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Texprint London 2012
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Texprint’s Special Prizes
07 August 2012 by Editor
Encouraging and supporting British-trained talent is important to Texprint’s sponsors, however many of them go one further by awarding special prizes, experiences and internships.
Three of the four Texprint Awards - for Body, Space, Pattern and Colour - are generously sponsored by The Clothworkers’ Foundation (Space), Liberty Art Fabrics (Pattern) and Pantone X-Rite (Colour). Pantone X-Rite also gives the four winners a Pantone F+H Colour Guide.
Texprint chairman Barbara Kennington with Manri Kishimoto and Carola Seybold of prize sponsor Pantone X-Rite
The Lululemon Athletica Award was judged by Sheree Waterson, executive vice president and chief product officer of Lululemon Athletica. Although originally planning to offer one internship, Sheree was so impressed by the exciting design on offer that she simply had to invite two young designers, Manri Kishimoto and Sophie Reeves, to undertake paid 3-month internships at the Lululemon Athletica headquarters in Vancouver. Short-listed for the award were Lisa Bloomer, Dominique Caplan and Fergus Dowling.
Sophie Reeves textile, Sheree Waterson of Lululemon Athletica with Manri Kishimoto and Manri Kishimoto textile
The Woolmark Texprint Award in support of Campaign for Wool, donated by The Woolmark Company, will be judged and presented at Indigo/PremièreVision, Paris, in September. We greatly look forward to reporting on that later in the year.
The Italian trade organisation Confindustria Como represents a core of 300 Como-based textile companies. It also supports ComOn, a hub of European creativity based in Como that this year has invited six Texprint designers to participate in a week of creative sharing and interaction. The six designers selected at Texprint London by Marco Taiana for ComON are Alice Howard-Graham, Manri Kishimoto, Sophie Manners, Israel Parra-Zanabria, Sophie Reeves and Ying Wu (top image shows Body prize winner Carlo Volpi with Marco Taiana). They will visit Como in October. Reserves were Lisa Bloomer and Amber Sambrook.
Finally, and also looking ahead to October, Foundation Sponsors The Drapers’ Company, and Supporters The Worshipful Company of Weavers, are this year supporting an extraordinary opportunity for six of the designers. Sarah Burton, Manri Kishimoto, Tania Knuckey, Carlo Volpi, Ying Wu and the winner of the The Woolmark Texprint Award will travel to Hong Kong to exhibit at trade fair Interstoff Asia Essential and experience at first hand this important fashion and textile market.
All great examples of how Texprint works with all its sponsors to ensure they benefit from the relationship – knowing they are supporting British-trained talent, encouraging innovative design, and in many cases, benefiting from early access to innovative new ideas and textile concepts.
In my experience: Grace Smith
01 August 2012 by Joyce Thornton
Grace Ink: Quirky Doll Family
Grace Smith (Texprint 2007) runs her own business, GraceInk Design in the Scottish Borders. A screen printing fanatic, she creates her own quirky textile and paper products, selling them online through her Etsy.com shop, as well as in small independent stores and at craft fairs. In addition, she helps to run screen-printing workshops and is chairperson of the Crossing Borders arts collective. Grace talks to Texprint about her hectic but fulfilling lifestyle as a designer-maker.
Running my own business is great - but I never switch off.
It’s amazing to do a job that is just part of life, that makes you smile and that you enjoy getting up for in the morning. But it isn’t without downsides. I seem to be working 365 days a year, even on holiday - it is like my baby. I have also started running screen printing workshops which are proving really popular.
Downsides include the dreaded Tax Return.
I try to keep on top of it all and not let administrative stuff build up. Hopefully one day, I’ll earn enough to employ other talented people to do it for me.
Grace Ink: 4 Dolls Paper Print
I’m chairperson of the Crossing Borders collective.
The organisation runs an Art Trail every September, which I’m involved with. Many artists and craftspeople in the Borders area open their studios to the public.
I’m inspired by my beautiful surroundings, travel and different cultures around the world.
Setting up my own business has been very time consuming, and financially difficult, so a lot of my travel is now a lot closer to home, but this still provides inspiration. Living in the Scottish Borders, around lovely, rolling green hills is very calming for the mind, and provides clarity when working on new ideas. It is very important for me to be in a creative environment and working alongside 13 other artists in a studio really helps me to get inspired.
I’m in love with the screen printing process.
Screen printing is very versatile, allowing very intricate hand drawn designs to be transferred to fabric and paper – most of the time without having to use a computer. Achieving brush strokes and pen lines on fabric really gives a special handmade quality, which can be lost with many modern processes. I love the first reveal of a new screen print - there is a real buzz of excitement.I’m also very fond of linen and linen mix fabrics, which I use a lot in my work. My birdcage design is a firm favourite – I created it at university, but it hasn’t lost any of its appeal in the five years since then. It’s ended up on pretty much every product I produce.
Grace Ink: Birdcage Print Bag detail
I’m passionate about my work and teaching.
I love to teach - it’s a great feeling when my students have learnt something and had an enjoyable time too. Meeting new people and talking about what I do for a living, is great - I can get quite over-excited at times!
Texprint was invaluable at the start of my career.
I remember receiving the phone call to say I’d been selected. It was a surreal moment where I believe I asked ‘are you sure?’ It made me realise that I had created a collection that was appreciated, and that all the hard work that I’d put into my time at university was finally paying off. I was given the fantastic opportunity to take up a work placement in New Delhi, India. This provided me with lots of new inspiration, and I doubt I would be on the path I am currently without this.
Grace Ink: printed cushions
I’m planning expansion for my business – and maybe a road trip around Scotland.
I’m currently looking into licensing certain designs and also expanding the scope of retail outlets that I work with. I’d love to do some more travelling at some point and possibly work alongside artisans in Australia or my ultimate goal - Japan. I also want to produce some work inspired by Scotland and do a road trip at some point. I have a map that my Gran produced when she was about my age, of a road trip she did around Scotland. I would love to recreate that.
My advice to new graduates is: get some experience, apply for everything and never say no.
(Well for the first few months anyway.) Then you can be pickier with what you agree to… When I first started out, I’d done a couple of years of exploring, trying different things, seeing what I wanted to do with my life. Just after graduation is the best time to do this. When I set up in business I just assumed that I would be successful but the last three years has taught me that this is definitely not an easy task. I’ve felt like giving up on countless occasions, but I’m lucky to have family and friends who pick me up when things don’t go the way I intend. Most of the time I love it - my days are busy, varied and interesting.
Texprint London judging: the thoughts, decisions and debates!
30 July 2012 by GGHQ Fashion Intelligence
This year’s Texprint special prize judging panel comprised a group of design professionals working in diverse fields from cutting edge fashion to auto design. We feel it important to highlight their comments and views on the judging process, on the four special prize winners whom they selected with almost unanimous accord, and on the future.
Judge Caroline Burstein, the creative director at Browns Fashion and founder of Molton Brown, noted that in order to select the winners it was important to see the designers’ whole portfolios, to meet them and understand their personae and the way they present their work.
Fellow judge Sheree Waterson, executive vice president and chief product officer of active sports company Lululemon Athletica, agreed, adding: “We’re being introduced to the artist’s personality. Everyone’s work was so compelling and interesting. It’s all beautiful. The twist, the deciding factor in choosing a winner, was originality.”
Renowned interior fabric designer Neisha Crosland commented: “We had to be careful we were choosing original things that we haven’t seen before on the high street.”
The panel chose Royal College of Art graduate knitwear designer Carlo Volpi as the winner of the Body Prize. Caroline explained their decision: “We all felt the same way. His use of different yarn weights, the way he put his photo shoot together. He didn’t need to explain his work. It speaks for itself. You understood where it came from. It wasn’t just one look. His colour sense is impeccable, very bold.”
Knit/mixed media designer Sarah Burton from Nottingham Trent University was chosen as the runner up. Her work focused on garments that could be worn under clothes and the judges liked her exploration of movement.
The Pattern Prize winner Ying Wu also graduated from the RCA. Neisha explained her decision making process: “At first I thought, here we go again, digital prints. Then I did a complete U-turn, the scarves could be Hermès. It’s street and skate gone up market and done exquisitely.”
Caroline was taken with Ying’s use of imagery: “You can see the culture, you can see the symbols, you don’t know what they mean but you want to know.”
The runner up was Fergus Dowling from Leeds College of Art. Paul was impressed with the “intensity into his subject” he showed in his collection of prints for menswear.
Carlo Volpi, detail of work, winner Body prize
Ying Wu, detail of work, winner Pattern prize
The work of Sarah Burton, runner up Body prize, and Fergus Dowling, runner up Pattern prize
For the Space Prize, Tania Grace Knuckey won over the judges with her multimedia work incorporating metal, textiles and more. Judge Paul Stamper – senior designer, design perspectives, Renault Design at Renault - said: “Once we saw the portfolio, it did it for us. I could relate it to something I was doing at college. She can turn her hand and make something out of anything you throw at her. It could be translated into repeats, multimedia.... She’s the wild card and that’s why I like her.” The judges were taken with Tania’s articulate explanation of her design work.
They selected RCA graduate Lily Kamper as the Space Prize runner up. Neisha remarked: “The jewellery and use of materials is beautiful. Her work could be applied to interiors, car interiors – there is coherence.” Paul commented that he could envisage her work being used for high-level luxury concept cars.
Colour Prize winner Manri Kishimoto was a universal favourite. Caroline said: “We loved her for body, pattern, we loved her for everything.”
The judges were particularly entranced with the Cental St Martins graduate’s printed garments. Sheree Waterson described her work as “outrageous, mind-blowing”. And Paul Stamper said: “You could frame and sell the illustrations of her costumes, put them in Colette now!”
RCA graduate Lisa Bloomer was chosen as runner up for her woven design work.
Tania Knuckey, detail of sketchbook, winner of Space prize
Manri Kishimoto, graduate show, winner of Colour prize
The work of Lisa Bloomer, runner up Colour prize, and Lily Kamper, runner up Space prize
The judges noted that three of the four winners and two of the runners up are RCA MA graduates. Caroline commented: “It goes to show what that extra two years does. They stand out, what can you do? Hopefully this will inspire people to further their education.”
RCA graduates Neisha and Paul agreed: “You’re absolutely ready for the market when you leave the RCA.” The Texprint management team pointed out that six out of the 24 selected designers this year are RCA MA graduates. Texprint’s chairman Barbara Kennington said: “When interviewing the 200+ graduates put forward, the interview panels aim to assess purely on the quality of work presented, as well as the individual’s commitment to succeed, but this year it was harder - we did feel that overall the standard of BA graduates had slipped – or maybe it was that the RCA MA graduates had forged ahead! We strongly believe the standard of BA has been and can be higher and better. It’s still a three-year course and there’s time to do strong work. We need to find a way to have a debate and raise the bar.”
She added: “Texprint is trying to develop and support the highest standards of textile design and creativity. We hang on by our fingernails to keep the programme going. Industry needs to also recognise that design is where it’s at and do their bit to support us.”
In conclusion, Sheree Waterson said: “Something I’m thinking about is, the world is shifting and we are going from the very complex to people simplifying their lives. It’s not government or churches any longer, it’s business and creatives that are actually changing the world. That’s who’s going to be changing the world. It’s the creative muscle that has to be exercised for everyone. These guys are paving the way for the future. They are all hugely important.”
Texprint London 2012 resource seminar
24 July 2012 by Joyce Thornton
For the first time Texprint extended its Texprint London event to include a Resources Seminar held exclusively for invited tutors from the UK's leading textile design programmes. Three speakers each gave a different focus on future trends in colour, fibre and style.
Philippa Watkins, senior lecturer in weave and Honorary Fellow of the RCA, says: "The seminar I felt was a great add-on to the Texprint London show. The three presentations gave very useful insights into different aspects of the business – ultimately of great benefit to their students. Lecturers really don’t often get the opportunity to spend time taking in seasonal forecasts such as the WGSN presentation, so when the opportunity arises it’s great. I was particularly impressed by Pantone’s presentation as I had only a sketchy idea of the scope of their work and the science behind colour matching. And The Woolmark Company have done a great deal recently to raise the profile of wool, so the beautiful presentation really helps get the wool message out there."
Carola Seybold of Pantone X-Rite talked about managing colour accuracy in the digital age. Apparently 65% of all our purchasing decisions involve colour. Not surprisingly, in the fashion industry, getting the colour right has a critical impact on the bottom line of profit and much research goes into tracking and developing colour for all manner of products. She noted that although technology has changed much in our lives, the way we work with colour remains essentially the same.
As an aside, Joanna Bowring, Texprint's sponsorship director, and founder member of the British Textile Colour Group which since 1978 has represented the UK at Intercolor, the International Commission for Colour, says: "Colour communicates without language, is the most important element in buying decisions and its effective use is one of the key selection criteria for successful Texprint candidates.”
The Texprint prize for Colour is generously sponsored by Pantone X-Rite which also gives all four winners of the Texprint awards a complimentary Pantone Guide for Color & Home.
Carola Seybold, Helen Palmer and Barbara Kennington chairman of Texprint
Helen Palmer, head of materials and knit at WGSN, presented macro trends for autumn/winter 2013/14. By tracking the fast changing and influential aspects of life - art, architecture, music, technology and nature, among other elements – and analysing this intelligence, WGSN is able to confidently predict the future directions followed by many of the world’s major brands, retailers and designers.
Inspired by the natural world, WGSN’s first trend direction, Living Design, pointed to simple sculptural silhouettes that combine personality, quirkiness and humour, and that marry hard and soft materials. Creating a mood of dark drama, 21st Century Romance sees classic styling reinvented by combining new technology with traditional and often ornate decoration. Old master paintings inspire the colour palettes. Finally, Hacktivate is an exciting, casualwear trend that takes inspiration from DIY, sportswear and customisation, bolting different elements together to create seriously playful products.
WGSN is a Foundation Sponsor of Texprint and gives each of the 24 selected designers free access for one year to www.wgsn.com
Finally, Rebecca Sharp UK country manager of The Woolmark Company talked about the resurgence in the popularity of wool, noting that Merino wool with its long fibres and natural crimp is especially prized for its luxury feel and natural softness and warmth. Recent campaigns - including The Campaign for Cool Wool and successful initiatives such as the International Woolmark Prize for Young Designers and The Texprint Woolmark Prize in support of Campaign for Wool - mean the fibre is now back as a firm favourite with designers, retailers and the public. Wool's long held but newly recognised eco-credentials have helped to strengthen this popularity - it is natural, biodegradable and renewable.
The Woolmark Texprint Award in support of Campaign for Wool will be judged and presented at Indigo, Paris, in September. The Woolmark Company is a Foundation Sponsor of Texprint.
All three companies welcomed this unique opportunity to talk directly with textile tutors, and through them, to raise awareness of their brands and ethos and elevate the knowledge of textile design students.
In Kind Sponsors Arts Thread and Lectra were also on hand to talk about their services and products. Our thanks to Chelsea College of Art & Design for kindly allowing us use of the lecture theatre.