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


Wallace Sewell’s creative partnership

06 May 2011

Wallace Sewell is a design partnership – aka Harriet Wallace Jones and Emma Sewell – which has built a truly successful business while retaining the two designers’ creative integrity. With an impressive track record that spans 21 years, they are both friends and business partners.

Emma, a Texprint alumna, met Harriet at the RCA and they joined forces following their graduation in 2000. They each have complementary creative and business skills that have enabled their company to flourish, sharing the design work. Emma explains: “The diversity of our approaches continues still, yet because we trained together we understand each other inherently and can discuss our design work at great speed.” The shop and studio in London WC1 sells the company’s jewel- coloured woven products, throws, cushions, and scarves. Wallace Sewell also supplies a swathe of high-end retailers including Anthropologie, the Tate in London, and Barneys in New York.

The Wallace Sewell partnership champions British manufacturing - its textiles have always been made in UK mills. The product range spans womenswear, menswear and interior textiles. The company has also won prestigious commissions for Transport for London. Emma and Harriet have created iconic moquette fabrics for seating on London Tramlink, London Overground and East London Transit. Last year, the duo beat 350 entries from all over the world in a public competition to create a new fabric for the refurbishment of the Central Line trains. The tight design brief allowed the designers to use only four colours. But as Emma says of the experience: “It was so interesting and such a challenge – proper design.”

Emma credits Texprint with having been a great confidence boost in the early days, she says: “The chance to show and sell work internationally at Texprint was a great experience. Just two years later, we launched Wallace Sewell at Chelsea Crafts Fair and we took our first trade orders.”

Emma has this advice for emerging designers: “Be ambitious, aim to produce work that is always pushing forward and evolving, and that you believe in. Understand your strengths and also your market or niche. Charge correctly. Network, be open to advice - and always be aware that you do not stop learning after leaving college.”

Wallace Sewell will be showing new products at Pulse, Earls Court, London June 5-7, 2011.


Ella Robinson, RCA

Ella Robinson at Talking Textiles, Milan

22 April 2011

The recent Talking Textiles exhibition in Milan, curated by forecasting guru Li Edelkoort, featured the work of 23 newly graduated textile designers, 18 of whom gained their degrees from UK universities and two were Texprint alumni; Ella Robinson and Laura McPherson.

We caught up with Ella on her return to find out more about her experience. She said: “We had an overwhelmingly positive response from visitors to the show; I have never seen so many people taking continuous photographs! The gallery was a riot of colour, texture, experimentation and interesting techniques and I think that visitors warmed to it very much; there was something for everyone.”

Ella thought the exhibition stood out from the work in surrounding galleries. It attracted visitors with many different perspectives and some high profile industry guests including Rosita Missoni.

As a learning experience, Ella felt the trip was invaluable. She said: “Ventura Lambrate is a very creative and welcoming environment. It was fascinating to see how the gallery was transformed from an empty space on Saturday in readiness for the show. I learnt the importance of having a press pack when you do such a big show – and to have lots of them printed. Not many of us had brought enough cards, so that was a tough lesson to learn.” However, the benefits of her exposure at the exhibition are already emerging. Apart from making lots of new contacts, her work has featured in various design blogs and she connected with other creative people with a view to future collaborations.

Ella managed to stay in Milan for the duration of the exhibition, maximising her resources by camping with a friend instead of staying in a hotel. She explained: “It's been great to meet new people with similar interests, especially those who have strong and interesting work that pushes the boundaries and preconceptions of textiles.”

Laura, too, was thrilled to have her work included, but unfortunately was unable to go to Milan. She said: “The Talking Textiles initiative was an excellent opportunity to showcase the innovative work of textile designers. I was very excited to be part of it.”

One of Michael's designs for Surface View

Michael Angove’s stellar decade in design

03 April 2011

Michael Angove’s meticulous eye for detail informs his beautiful decorative products, which have been snapped up by some of the most prestigious retailers around. Having worked successfully in textiles and interiors for over a decade, Michael holds the distinction of having been highlighted by Texprint not once, but twice. Studying for his BA at Winchester in 2005, he scooped Texprint’s Liberty Print Prize and also the Marks and Spencer, ‘Breaking New Ground Prize’. Texprint highlighted him for the second time, while studying for his MA at the RCA in 2000.

Michael has had an exciting year, with his work featured in numerous interiors magazines including Elle Decoration, The Times On-line, and the New York Times.He runs a successful business in cutting edge wallpaper design, and has recently been working with Surface View to create large scale murals from manipulated photographic imagery, which make beautiful, striking statements for modern interiors.

He has also launched a range of laminate products with Ary Trays, stocked in Liberty, Fortnum and Mason and Divertimenti. Printed chairs from the range were bought in quantity by a Hong Kong based company. Michael’s presence in Liberty was further strengthened this month, with the launch of a limited edition range of ceramics for the store.

The root of Michael’s aesthetic lies firmly in drawing, and his focus is always on precision and quality. In the early days, whilst studying at Winchester, he won two prizes for drawing, and he has continued to create fine art pieces alongside his successful commercial print work. His imaginative and delicate compositions feature fragile and eclectic items such as feathers, eggs, keys, insects and spoons. His work has been exhibited at ‘Art London’, the 20/21International Art Fair and the Chelsea Art Fair. Last November he had a major show of his work at La Galleria in Piccadilly where he sold the bulk of work exhibited.

Michael’s success is undoubtedly the result of his great talent and hard work, but he happily recalls that Texprint gave him his ‘first big break’.  



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!”.


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