Features: Alumni

Texprint connects industry to selected graduate designers just emerging from college or university - also to Texprint alumni, many of whom now enjoy high profile creative roles within the international textile, fashion and interior design industries. Their success in industry, and in many cases, the success of their own studios and brands, are testimony to the Texprint programme.  Many continue to support Texprint in a variety of ways.

If you are a Texprint alumnus, tell us what you're doing now, we would love to hear from you - info@texprint.org.uk


Kirsty McDougall’s 21st Century tweeds

27 March 2011

Texprint caught up with Kirsty McDougall, who runs the successful company, ‘Dashing Tweeds’ with her business partner Guy Hills. The company was created to re-invent tweeds, suiting and traditional woven fabrics for fashion, and offer a range of menswear products. Kirsty won the Texprint Weave Prize in 2002, and has not looked back since. She says, “Texprint was the springboard into industry that I needed. Showing and making sales through my Texprint stand in Paris really developed my insight and confidence in following a career in woven textiles, and provided many excellent contacts”.

Kirsty’s fabrics for Dashing Tweeds are rooted in the heritage of traditional British textiles, but the designs are lively and contemporary. The company’s vision is clear - she told us; “Although our designs are based on traditional techniques, we distance ourselves from notions of ‘nostalgia’. We make fabrics that are relevant to our time.”  This philosophy is proving irresistible, and this year alone some of Kirsty’s bespoke fabrics have graced the catwalks of Alexander McQueen and Holly Fulton, to name just two. Other studio clients include a hugely impressive array of top notch industry names who include, Tom Ford, Billionaire Boys Club, Anderson and Sheppard, Henry Holland, Philip Treacy and Gieves and Hawkes. This autumn sees the launch of a ‘Dashing Tweeds’ Converse trainer range.

Dashing Tweeds marry function, aesthetics and innovation within traditional British wool textiles and menswear products. For example, a recent range of cycle and scooter wear features a tweed fabric incorporating a special reflective yarn. The company manufacture in the UK, and offer hardwearing, functional, products that are sold worldwide. On-line sales are complemented by a presence at Dover Street Market and Beam’s Gallery Tokyo. One of the reasons for their on-going success is their flexibility; Kirsty told us, “Our fabric production goes from very small bespoke amounts that are hand-woven in the studio, to thousands of metres. Large quantities are made in a variety of British mills, depending on the amount our clients need”.  

Kirsty recalls the boost Texprint gave her in those early days, “The advice provided by the industry experts at Texprint was of great support and in fact - I still refer back to my notes on invoicing and copyright today!”.


Josie Warden embroidered textile

Josie Warden; Indian journey inspires sustainable futures

20 March 2011

Passionate about sustainable design and ethical production, Texprint’s Josie Warden and fellow textile graduate Isolde Jaspard Mandy embarked on a three month long fact finding trip to India in September last year.

A graduate of University College Falmouth and one of the Texprint stars of 2010, Josie’s textile work encompasses both embroidery and print. Through Texprint’s connections, Josie secured an internship with Cosmique Global, a design and manufacturing company based in Delhi, which is where the friends began their Indian adventure.

Josie told us, “Director Sandeep Manakatala has had a long connection with Texprint, creating opportunities for UK design graduates, at the same time as developing new ideas for his company. This opportunity formed an amazing start to our Indian visit and provided an invaluable experience for us.”  The remainder of their trip was a whirl of activity and the pair visited many other companies and organisations, including a visit to the renowned Pearl Academy in Delhi, making new friends and connections along the way. Back in the UK, Josie and Isolde have used their experiences and knowledge to inform their newly launched on-line resource hub, Thread. One of the central aims of the Thread project is to highlight initiatives that textile and manufacturing companies are taking to create a future where ethical production is widely embraced. The Thread website is also being developed to link design students, graduates and producers – in the UK and abroad. The intention is to make a dynamic on-line destination that will feature interviews with ethical designers, brand profiles and outreach lectures, as well as offering students the opportunity to submit reports. Following a recent lecture on the project, University College Falmouth will link with Kushala Kala Kendra in India in a cross-cultural exchange programme this summer. 

As well as her commitment to Thread, Josie is freelancing for several studios and working towards developing her own collection of accessories with an organisation supporting embroiderers, discovered during the Indian trip. The end of one inspiring journey has opened the way for exciting possibilities to marry creativity with ethical principles and make a difference for the future.

To contact Josie and find out more about the Thread project


Emma Bradbury Texprint 2010

Emma Bradbury - designs for Daks at London Fashion Week

13 March 2011

Texprint caught up with another of 2010’s stars, Emma Bradbury, who has been madly busy working on a number of exciting projects. Most recently Emma has been working with London based brand Daks on their latest Womenswear collection which was shown at London Fashion Week last month.  

This great opportunity evolved from Emma’s success in a Daks sponsored design competition, whilst at the RCA. She has designed and made a range of sweaters, scarves and other separates to fit in with Daks 'British Heritage' theme. This commission was a perfect fit for Emma, she told us,” It was a great project which brought together my love of traditional knitting techniques, British heritage, design and fashion.  It was very exciting to see my work on the catwalk at Somerset House!”

Emma’s designs for Daks utilised some top quality British yarns, including Shetland and Blue Faced Leicester wool. She was able to work directly with Yorkshire based spinners, Laxons, who created a bespoke British yarn for her as part of the project. She hopes that the successful collaboration with Daks will continue, but she is also working with Orkney based design company, 'Tait and Style' on a new collection of scarves and accessories.

As part of the Texprint showcase at Indigo, Paris, Emma was also approached by New York based company, Kate Spade, who snapped up some of her designs. She says, “I’m very much looking forward to see how they use my designs in their collection”. She added, “Being chosen for Texprint 2010 has been an invaluable experience. The support, encouragement and advice given by the Texprint team has been extremely important to me in these first few months since graduating, and has provided me with professional skills regarding pricing, negotiating and invoicing”.

To contact Emma or to find out more about her recent projects


Rupert Newman design with light projection

Rupert Newman - illuminating textiles

06 March 2011

Rupert Newman, one of Texprint’s alumni from 2006, is challenging the traditional boundaries of print, adding sound, animation and light projection to bring surface pattern to life. His mission includes not only involving the viewer in his magical pieces, but empowering them by giving control over their experience. Rupert, who graduated with an MA in Textile Design from the Royal College of Art last year, told us, “I not only aim to stimulate and bombard the senses with a variety of colours, textures, shapes and sounds, but also to provide the viewer with the ability to choose, control and manipulate this ‘palette’ with both predetermined and unpredictable material”.

Rupert’s approach is radically modern and alters the traditional artist/spectator relationship, as he explains, “I want to give the element of control back to them. I want them to explore the boundaries of my work in their individual ways”.
His recent work has clear recreational and therapeutic benefits and his installations have had great reactions from the public, having been shown at a variety of venues; at music festivals and nightclubs, as well as galleries. He created a quite a stir for a client in Chiswick, London recently, with his beautiful projection drawing attention to a showroom during a special event.

Currently in the process of planning an exciting new exhibition, to be held in Brixton, London later this spring, Rupert plans a variety of contrasting fabrics and light projections all accompanied by individual sounds, heard though wireless headphones. He is also beginning to explore how his work might be harnessed in sensory rooms, or play a role in product showrooms, or as window installations. Rupert Newman’s future looks as bright and exciting as his innovative work.


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