Texprint: from Interview to Première Vision Designs
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Internships have become an integral part of developing a career in the textile sector, as in many industries. That's why Texprint is putting increased emphasis on providing mentorship and supporting its designers to find internships both in the UK and internationally.
Designer Emma J Shipley, a high-profile alumna of Texprint, points out that internships are a win-win for both intern and employer: "Internships are one of the best ways of starting out in the industry and it’s also a huge opportunity for businesses to benefit from the very best in new textile design talent.”
Texprint is working on a number of initiatives, ranging from its long-running participation in the Italian textile industry's ComON scheme and an important and longstanding UK-based collaboration with the Worshipful Company of Weavers.
For designers, this is all good news. Texprint's involvement with its 24 designers, selected from universities and colleges across the UK every year, used to end with showing at Première Vision Designs (formerly Indigo) in Paris in September (although awards winners had the opportunity to also show in Asia).
Now the participation in Première Vision Designs, while remaining a central part of the Texprint experience, is just one of the ways in which Texprint can support its designers to build their careers. Barbara Kennington, chairman, says: "Première Vision Designs is the highlight of the year, but we believe there are many other ways in which designers can take their first steps in the professional world."
A pilot intern scheme with Liberty Art Fabrics in 2013, funded by the Drapers’ Company, showed the way. Liberty chose its intern carefully and, after a year’s internship, Ffion Griffith took up a full-time position in the new role of Designer and Fabric Innovator. Brilliant news for Ffion, Liberty Arts Fabrics – and Texprint.
Texprint also supports the internships organised through its long collaboration with the Italian textile industry's ComOn. Eight designers intern every autumn at leading Italian textile companies for seven weeks – a brilliant means of experiencing work at some of the most innovative firms in the world. 2013 Texprint designers at the Antonio Ratti Foundation in Como with archive manager Francina Chiara
We're always delighted to participate in the Entry to Work scheme backed by the Worshipful Company of Weavers. The Company is one of Texprint's long-term supporters and sponsors the 'Preparing for Professional Practice’ mentoring pack that is given to Texprint designers each year.
The Company visits the Texprint London exhibition each year and chooses at least one weaver (and often more than one) for a paid placement for six months with a UK weaving mill. The scheme receives contributions from the Clothworkers’ Foundation, a very generous benefactor to many design colleges and universities as well as to Texprint. 2014 designer on internship with Cosmique Global in Delhi, India
From interning to mentoring: the Texprint intern programme is complemented by a mentoring programme called Hero Mentors, launched in 2013.
The idea is simple: to link up Texprint designers who would appreciate some support beyond Texprint, with mentors who include experienced Texprint alumni or friends of Texprint working in the textile industry.
Post-college mentoring by experienced people has always been useful. These days, in a very competitive market, it's invaluable, particularly for those starting out on a freelance career or setting up their own businesses. Texprint allocates a designer to an appropriate mentor (e.g. knitter with knitter). They meet face-to-face to discuss next steps and portfolios, then make contact at least once a month for a period of six to 12 months. The scheme has proved very popular with Texprint's designers – and most of our mentors have offered their support again in 2016. CLICK HERE to read a recent feature on Texprint's Hero Mentoring programme.