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Meet the Alumna: Jess Quinton, Quinton Chadwick

15 October 2017 by Editor

Jess Quinton (right) with Jane Chadwick

Knitwear designer Jess Quinton secured a job with Missoni straight from Texprint and went on to set up her own business with Jane Chadwick. She tells us her story.

Colour has always been my passion. I was lucky to be spotted by Missoni, those maestros of colour, at the Texprint exhibition in the late 1980s and landed my first job as a knitwear designer with them.

I remember so well those first months after graduating from the Royal College of Art. I was unsure of my direction, with many different options all seeming equally uncertain. What I found so helpful was the input of the Texprint panel and the experience of winning a place and exhibiting at Première Vision.

As a graduate, you’re inexperienced when you first start selling work. Texprint provides information that you sometimes don't pick up at university. It was amazing to have the support as I made the transformation from student to professional designer.

I have aways felt incredibly grateful to Texprint so it is great to give something back. Now I’m on the Texprint judging panel as well as being part of the Hero Mentoring scheme – sharing the knowledge I've acquired over 30 years in the business.

Quinton Chadwick is the knitwear label that I run with business partner Jane Chadwick. Jane had previously run her own ready-to-wear label and forecast consultancy developing smart yarns with the IWS and DuPont.We started our business 20 years ago, selling our first collections in Barneys New York and Tokyo, and Le Bon Marché, Paris, as well as Selfridges and Harvey Nichols here in London.

Quinton Chadwick autumn/winter 2017/18 collection

Thanks to our early success in sales abroad, we won the UK Fashion Export Council small business design award. This was amazing and really helped establish the brand. We soon realised that what overseas buyers liked, apart from our idiosyncratic English design and quirky colour sense, was that our product was good quality and highly crafted here in Britain. They loved our modern take on heritage knits.

We launched at a time when UK textile mills were hit hard by the competition from overseas. It was sad seeing so many spinners and knitting businesses in decline, so we became determined to support them and passionate about keeping the traditional knitting skills of the UK alive. 

However, there were a couple of scary seasons in the early days when factories went bust in the middle of our production run. But we stuck to our guns and started working with a cooperative of hand framers in Devon with whom we still collaborate today.

Quinton Chadwick autumn/winter 2017/18 collection

We also found a couple of family-run mills in Nottingham and Scotland that have weathered the storm by staying small-scale and consistent in their high quality. While it has not always been easy, we are very proud that “Made in Britain” has always been a big part of our brand DNA.

We never wanted to be associated with ‘fast fashion’ or the poor ethics and labour conditions of so much manufacturing in the Asia and the Far East. Sustainability is increasingly important too: the company only ever uses natural fibres and keeps to British spinners for yarn supply.

And today we still export across the world. Australia is a new and expanding market for us, while closer to home we have just had our third successive sell-out season at Liberty in London. It’s such a wonderful store for supporting real British brands like ours.

We have our roots in the craftsmanship of knitting, yet move our designs along with current trends. We also enjoy working collaboratively – any excuse to experiment with yarn, texture and colour. Recent initatives have included bespoke collections for companies as diverse as Dashing Tweeds and Anthropologie. And we are about to embark on an exciting handknit project with a big American firm – watch this space!

www.quintonchadwick.com

Quinton Chadwick autumn/winter 2017/18 collection

Texprint and AVA CAD/CAM; supporting the digital generation

07 October 2017 by Editor

Designer Nicola Rowe with AVA's Debbie Buchan at Première Vision Paris

Experiencing specialist software that so comprehensively enhances the design process is rare enough for young textile design graduates. Even more rare is the company that is willing to invest generously in training young designers and encouraging their understanding of the industry.

AVA CAD/CAM is one such company.  A valued financial supporter of Texprint, it also annually awards one week of intensive hands-on training to a group of Texprint designers at its HQ in Macclesfield.

Left to right: Angelica Chrysanthou, Nicola Rowe, Duncan Ross, Debbie Buchan, Maddie Whalley, and Sophie Pope at Première Vision Paris

One of the Texprint 2016 cohort of designers, Esther Rigg was not at the time selected for this opportunity, but a year on having heard such good reports from her Texprint peers, she determined to undertake the course herself.

Esther’s design work employs hand drawing, painting and collage techniques.  Using the AVA specialist software these were scanned, then edited, manipulated and put into repeat.  “Brilliant” she enthuses,“invaluable skills to assist me in my understanding of the print design industry, and to improve my chances of finding a job.”

Esther again, “In one week I learnt so much about the software and how to use it, and about industry needs.  For example how to quickly and precisely create repeats and colourways. Using the Materialise module helped me see my work in a new way, and even to translate prints I had designed for fashion into designs suitable for furnishing, by changing the scale and altering the colours. I have been able to add real variety and depth to my portfolio.”

READ HERE about Esther’s experience on the AVA CAD/CAM blog.

AVA CAD/CAM's training room

The Texprint 2017 designers were equally thrilled and appreciative. Nicola Rowe, Sophie Pope, Maddie Whalley and Angelica Chrysanthou (who will take up her training week in 2018) were selected at Texprint London in July by AVA’s Debbie Buchan, and undertook their training week in August, one month before their showing at Première Vision Paris.

Nicola Rowe, whose work involves detailed hand-rendered techniques, enthuses:  “My training week with AVA taught me so much and completely changed my perspective on design development - the possibilities seemed endless.”

Design: © Nicola Rowe

“I had a great time!” says Maddie Whalley. “The AVA team made us feel very welcome. I enjoyed working with other Texprint designers, and the significant one-to-one training with AVA’s Kerry Walsh. We also received some really useful advice and contacts from Debbie Buchan and Duncan Ross. They were all so supportive!”

Designer Maddie Whalley with AVA's Debbie Buchan at Première Vision Paris

Nicola adds: “The AVA team were extremely kind and helpful, it is clear that they are very passionate about the software and were very keen that the Texprint designers should get as much as possible from the training. I genuinely believe that the AVA software is revolutionary within design, an invaluable tool which every designer needs!”

Designer Sophie Pope with AVA's Debbie Buchan at Première Vision Paris

And it doesn’t end there.  As Sophie Pope points out “The software is generously sponsored for 6 months post-training - this enabled me to create and improve a new collection in preparation for Premiere Vision Paris in September. The relationship now formed with the AVA team has given me a new networking platform and a great bridge into the industry. AVA recruitment frequently flag new job opportunities, and now that I have completed my training I know I will feel even more confident when applying for work within the interior design market. Thanks AVA CAD/CAM for all your support and for a fun yet very valuable weeks’ training.”

Design: © Nicola Rowe

Texprint 2017 Paris: Première Vision Designs

21 September 2017 by Roger Tredre

The 24 designers chosen for Texprint this year went to Paris in September for Première Vision Designs – the highlight of the Texprint experience. Here’s what happened.

In Paris, things get serious. For most of the 24 young Texprint designers, the experience of exhibiting at Première Vision Designs (September 19-21) is their first contact with the real world of business. “It’s very different from the Texprint exhibition in London,” said Olivia Qi. “It’s much more about business.”

Designer Olivia Qi shows her collection to buyers

That means early starts (5.45am), three long days on the stands, and a readiness to sell, market, and generally eulogise your work to everyone who passes by. A total of 39 pieces of work were sold on the first day of PV, delighting the designers. But the joy of selling much-loved work can also be tinged with sadness. Lucy Day sold one of her favourite samples. “It’s got a lot of my identity in it,” said Day. “I think the buyer could see the despair on my face.”

The Paris experience is a true learning process, with the designers supported by the experienced Texprint team including Creative Director Peter Ring-Lefevre, Designer Liaison Gillian Little, Sponsorship Director Joanna Bowring and International Communications Executive Kate Harris.

In particular, designers learn how to refine their work for the broader commercial market. Ilana Avital, one of the busiest Texprint designers in Paris, found buyers attracted by the bold colours in her work. However, some of her more technical designs were overlooked. “It’s too complex to be produced industrially. I need to focus on my more commercial designs in the future – buyers have been really eager for these.”

Designer Ilana Avital shows her collection to buyers

While the proud recording of a first sale is an important rite of passage for any textile designer, Texprint’s greater importance is in establishing connections and opportunities for the longer term future. Angelica Chrysanthou noted: “The networking experience is actually more important than the selling.”

Abigail Barnes added: “It’s so great to talk to people in the industry. When you’re making, you get obsessed in your own creation bubble. Now I’m receiving feedback that really helps.”

Designer Abigail Barnes shows her work to Yuma Koshino and Peter Ring-Lefevre

The designers were also job hunting. Kate Connell, who studied textile print at Glasgow School of Art, had already landed a job (starting in October) before she got to Paris. “Tamara from Pentland was on this year’s Texprint interview panel, and we stayed in contact, so I really got the job through Texprint. After Texprint in London, Pentland interviewed me and offered me it – they loved my sporty prints and sports aesthetic and my fabric manipulation that is perfect for accessories.”

After a busy first day, the second day in Paris concluded with the award presentation hosted by Texprint chair Barbara Kennington. The event gave Kennington the opportunity to share the news that Texprint is to be rebranded from January 2018. The plan is to change the charity’s name to TexSelect to reflect more accurately the diversity of the participating textile designers. Kennington also emphasised Texprint’s digital marketing initiatives in recent months, including investment in social media communication through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

And then there were the awards. First up, a new award from UK retailer Marks & Spencer – the Marks & Spencer Texprint Fashion Textile Award – which went to Roberta Fox (who also won the Texprint Colour Award). Libby Allan, Trend Lead, Womenswear & Lingerie, at Marks & Spencer, said the judging had been a challenge. “At M&S, we passionately believe in supporting young design talent… and I’ve been blown away by the creativity and diversity and ambition.”

Libby Allan, Trend Lead Marks & Spencer, speaking on the new M&S Texprint Fashion Textile Award

Also on the winners’ podium were three of the most promising talents from this year’s Texprint – Charlotte Des’Ascoyne won the Texprint Award for Fashion, Lucy Day for Interiors, and Angelica Chrysanthou for Pattern.

Japanese fashion designer Yuma Koshino, from the legendary Koshino family, presented the awards. She is famed for her inventive combination of modern technique with Japanese tradition, and has drawn on both Western and Eastern style in her ground-breaking collections. Speaking to the Texprint designers, she emphasised the need for a new generation of designers to deliver “higher level creation that people can relate to.”

Designer Freya Richmond shows her collection to Yuma Koshino and Peter Ring-Lefevre

Finally, the prestigious The Woolmark Company Texprint Award went to Rosie Moorman, a woven textile designer who works solely with wool and other noble fibres. She handweaves and hand dyes her work, using her own loom and developing her own colour chips. The collection shown at Première Visions Designs was inspired by the landscapes and moorlands of her native Yorkshire.

Woolmark judge Roberto Sarti of famed Italian textile manufacturer Lanificio Faliero Sarti said: “Rosie’s work uses colour beautifully and she has developed her ideas so well. There is a spirit of experimentation, but she also shows a good technique for industry.”

Winner of The Woolmark Company Texprint Award, Rosie Moorman, with judges Roberto Sarti and Charles Jeffrey

In a sense, all the Texprint designers were award winners. And the most pleasing aspect of the designers’ progress in Paris was the steady growth in their confidence. Three days in Paris can turn a hesitant novice into an impressively assured professional. As Ilana Avital, one of the best-selling designers of the week, put it: “I was quite shy in London. Now I’ve learned how to speak to people.”

Old friends!  Roberto Sarti and Yuma Koshino

Designer Bryan Lam shows his collection to Charles Jeffrey and Roberto Sarti

Designer Joe Whitbread shows his collection to buyers

Designer Nina Butler shows her work to The Woolmark Company judges, Charles Jeffrey and Roberto Sarti

Designer Lucy Day shows her collection to buyers

Designer Sophie Harrison shows her collection to buyers

Designer Charlotte Des'Ascoyne shows her collection to buyers

Designer Maddie Whalley shows her collection to buyers

Designer Freya Richmond shows her collection to buyers

Texprint 2017 designers

Introducing Texprint 2017 prize presenter: Yuma Koshino, designer

13 September 2017 by Roger Tredre

Renowned Japanese fashion designer Yuma Koshino is to present the Texprint Awards in Paris on September 20. This is a very special moment for Texprint, not least because Koshino is the first designer from Asia invited to present the awards.

Over the years, the roll call of presenters has included many celebrated names in the international fashion industry, including most recently Martin Leuthold of Jakob Schlaepfer (2016), Rosita Missoni (2015) and Nino Cerruti (2014). This year, the award ceremony is boosted by the inclusion once again of the Woolmark Company Texprint Award as well as the addition of the new Marks & Spencer Texprint Fashion Textile Award.

Yuma Koshino has brought a creative eye to fashion design for many years, combining Japanese aesthetics with a Western sensibility to produce clothes that are both eminently wearable and fashion-forward.

Yuma Koshino - versatile creative force

She studied at Bunka Fashion College, then moved to London in 1992 to work as an assistant designer at Michiko Koshino London, the label founded by her aunt. Back in Tokyo, she launched her own label in 1998 and has built a formidable reputation over two decades.

Design runs through the genes of her entire family. Besides being the niece of designers Michiko and Junko Koshino, she is the daughter of Hiroko Koshino, a fashion designer of legendary status for more than 60 years who has brilliantly explored traditional Japanese values and concepts within a modern, Western framework – she was the first Japanese designer to show at Alta Moda, Rome, back in 1978, and showed in Paris for ten years until 1992. Yuma’s grandmother, Ayako, was also a designer.

Yuma Koshino - Autumn Winter 2017

Like her mother (who has also built a parallel career as an artist), Yuma Koshino is a versatile creative force, designing costumes for Japanese stage and screen as well as for pop stars. She’s also designed corporate wear for everyone from airline pilots to taxi drivers.

 “I am very pleased to applaud the young talents coming from the UK colleges and universities,” Yuma Koshino told Texprint ahead of her trip to Paris.

She added: “Première Vision Designs is a wonderful opportunity to bring them to the attention of the industry and the fashion world, which needs to invest in new fresher talents and ideas. I encourage all 24 designers to keep their curiosity, enthusiasm and passion – and to transform these into wonderful careers.”

In Paris, four textile design graduates will be awarded prizes for Colour, Pattern, Fashion and Interiors. These Texprint Awards highlight the exceptional textile design, techniques and innovation skills developed at UK colleges and universities. The winners often go on to enjoy successful careers in the industry.

The short lists for this year’s four Texprint awards are as follows: Pattern – Sophie Harrison, Angelica Chrysanthou; Colour – Roberta Fox, Sarah Maybank, Rosie Moorman; Interiors – Julia Liddell, Hayley McCrirrick, Lucy Day; Fashion – Charlotte Des’Ascoyne, Kate Connell, Olivia Qi.

Yuma Koshino - the final check...

New Award: The Marks & Spencer Texprint Fashion Textile Award

07 September 2017 by Roger Tredre

Inspiration board for M&S Autumn Winter 2017 ranges

Iconic British retailer Marks & Spencer has sponsored a new award for Texprint this year. We spoke to Libby Allan, Trend Lead, Womenswear & Lingerie, to find out more.

Fashion – in particular women’s fashion – is changing fast. The boundaries that used to clearly define categories are blurring. Designers need to be more versatile, creating ultra-flexible collections of clothes that might play a role at work, in the gym, and forthe special occasion.

Retailers such as Britain’s Marks & Spencer are responding to these challenges by reinforcing their design credentials. The energy and enthusiasm of fresh young talent is an important part of the mix – hence the new Marks & Spencer Texprint Fashion Textile Award.

In fact, Marks & Spencer has had a long relationship with Texprint as a long-term supporter and foundation sponsor. The new Award is like the icing on the cake. Libby Allan, Trend Lead, Womenswear & Lingerie, at Marks & Spencer, explains: “We’re really excited about the Award. It allows us to deepen our relationship with Texprint and establish a relationship with a young designer that we will hope will evolve beyond the Award itself.”

Libby Allan

Allan has drawn up a shortlist for the Award, which will be announced at Première Vision Designs in Paris on September 20. Relevant heads of design at M&S were consulted and participated in the selection process. The three Texprint names on the shortlist are Olivia Qi, Lucy Day and Roberta Fox.The winner will receive £1,000 and a paid three-month internship with the M&S print design team.

Allan saw the Texprint designers for the first time in London back in July. “There was so much great work. The variety was impressive, and so was the confidence of the designers. These days it’s not just about the work but also how the work is presented. When you’re in the industry you have so many people to convince – an ability to present your work effectively becomes really important. Textiles is such a good grounding for a designer because you learn all about texture and colour usage.”

Allan herself studied an interesting hybrid of textiles and fashion design management at the Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels (now the Heriot-Watt School of Textiles & Design). The mix set her up perfectly for her career.

She grew up in Edinburgh and was taught to sew by her mother, learning about design by experimentation. “We would buy patterns, adapt them and make clothes. I even made my dress for my high school prom.”

Allan worked for several years for a trend consultancy in London before joining M&S in 2007, “My current role is Trend Lead for all womenswear and lingerie. At the beginning of this year we created a centralised team to bring it all together. The role is about research and communication – it’s the start point of the design process.”

Inspiration is everywhere, she notes. “There’s so much inspiration around these days – everyone has access to it – but it takes more skill to cut through it all, to absorb and identify what’s important. It’s what you do with the inspiration that counts.”

Marks & Spencer has the status of a national institution in the UK, its every initiative scrutinised. This autumn, the design team are highlighting a season very much inspired by textiles – with modern interpretations of heritage cloths and decoration, and full of the rich tactility of soft knits and lustrous, fluid velvets. The retailer has its fingers crossed for a positive reaction from media and customers alike.

It’s an exciting time to work at M&S – and just as exciting for one Texprint designer who will become the first winner of the M&S Texprint Fashion Textile Award on September 20.

Inspiration board for M&S Autumn Winter 2017 ranges

Sarti, Jeffrey to Judge The Woolmark Company Texprint Award

27 August 2017 by Roger Tredre

Charles Jeffrey

Two major names from different but complementary backgrounds are judging this year’s The Woolmark Company Texprint Award in Paris.

From Italy, Texprint is honoured to welcome Roberto Sarti of historic Italian textile house Lanificio Faliero Sarti. The company, founded in 1949, has boosted and tracked the rise to prominence of the Italian textile and fashion history through the second half of the 20th century and up to the present day.

Roberto Sarti

From Britain, the judging panel is joined by rising Scottish design star Charles Jeffrey. Although he graduated from MA Fashion at Central Saint Martins as recently as 2015, the designer, illustrator and all-round creative has already made an international impact both with his own Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY collection and with his many collaborations.

Charles Jeffrey said of the judging, ”I am so excited to be judging the Texprint award. It's a great opportunity to see all the fantastic work from different talents and how they have interacted with wool. Wool is such a versatile material, I really think it can become anything you dream of and so I can't wait to see what beautiful madness they come up with!”

The Woolmark Company, the global authority on wool, has supported Texprint’s prestigious awards for many years with a dedicated prize that recognizes the use of Merino wool incorporated into textile design. Those eligible for this Texprint award must incorporate a minimum of 60% of Merino wool into their textiles, and demonstrate a good understanding of its qualities and potential application in fabric.

The Woolmark Company Texprint Award is judged and presented at Premiere Vision Designs. This year’s announcement will be made on September 20 in Paris.

The judges will meet the 2017 Texprint alumni on their stands at Premiere Vision Designs to view their collections and discuss their use of Merino wool. After joint deliberations they will select the winner of The Woolmark Company Texprint Award.

Texprint has worked with The Woolmark Company for much of its 40-year existence, benefiting from a true synergy of interests. TWC is a subsidiary of Australian Wool Innovation Limited, a not-for-profit enterprise that conducts research, development and marketing along the worldwide supply chain for Australian wool on behalf of about 55,000 woolgrowers that help fund the company.

The Woolmark Company continues to build and maintain its partnership with Texprint, acknowledging the importance of education and opportunities for students and young designers.

“The Woolmark Company has long been a proud supporter of Texprint,” notes Julie Davies, General Manager, Processing Innovation & Education Extension. “The award provides a unique opportunity for emerging textile designers to engage with industry leaders and gain valuable, practical experience in the field of textile design.”

She adds: “As a firm believer of education and fostering the development of future design talent, The Woolmark Company is pleased to once again support this important award scheme and invest in the future of the textile industry, while highlighting the innovative nature of Merino wool. We are excited to see what this year’s entrants submit.”

This year’s judges have both worked at the forefront of creativity, with Roberto Sarti well known as a leading name in the Italian textile industry (he presented the first Texprint Awards at Premiere vision in 1996). Lanificio Faliero Sarti, located in Campi Bisenziobetween Florence and Prato, has collaborated with many pioneering designers in both haute couture and ready-to-wear over the years. Founder Faliero Sarti (Roberto’s father) evolved new manufacturing techniques for knitted and jersey fabrics, building relationships with names ranging from Giorgio Armani to Donna Karan. Roberto joined the company in 1962 and led it into the modern era after the death of his father in 1985.

Roberto Sarti is looking forward to Paris. “We have been collaborating with Woolmark with the aim to propose always new wool products. We are happy to be part of the judging team as Woolmark is doing a great job trying to discover and help new talent and designers.”

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