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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)


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