were three of the most promising talents from this year’s Texprint – Charlotte Des’Ascoyne won the Texprint Award for Fashion, Lucy Day for Interiors, and Angelica Chrysanthou for Pattern.

Japanese fashion designer Yuma Koshino, from the legendary Koshino family, presented the awards. She is famed for her inventive combination of modern technique with Japanese tradition, and has drawn on both Western and Eastern style in her ground-breaking collections. Speaking to the Texprint designers, she emphasised the need for a new generation of designers to deliver “higher level creation that people can relate to.”

Designer Freya Richmond shows her collection to Yuma Koshino and Peter Ring-Lefevre

Finally, the prestigious The Woolmark Company Texprint Award went to Rosie Moorman, a woven textile designer who works solely with wool and other noble fibres. She handweaves and hand dyes her work, using her own loom and developing her own colour chips. The collection shown at Première Visions Designs was inspired by the landscapes and moorlands of her native Yorkshire.

Woolmark judge Roberto Sarti of famed Italian textile manufacturer Lanificio Faliero Sarti said: “Rosie’s work uses colour beautifully and she has developed her ideas so well. There is a spirit of experimentation, but she also shows a good technique for industry.”

Winner of The Woolmark Company Texprint Award, Rosie Moorman, with judges Roberto Sarti and Charles Jeffrey

In a sense, all the Texprint designers were award winners. And the most pleasing aspect of the designers’ progress in Paris was the steady growth in their confidence. Three days in Paris can turn a hesitant novice into an impressively assured professional. As Ilana Avital, one of the best-selling designers of the week, put it: “I was quite shy in London. Now I’ve learned how to speak to people.”

Old friends!  Roberto Sarti and Yuma Koshino

Designer Bryan Lam shows his collection to Charles Jeffrey and Roberto Sarti

Designer Joe Whitbread shows his collection to buyers

Designer Nina Butler shows her work to The Woolmark Company judges, Charles Jeffrey and Roberto Sarti

Designer Lucy Day shows her collection to buyers

Designer Sophie Harrison shows her collection to buyers

Designer Charlotte Des'Ascoyne shows her collection to buyers

Designer Maddie Whalley shows her collection to buyers

Designer Freya Richmond shows her collection to buyers

Texprint 2017 designers

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