Texprint 2014: Interview to Indigo
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Photo report: Texprint 2014 at Indigo/Première Vision, Paris
19 October 2014 by Editor
The main event of Texprint’s annual calendar is the showcasing of British-trained textile design talent at Indigo, where through the generous sponsorship of Première Vision SA, 24 selected Texprint designers are given a unique opportunity to exhibit at Europe’s most important fashion fabrics, yarn and textile design fair.
The designers each have an individual stand on the Texprint ‘avenue’ to exhibit their design collections, meet international buyers and make invaluable contacts. Indigo is also host to the annual prize presentation which is a great opportunity for Texprint to gather with its international supporters, sponsors and press. And also to introduce Texprint to the international industry who come together at Première Vision Pluriel.
Photos: James McCauley (www.jamesmccauley.com)
Photo report: Texprint at Indigo/Première Vision 2014, Paris (...continued)
19 October 2014 by Editor
“I just want to thank you again for everything. I had a fantastic time at Indigo! Being part of Texprint has really changed how I view my work and my future career. All of you made this experience really unforgettable and I can't thank you enough for all of your help, advice and support and for giving me this amazing opportunity in the first place.” Federica Tedeschi
Photos: James McCauley (www.jamesmccauley.com)
After Texprint: how designers continue to prosper
13 October 2014 by Roger Tredre
New textile designers selected by Texprint take their first steps in the professional world by exhibiting at Indigo in Paris. Later, many of them choose to continue the relationship with the industry's leading creative textiles show.
Besides the 24 designers who are chosen by Texprint every year to show at Indigo (part of Première Vision Pluriel) in September, there are plenty of other former Texprint designers along the aisles – now operating independently and thriving in their own right.
This year, we tracked down two alumnae, Hannah Hope Johnson and Pepe Lowe, who were with Texprint as recently as 2013. Now they're sharing a stand together – a sensible cost-saving decision, also helped by support from UKFT – and are enjoying working in the 'real' world.
Pepe Lowe (left) and Hannah Hope Johnson (right)
Hannah Hope Johnson, who studied at Leeds School of Art, can't stop talking about her experience since she was with Texprint – and her enthusiasm is infectious. "After Indigo I was approached by a couple of London-based studios. I had interviews at both and was offered design positions at both. In the end, I decided not to take up either offer, it was a gamble, but a decision I am now pleased with. I saw that working in a studio didn't give me the creative freedom I was looking for."
The designer shows us her new work, focusing on dark romantic florals. "The geometrics inspired by Art Deco were part of my graduation collection, but during the Texprint exhibition in London I found a lot of people looking through my other work and admiring my florals. So I showed light summer florals at Indigo in February. And now I'm developing them in a darker direction."
Hope Johnson is now living in Paris with her French boyfriend and working with the founder of a new accessories label launching in 2015. "She's offered me a fantastic contract where I work three or four days a week for her and on my days off I dedicate my time to painting and creating my own collection of prints."
Separately, Pepe Lowe has launched a digital print silk womenswear line under her own name. She likes to play with free-flowing colours, textures and patterns together with a rigid grid or controlled line. "I translate these ideas into fabric either through digital or hand stitch, together with digital prints from either my photographs or drawings."
She recalls: "Texprint was exactly what I needed after finishing at Chelsea College of Arts. That extra push after the final show was perfect – it set me up for the past year. Doing the Texprint shows in London and Paris really helped me form some of my first connections with companies I would not have had a chance to meet."
The fond memories are shared by designers who were with Texprint much earlier. Lisa Jukes was a Texprint designer back in 1998 and now shows at Indigo with designer Emily Sedgwick as Code Studio. "I don't think we could have done it without Texprint. It was such an eye opener into the industry, such an invaluable support. Some of those early contacts are still clients today."
Lisa Jukes of Code Studio
Jukes, who is a print specialist, found Texprint to be the perfect springboard. "It was actually more beneficial than my degree show because it placed us in the commercial arena. The whole experience was tremendous."
Many Texprint designers are now working in major jobs at some of the biggest exhibitors at Première Vision. For example, Italian giant Miroglio Textiles has an Irish senior print designer, Louise Somers, who took part in Texprint herself six years ago. And Miroglio now sponsors an Award with Texprint – to the delight of Somers, who landed her first job when she showed with Texprint back in 2008. The wheel has truly come full circle.
Texprint first: Miroglio’s new internship award
30 September 2014 by Roger Tredre
Leading Italian print specialist Miroglio Textile is sponsoring a new Texprint award that provides an opportunity for a young designer to work at the company. Designer Charlotte Hetheridge is the first winner.
It's one of the world's leading textile companies. An iconic name dating back to the 19th century when Carlo and Angela Miroglio opened a draper's shop in Alba.
Now Miroglio is at the heart of investment and innovation in textile design and manufacture, particularly in digital technology. Which makes the introduction of the new Miroglio Texprint Award for Digital Innovation a landmark moment in the evolution of Texprint, a charity set up to help new designers develop their careers.
The winner of the award is Charlotte Hetheridge, who studied print design at London's Royal College of Art. Besides winning a cash prize, Hetheridge has the opportunity to go to the company’s headquarters in Piedmont, Italy, and gain experience and exposure to the marketplace.
She says: "It's such a fantastic opportunity to develop my work. I'm completely overwhelmed and thrilled. My work has always been a mix of handcraft and digital – it's amazing that we are on the same page."
The prize has been initiated by Elena Miroglio, vice president of the Miroglio Group, and commercial director Chiaretto Calo. Elena Miroglio says: "We believe in education and we are on a constant quest to find new creative processes to bring to the company."
Speaking at the presentation at Première Vision Pluriel (September 17), Chiaretto Calo said: “Our philosophy is to push the boundaries of what is possible in textiles, combining creativity with high technology."
At Première Vision Pluriel, Miroglio Textile was promoting its new DMIx technical facility, developed with hardware and software specialists such as Caddon, Epson, EFI and Color Digital. The ground-breaking new technology enables Miroglio to reliably translate the visual impression of the colours and patterns shown on a mood board into identical production colours. It's a huge step forward for digital printing and confirms the company's status as a true technological pioneer.
Miroglio Textile is a long-time supporter of Texprint and the company’s senior print designer Louise Somers took part in Texprint herself back in 2008. "I remember coming to London for my first interview," she recalls. "I couldn't believe that a charity like this existed. It seemed like a dream! If you don't have connections, it can be so difficult to get going in a career."
Louise Somers on the Miroglio Textiles stand at Première Vision, September 2014
Somers, from Dublin, had studied printed textiles at Glasgow School of Art. "At Texprint, I didn't win the Print prize, but I got offered a job! I sold a lot of work. I had created lots of unusual illustrations, quite organically, not obviously commercial, with a different hand-feel. In Paris, an Italian mill offered me a job in Como. Two weeks later I was in Italy."
Later, back in London, Somers worked for four years at innovative retailer Ted Baker, designing prints for menswear and womenswear. And then came the opportunity to work at Miroglio. She is still based in London but travels between a studio in the centre of town and Miroglio's Italian headquarters. She says: "I focus on prints, particularly for the UK and Northern Europe markets. It's about being innovative, about newness and on-trend prints. We take orders both from the fast fashion and high-end market."
For Somers, the new internship award is great news. "We are very excited about it. Miroglio is very progressive with technology, such as the Evolution project to make products and inks truly sustainable within 20 years. And the state-of-the-art digital printers are incredible."
For winner Charlotte Hetheridge, it's going to be a great experience. "I can't wait to push my work to the next level," she says.
The Woolmark Company Texprint Award
23 September 2014 by Roger Tredre
Designer Tali Furman has received the Woolmark Company Texprint Award 2014, with the legendary textiles designer Nino Cerruti expressing his admiration for her work.
By her own admission, Tali Furman's work is not for everybody, but she's happy to play it her way. Texture is her big focus right now – and it was her creative exploration of texture on wool textiles that caught the eye of the judges of this year's Woolmark Company Texprint Award.
Now in its fourth year, the award goes to a Texprint designer who has used at least 60% Merino wool in an innovative way. Highly commended were designers Kaila Cox and Zana Ajvazi, but Tali Furman was delighted to win the big prize.
"I like to say that texture is the new colour," says Tali Furman as we talk on her stand at Indigo in Paris. She's taken orders at the exhibition, even though she priced her work perhaps more highly than one might expect of a new designer. That's because Furman knows it's good – "and I know how long it took me to do," she adds with a laugh.
The Israeli designer, who studied at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design and London's Royal College of Art, was thrilled to win the approval of the judges. "I was surprised, but it's a lovely surprise," she enthused after receiving the award from celebrated Italian textiles designer Nino Cerruti.
Cerruti said that he was looking for work that showed complexity, innovation and harmony. "It's great to see a very high level of work from both a technical and creative point of view."
Cerruti was joined by Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton of British menswear brand Agi & Sam. They said: "We all had the notion that if you have an identity it needs to be strong. We were looking for a combination of strong technical ability, creativity and cohesive designs." In a competitive industry, a strong personality helps too.
A key feature of the award is the opportunity for Furman to show her work at Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics (October 20-23) with Texprint and The Woolmark Company.
Last time Furman was in Asia, she was a backpacking student. Now she's a textile designer with a major award to her name. A delight for her – and for Texprint.
Note: So much buzz about wool at the moment as HRH The Prince of Wales' Campaign for Wool gets underway again this autumn. Coinciding with Premiere Vision Pluriel, the wool festivities started in Paris with French Wool Week and a reception at The British Embassy to which Texprint were delighted to be invited.
London is due to host the Campaign for Wool Interiors Collection exhibition at Southwark Cathedral (Millennium Courtyard and Queen Elizabeth Room, 5 - 12 October) - a collection of fifty wool interior products selected from the global wool textile industry: fabrics, rugs, furnishings, lifestyle and art in the world's most natural and sustainable fibre. The exhibition will also feature a small Wool Fringe area displaying work from students and other innovative wool products.
Texprint 2014: Indigo, Paris
18 September 2014 by Roger Tredre
Texprint's 24 young designers had their first taste of the international arena in Paris at Indigo at Première Vision Pluriel. They exhibited their work in the textile industry's leading global marketplace.
© Kaila Cox
The Texprint year reaches its climax in September in Paris at Indigo, the show for creative textile designers which is a long-established part of the giant Première Vision Pluriel exhibition.
Here, Texprint's 24 designers, carefully selected after a long and intensive interview process, and all recently graduated from BA and MA courses in UK universities, exhibit their work for the international industry to view.
Indigo (September 16-18) is a must-see for PV visitors – and Texprint's decades-long association with the event ensures the young designers have a high profile. The results can be remarkable: over the years, designers have received job offers on the spot; commissions from leading international brands; and plenty of hard-cash orders.
This year was no exception. The first orders for Texprint designers were placed within the first hour of the show opening. Charlotte Beevor, a print designer who studied at Leeds College of Art, said: "I sold four designs within an hour and 12 designs in the first day. It's been amazing!"
© Aline Nakagawa de Oliveira
For obvious reasons of commercial confidentiality, we can't reveal all the details – but there were some very happy faces by the end of day one, despite the difficulties of not knowing quite how much to ask for. "The pricing is a real challenge," noted Jessica Stewart, a print designer who studied at Loughborough University Design School. "You have to learn not to be too precious about it."
In truth, selling is not the priority for the designers. The Indigo experience is much broader than that. It's about learning from the professional response to work that has often been conceived within the protective cocoon of university. This is invaluable, whether or not orders are placed.
The second day of the show concluded with the presentation of the Texprint awards by celebrated Italian textile designer Nino Cerruti, who judged the Woolmark Company Texprint Award with Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton of hot British menswear brand Agi & Sam. Mdumulla and Cotton loved judging alongside Cerruti: "Our tastes came together despite being of different generations."
© Jonny Wadland with Nino Cerruti and Agi & Sam
Cerruti, a legendary figure in the industry, was keen to pass on his experience. "The world is full of crazy artists, but we are not in the world of pure art – we are in industrial design," he said. "It is easy to have a new idea. It is very difficult to have a new idea that sells."
The newness of the idea is important. One of the reasons buyers return again and again to the Texprint stands at Indigo is to find fresh creativity – to see exciting new work not yet too watered down by the demands of the fiercely competitive commercial market. Even if the technical challenges of producing the designs might be tough.
Mixed media designer Fedrica Tedeschi, from Switzerland, who studied at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art, works with embroidery, weave and print and decided not to simply sell the work she had on display but to use it as a springboard for commissions. "A lot of my stuff is hard to reproduce in a commercial sense, so the wovens are fine but digital embroidery is still quite new in the market, so people are not quite sure how they would get it into production." So the commission approach worked? "Yes, I've been saying, how about if I design something for you instead? I got four commissions on the first day."
© James Skinner
Texprint aims to give its designers the tools and reassurance to follow their own creative paths. Jane Zhang, a Chinese designer from the Royal College of Art, who won the Texprint Award for Pattern, said: "It really does help to build my confidence. I'm very happy that the award was for pattern."
The other winners were Charlotte Beevor (Colour), Georgia Fisher (Space), and Federica Tedeschi (Body), with Tali Furman winning the Woolmark Company Texprint Award and Charlotte Hetheridge the new Miroglio Texprint Award for Digital Innovation.
And after Paris? The world awaits. Some are off to Como in Italy for internships. Others are heading to China for Intertextile Shanghai in October. The winners of the Lululemon Texprint Internship Award will be on their way to Vancouver. The next few weeks will be full of suitcase packing and visa form filling...
Although not all 24 designers could win an award, showing at Indigo was a great experience for all. As designer Francesca Stride put it: "Texprint is such a great opportunity – just being part of it is very special. There is nothing else like it."
Texprint 2014 designers with Nino Cerruti and Barbara Kennington (Texprint chairman)