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ComOn 2016: the designer’s view from Como

10 December 2016 by Editor

The Italian trade organisation Unindustria Como represents a core of 300 Como-based textile companies and is responsible for organising the ComON programme, now in its tenth year.

Unindustria Como’s continued sponsorship of Texprint again provided the opportunity for seven talented Texprint 2016 designers to participate in seven-week internships this autumn in the heart of Como with some of the finest textile companies in Italy. More than ever supporting graduate designers through properly structured internships is proving invaluable in helping them fast track their experience and commercial understanding.

Laura Sofia Clerici and Andrea Taborelli talk with designer Alice Timmis

Laura Sofia Clerici and Andrea Taborelli, who are both on the ComOn select committee, came to Texprint London earlier this year to personally select the seven short listed.

Short listed designers at Texprint London with Laura Sofia and Andrea, and on the right, Peter Ring-Lefevre, Texprint creative director

Texprint designer Alice Timmis says: “During my placement in Como, I was given complete freedom to design my own collection of jacquard fabrics, and the opportunity to have some of my designs realised into actual cloth too. The mill where I was placed, Tessitura Taborelli, offers so many options to the fashion industry due to its size and range of different production looms. My time in Como has been really inspiring, living in a new culture whilst engaging with its impressive textile industry.”

Designer Amy Smith adds: “I’ve had such an amazing time in Italy and want to thank Texprint for giving me the opportunity. I've learnt so much and now understand better industry standards and what clients and producers will of expect of me as a designer.”

“My mill (Lisa) and my tutor, senior designer Letizia Rodilosso, have been great. The studio designers all speak really good English taking the pressure off my (very basic) Italian! I was assisting them with general tasks such as putting designs into repeat and doing colour separations, while also working on my own client briefs and designs for the new collection to be shown at PV in February. Mainly on childrenswear conversational prints which is a new area for me, but I have really enjoyed the fun, colours and prints. Also I have been drawing straight into Photoshop with a graphics tablet which has been a fantastic skill to learn and will help my design work moving forward. Letizia was really helpful with feedback and pointers on what helps designs sell better such as avoiding lines and directional prints.”

Another Texprint designer, Esther Rigg, enjoyed herself too: “While working at Teseo, I visited Como Crea with the design team.  It was especially interesting to see how the mill chooses prints, and after exhibiting at Première Vision Designs, to understand how the process works from a buyers perspective. It has been a great opportunity to design to a brief and expand my digital skills, putting designs into repeat and preparing files for weaving and printing.

The inspiring research studio at Erica

The ComON Creative Sharing programme included visits to the Como Silk Museum, Antonio Ratti Foundation archives, Centro Tessile Serico SpAto talk about their chemical processes, and Arte Miniartextil for a fine art exhibition. Also visits to see the state-of-the-art printing facilities and highly regarded textile archives at Ratti and Canepa, finding out how the mills are increasingly adapting their production methods to reduce water use and remove toxic chemicals.

Designer Jacob Monk worked at the Clerici Tessuto mill where the designers were shown high-end archive designs as well as the production processes.

Design archives at Erica

Italian companies that generously invited Texprint designers included Erica, Ratti, Clerici Tessuto, Lisa, Tessitura Taborelli, and Tesseo SpA.

A final comment from designer Megan Clarke: “Overall the experience was really great. The ComOn team were lovely and very helpful with any problems we had. The mill I was at, Erica, was fantastic! They allowed me to produce a mini collection for them to demonstrate their fabrics on as well as working on briefs for fashion clients. If I ever needed different art supplies they would order them which meant nothing was off limits with regards to painting and mark making etc.  I would definitely recommend Como to anyone who wishes to find out more about the Italian production industry - but would suggest learning more Italian before going!”

 

London Transport Museum: Weaving Futures In The Studio

01 December 2016 by Editor

Between now and February 2017 (the programme started in November), London Transport Musuem are hosting an event called Weaving Futures In The Studio, part of their year-long public programme of events, and situated in the ‘pop-up’ designer’s Studio integrated into LTM's temporary Designology exhibition.  It is a three-month focus on digital jacquard woven textile design and moquette concepts, exploring process and making, and is curated in partnership with research and design industry experts Philippa Brock and Samuel Plant Dempsey.

Philippa Brock X-Form

Weaving Futures explores the importance and potential of woven textiles to the London Transport System and features a state of the art TC2 digital jacquard loom. The idea is to actively explore how good design makes life in London better, through residencies and participatory workshops. The work does not exist currently and as the exhibition progresses this will be made and will be displayed. It also examines the process of designing for and production of woven textiles.

Camira - transport loom

Wallace Sewell - overground weaving

Each week there are different weave designers, researchers, artists and industry designers resident in the studio, with each resident responding to the same design brief, relating to data and transport. The residents will be working with Studio weavers, Rosie Green and Hanna Vinlöf–Nylen (Texprint alumna), to realise their final design on the digital loom. Outcomes and final designs will be displayed in the Studio and shared during the Museum’s Late Debate and Friday Late events.

Priti Veja - double reverse furry with LED

Residents: Assemble, Beatwoven, Philippa Brock, Camira, Central Saint Martins, BA Textile students, Samuel Dempsey, Linda Florence, Gainsborough Weaving Company, Eleanor Pritchard, Rare Thread (aka Kirsty McDougall and Laura Miles), Josephine OrtegaIsmini Samanidou, Studio Houndstooth, Takram & Priti Veja

Samuel Plant Dempsey

Drop into London Transport Museum’s pop-up Studio for a unique behind the scenes chance to experience contemporary transport design innovation through a year-long programme of events. The studio is open to the general public and one entry ticket gets you in for a year. The programme is part of this exciting Designology exhibition and includes:

·      one-day workshops with London’s best known transport designers

·      design residencies, briefs and challenges

·      intellectual late debates, workshops and talks

The workshop programme includes among others:

25, 26, 30 January 2017 – Research Collaboration with Brock, Dempsey and Veja - Designers Philippa Brock, Samuel Plant Dempsey & Dr. Priti Veja will be coming together in the studio to work collaboratively on a brief, combining their expertise in design thinking, with Brock on 3D woven jacquard and haptics, Dempsey on product design and 3D printing, and Veja on woven e-textiles. Find out how electronics can be constructed in woven structures to make integrated soft circuits, wearable technology and smart textiles. philippabrock.com I design-plant.co.uk I weft-lab.com

9,10 February 2017 – Weaving Music with BeatWoven®  - Meet award winning, avant-garde textiles label BeatWoven® and find out how they use songs and sounds to visualise and orchestrate pattern formations in textile design, particularly through the technique of weaving. Watch live as they work with our weavers to interpret a brief on the Digital Loom. beatwoven.co.uk

17, 18 February – Upholster and Accessorise with Eleanor Pritchard - Meet hands-on London weave studio; Eleanor Pritchard (Texprint alumna), designers and manufactures of upholstery and interior accessories. Find out about using geometrics and graphic reversible patterns to create clean, contemporary design and observe their approach to our transport brief. eleanorpritchard.com

BeatWoven® Cool Tone Fabric 4

 

 

 

Texprint at Intertextile Shanghai, October 2016

25 November 2016 by Editor

Amy Smith and Jacob Monk on The Bund against the iconic Shanghai skyline

October 2016 saw Texprint exhibit for the fourth time at Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics sponsored by Messe Frankfurt (HK), and again it was an incredibly positive experience for two winning Texprint designers.

Busy Texprint stand in Verve for Design section (Amy Smith's design can be seen on the overhead banner)

Over-and-above the small stand allocated, the Messe Frankfurt (HK) travel award again provided an additional metre of stand space plus flight and accommodation for the designer whose work was selected to create a visual identity for the show’s ‘Verve for Design’ section.  This year that designer was Amy Smith.

A further metre of stand space was generously sponsored by The Woolmark Company for the winner of the 2016 Woolmark Company Texprint Award, Jacob Monk, to show his collection. The result was that two designers were able to show their collections and experience the Asian market first hand. The majority of visitors were from China and Asia although the designers also met with visitors from Australia, Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe.

Sarah Cheyne, Texprint project coordinator, who accompanied Amy and Jacob, says:“This was a very positive show for Texprint - we had many compliments on our stand and it was good to be showing alongside UK studios Circle Line, Whiston & Wright, Design Union, Acornand Amanda Kelly.  It was also good to see Texprint alumni, Jane Han Zhang and Tali Furman, successfully exhibiting.”

Student helpers Xiaojian Zheng(Scarlet) and Qi Wang (Cookie)

Two enthusiastic students, Xiaojian Zheng(Scarlet) and Qi Wang (Cookie), provided by Zhejiang University with the help of Course Director Xi Chen, acted as helpers and translators. Jacob says: “The show was very exciting but also very difficult. I just assumed that at a business event more people would speak English and this wasn’t the case. However I learnt a lot just from being there and observing others - how different studios display their collections, and what style of work they bring to Asia. I have learnt the importance of knowing your market, and it was interesting to see the style they like in Asia.”

Busy Texprint stand in Verve for Design section

Neither of the designers sold work on this visit however both say that they found the experience invaluable and that even in a few days they learned so much about the Asian textile industry.

“The trip was very inspiring,” says Jacob, “Shanghai is an amazing city, there’s so much to explore and experience – the many cultural differences, the food and markets - even the things you really don’t see in UK, like scaffolding made of bamboo! And the mix of the new with the old, such as the Yuyuan Garden hidden in the middle of the city.”

Amy continues: “It was good to see what designs people were interested in compared to London and Paris, and so inspiring for my new collection – I loved it all, from the beautiful gardens we visited, to the paving on the streets. In future I would also consider designing different collections for different markets worldwide.”

Alumna Stories: Jayne Goulding

09 November 2016 by Roger Tredre

She was a last-minute pick for Texprint 2015, but turned into one of the year’s biggest success stories. We speak to Jayne Goulding.

A last minute drop-out from the 2015 generation of Texprint designers gave Jayne Goulding a chance to join the line-up in Paris. What then happened was exceptional.

Goulding took orders, orders and more orders. By the end of three days of leading global textiles trade show Première Vision Designs, in terms of orders taken she was arguably the most successful-ever designer to show with Texprint.

Texprint 2015 at Première Vision Designs, Jayne talks to The Woolmark Company Texprint award judges

Experience counts. Goulding, who is now based in Bristol, was an unconventional choice because she already had significant industry experience and had returned to higher education to take a part-time MA at Bath Spa University. She had studied embroidery at Nottingham Trent for her BA and her earlier career included five years working as a lingerie designer for Marks & Spencer, an experience that served her well in anticipating the demands of buyers at Texprint.

Also unconventionally, Goulding had chosen to go solo at a time when she was a mother of two young children – requiring some hefty jugging of schedules and priorities. The children, she laughs, don’t really live in a house – they live in a design studio. Work and family overlap both in the mind and in physical reality. Luckily, boyfriend and partner Duncan Steel, a structural engineer, has the same sense of humour. Listening to our conversation, he adds, smiling: “I’m really supportive because it’s so clearly her passion.”

Working at home with the family

Speaking to her again a year on, back at PVD this September, where she now had her own stand, Goulding recalled the phenomenal sales of 2015. “It was really non-stop. The buyers were drawn to the detail in my work, which includes embroidery and design. They liked the richness and the colour, and the potential for different applications. And it helped that I had garments to show how it can be applied.”

Skip forward to 2016: “After PVD, I thought I’m definitely doing that again! This year, I’ve made slightly fewer sales but I’ve found some great contacts with factories that want to develop relationships. It’s not just about instant sales – you want long-term relationships.”

Jayne Goulding exhibiting independently at Première Vision Designs 2016

She talks through her Autumn/Winter 2017/18 with confidence. “A lot of my work is very conceptual. The high-shine fabrics are key for the season using geometric and pixellation techniques. I do florals, but I try to be contemporary rather than twee, using a pixellation technique that creates a floral design with a suggestion of geometry in the metallic yarns.”

Over the past year she has combined working as embroidery technical demonstrator at Bath Spa University with developing her creative signature. “I’m still testing the market really. Experience has given me the confidence – all those years of trend research and colour. One of my strong points is I know how to create a story. And I know how buyers work, how they react.”

That said, going solo has been a tough option. “It’s expensive and time consuming. Even more established people I’ve chatted to at PVD say that knowing what the market wants can be hit and miss. But I do love the challenge and I love that I’m working for myself, bringing together all my experience.”

Jayne's home studio

We speak again by phone a month after PVD ends and she is enthusiastic about the many contacts she made. “I sold to Italians, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Americans – and a big catwalk brand. And I met some big factories. These connections are going to be really important for the future.”

She is not deterred by the challenges ahead. “I have always worked long hours – and now it’s for me alone! Long-term, I would like to have my own brand and create my own product. But the past year has been such a great start. Without Texprint, I would never have attempted to show at PVD so soon after my MA – it was such a leap, it stuck me right out there. And suddenly people were buying.” Indeed they were.

www.jaynegoulding.com

A sample from Jayne's successful 2015 collection 

Meet the Sponsor: Julie Davies, The Woolmark Company

02 November 2016 by Roger Tredre

Judging The Woolmark Company Texprint Award 2016 at Première Vision Designs

Texprint has worked with TWC for much of its 40-year existence, and the synergy of interests between the two parties has been nurtured by a succession of remarkable individuals.

Currently championing that relationship at TWC is Julie Davies, General Manager, Processing Innovation & Education Extension.Her role puts her at the forefront of spreading the word about Merino wool to new generations worldwide.

Julie Davies at the Texprint 2016 Prize Presentation in Paris

When Texprint, which relies entirely on funds raised from sponsors and supporters, was struggling in the late 1980s, TWC was a staunch supporter and helped Texprint make the transition to charitable status in 1990.

Now, with Texprint flourishing once more, TWC sponsors a prize at Première Vision Designs every September in Paris. The winner – this year, Jacob Monk, from Central Saint Martins – goes on to show at Intertextile Shanghai, backed by TWC. The 2016 Woolmark Company Texprint Award was judged by Aline Galimberti, Chief Designer at Dormeuil, together with Jonathan Christopher of Jonathan Christopher Homme, the 2015-16 European menswear finalist for the International Woolmark Prize.

Winner of The Woolmark Company Texprint Award, Jacob Monk (centre) with award judges Aline Galimberti, chief designer at Dormeuil, and Dutch menswear designer and International Woolmark finalist Jonathan Christopher

TWC is a subsidiary of Australian Wool InnovationLimited, a not-for-profit enterprise owned by more than 24,000 woolgrowers that invests in research, development and marketing along the worldwide supply chain for Australian wool.

Julie Davies has worked in the Australian textile industry for 30 years, the majority of those years working in product development  and sales and maketing for a fully vertical textile mill. Merino wool was always the  dominant fibre. She was approached five years ago to work directly for TWC and has spent the past four years focusing on innovative education & extension programmes

The true passion that runs through so many people in the textiles industry was a talking point at Premiere Vision Designs this year. 'Find your passion, hold on to it and let your passion  drive your successes,' says Davies, encouraging the Texprint designers. 'It can be an amazing career and a wonderful opportunity to keep creating and innovating.'

What's her story? 'I was always passionate about textiles as a student, although I took a different path at first. In my mid-twenties I realised that textiles was where I wanted to be. I worked initially for a textiles printer, both for interiors and fashion, across all categories. And then I worked for a fully vertical circular knit company, based in Australia, working in product development and sales and marketing  At that time our production manager was an extremley talented Italian, Alberto Pastura, who had been in the industry since he was a child. To work alongside someone with his knowledge and passion was a amazing and unique experience. Approximately 70 per cent of the collections we produced were in Merino wool. As we were a fully vertical company I was involved in the knitting, dyeing and finishing processes through to the finished garment production and retail marketing.

Enjoying the judging process!

'I was also managing our sales across all product ranges and in that learned to really appreciate the connection between the designer and the manufacture and not taking that relationship for granted. Nurture those connections to create beautiful products……it's those special partnerships that lead to exceptional design and commercial success.'

She adds: 'Don't be afraid to build your relationships, reach out to industry. Don't be daunted by that, there are a lot of really committed people who are more than happy to help and support young talent.

Understanding the importance of education and opportunities for students and young designers TWC continue to build and maintain their partnership with Texprint. 'It is hugely important . the work Texprint does to inspire and encourage young designers, setting them on their way in the industry is truly inspiring and critical for the future.'

Industry designers and consumers alike are appreciating the versatility of Merino wool as technical innovations have expanded the range of products that are perfect for wool. In particular, Merino wool has made an impressive impact in the active sportswear sector in recent years. 'The increase in interest in Merino wool in that sector in recent years has been extraordinary,' notes Davies. 'It's not just about base layers, it's mid-layers and outer layer garments  Wool wadding in jackets, diversity in print techniques, bonding, lamination, etc – with wool as the major fibre.'

The surge of interest in sportswear looks set to be a defining feature of fashion in this decade. So it's an exciting time to be working in the expanding wool sector – both for Davies, The Woolmark Company and for the new generation of designers emerging through Texprint. 

www.woolmark.com

Making It In Textiles 2016

14 October 2016 by Editor

Texprint was delighted to be invited to take part in the third Making It In Textiles conference held in Bradford earlier this month; a conference made possible by the support of The Campaign for Wool, The Clothworkers’ Company, The Drapers’ Company and The Weavers’ Company.

Making It In Textiles conference, introduced by James Sugden of The Weavers' Company

The audience comprised 3rd year textile students, their tutors and course leaders, press and industry leaders.  Given that Bradford is firmly embedded in the weaving industry, the focus not surprisingly was on careers in weaving, with most of the students specializing in this field - that said the messages from all the speakers could apply to students in almost any field.

Philippa Brock, textile designer and senior weave lecturer at Central Saint Martins

There was a real buzz in the room as students chatted with peers from other colleges, and with other guests.  There was a lot to take in, workshops to tackle, and advice and ideas coming from all directions.

Christopher Maclean May of The Clothworkers' Company talks with a student

Panel discussion with designers sharing their experiences - including Cherica Haye, Rolls Royce (second from left), and Andrew Stephenson, Paul Smith (second from right) - both Texprint alumni

This was a chance for the young designers, soon to embark on their career, to listen to speakers whose companies are among the best in the UK, specialists in their field with international order books.  Adam Hainsworth, of vertical mill Hainsworth, talked of the commercial realities of keeping a two-century-old textile manufacturing business profitable, and Paul Johnson of finishers W.T.Johnson & Sons, talked about the link between design and weaving and how the limits of the ‘possible’ can be pushed in the finishing of fabric. 

Richard Humphries, director of luxury silk jacquard weavers Humphries Weaving, entertained the room with tales of amazing bespoke fabrics created for the Queen, for The National Trust, suit fabrics for the male guests at Mark Zukkerberg’s wedding – and even an extraordinary jacquard of skulls for a one-off  ‘goth’ wedding dress.

And there were also more personal journeys to listen to – from Emma Sewell of Wallace Sewell; and Julia Skliarova, senior textiles editor at WGSN – both, as it happens, Texprint alumna.  Also Joan Johnston and Vanessa Podmore, whose careers have touched on procurement, buying, and design across a wide range of brands from Jimmy Choo to Burberry.

Emma Sewell of Wallace Sewell (left)

Julia Skliarova, senior textiles editor at WGSN

Visits to local mills were on the agenda for Day 2.  Most students had never visited a mill before and were amazed by the scale, the engineering, and the way in which cloth designs are developed and taken into production.

All-in-all an extraordinarily important and eye-opening event which will undoubtedly help and enable young designers on graduation to explore the many opportunities available to them in the industry – from design to technical, from sales to marketing, and so much more.

Abraham Moon & Sons

 

Abraham Moon & Sons

 

Abraham Moon & Sons

 

Darren McCluskey, director of Camira 

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