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Texprint London 2012
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Texprint London: four prize winners chosen by industry luminaries
18 July 2012 by Joyce Thornton
Texprint London - the must-see presentation of the best new graduate textile designers from the UK – took place July 11-13, 2012 at Chelsea College of Art’s Triangle Building.
Press, fashion and textile industry guests turned out in force to support and encourage the 24 successful designers.Texprint’s chairman, Barbara Kennington said: “This was undoubtedly our most successful and buzzy Texprint London show to date, the feedback overall was terrific, which bodes well for future support.”
Judges Sheree Waterson & Paul Stamper veiw the work
Four world-renowned decision makers and designers in the fields of fashion and design selected the winners of four special prizes at the event:Caroline Burstein, creative director at Browns Fashion; textile designer Neisha Crosland; Paul Stamper, senior designer at Renault Design; and Sheree Waterson, executive vice president and chief product officer for Vancouver based sportswear company Lululemon Athletica.
Selection of work by Ying Wu
Ying Wufrom the Royal College of Art scooped the Pattern prize for her highly imaginative work. Ying’s latest pieces are fantastic visual projections of a world where the environment has been polluted and almost destroyed. Her nightmare scenarios remain beautifully colourful and decorative despite their dark content, creating fascinating and thought-provoking artistic textile pieces.
Knitted structure by Carlo Volpi
Knitwear specialist Carlo Volpi, also from the RCA, was the judge’s unanimous choice to receive the Body prize. Carlo’s great sense of colour, texture and 3D structure mixed with a light-hearted sense of fun made an impression on many visitors.
Beaded textile design by Manri Kishimoto
Also commanding much attention,Manri Kishimoto from Central St Martins College of Art & Design won the Colour prize for her bold, graphic and distinctive printed and mixed media work. Manri is inspired by nature and by birds in particular. Her work is often based on stories and features striking motifs and wonderfully detailed beaded embellishment and appliqué.
Tania Knuckey embellished leather
Finally, Tania Grace Knuckey from the RCA won the Space prize, given for the best textiles for use in interiors. The judges were impressed with Tania’s versatility and the wide variety of materials she has explored in her work including many fabric bases, leather and metal.
The prize winners each win a £1,000 prize, courtesy of prize sponsors The Clothworkers’ Foundation, Liberty Art Fabrics and Pantone X-Rite.
Chief product officer for Lululemon Athletica champions Texprint
12 July 2012 by GGHQ Fashion Intelligence
Sheree Waterson is the charismatic chief product officer for Lululemon Athletica; the Vancouver-based company that creates apparel for people taking part in active sports. Working with a team of over 100, Sheree oversees the design, merchandising, planning, sourcing and production of the fast-moving brand which is sold through 165 stores in Canada, the US and Australia. Lululemon’s website is a source of more than clothing; it is a portal into the company’s energising ethos of community interaction and positive living. Texprint is delighted to welcome Sheree to Texprint London where she joined the special prize judging panel and began the process of selecting a winner from among Texprint’s 24 star textile design graduates of the first Texprint Lululemon prize of £1,000 and a three-month paid internship in Vancouver.
The Texprint team were thrilled to meet you and your team at Indigo, Paris, in September 2011. What was it that inspired you to launch the inaugural Texprint Lululemon prize and internship? We have always been attracted to a certain part of Indigo. And we didn’t know what it was about this certain corner that we felt compelled to go see. But we have come to find out it was Texprint and the exceptional talent we saw. What’s exciting about Texprint is it supports, develops and nurtures the creatives that are involved in textiles.
How important is it for you to support the next generation of textile designers? The world is changing and we are going from a society of consuming and conquering and we are moving into one of simplicity and beauty. People who are right-brained and creative are going to be the ones who lead the way for a new future.
What does ‘trained in Britain’ mean to you? The UK has a phenomenal track record for producing talent that’s unparalleled and the rigour with which the curriculum is constructed results in the best talent in the world. They have to work really hard and be extremely passionate to graduate. The talent at Texprint is the best of the best and it’s international.
Will you be looking for a particular personality type as well as design talent in your choice of winner? We are looking for talent. We are looking for somebody who can create a future that isn’t already out there someone who is pushing the boundaries of creativity. And we are also looking for someone who can fit into the culture. So there is an energy and enthusiasm, a passion about what they do. We find the people who are successful at Lululemon are naturally intellectually curious and are anxious to be in a relationship with people that share the same values and creative energy.
Will you be looking for someone with an understanding of technical fabrics or a particular aesthetic? At this point we are looking for an aesthetic. Combining beauty with function is what our brand is about. So taking the beauty of what is created here by the designers at Texprint and juxtaposing that with function, creating something new that’s never been before - that’s what we’re interested in. The person who will be an intern will be a pioneer with us.
And three months in Vancouver! Vancouver is the perfect spot for Lululemon to be born, Vancouver is a city where people are constantly outdoors and doing something physical. Whether it’s yoga for yoga’s sake or yoga for cross training, for run, ski, paddle boarding, kayaking, snowboarding… then go out and eat great sushi. It’s a physically beautiful place, it’s very vibrant and it’s a young city.
Tell us about the Lululemon lifestyle, do you have breakout yoga sessions? (Laughing) We do have yoga and training classes in our main office building. All of our design team are athletes; everything we do is authentic because they are partaking in the sport they are designing for. And a big part of the power of the Lululemon brand is the relationships that we have with the community at a grassroots level which are very powerful. We support the yoga studios, run clubs... that we love and uphold our values and in turn, they do product testing for us, so that we understand how to improve the function and the fit and so forth so that we can be the best in the world.
In certain ways, what we’ve said to one another is, if we weren’t a yoga company we would be a leadership company because the product is really the entrée or conduit to the conversations with our guests to teach them to have a life that they love, fulfilled, through goal-setting, personal responsibility, creating their own life - attracting great things.
The Selection Process 2012 – in conversation with prize judge Neisha Crosland
06 July 2012 by GGHQ Fashion Intelligence
Neisha Crosland established her textile design label in 1994 and is best known for her wallpaper and fabric designs. She also applies her style to stationary, tiles, scarves, fine china, rugs as well as home and fashion accessories for Hankyu Department Stores in Japan. Her body of work has propelled her to the forefront of UK design, and in 2006 she was honoured with the title of Royal Designer for Industry. Open, frank and passionate about design, Neisha shares with us her route to creating an international design brand and the importance for designers to experience the world first-hand.
What and where did you study before doing an MA in printed textiles at the Royal College of Art? I took a foundation in art at Central and then two terms of graphics at Camberwell. I wanted to paint but my father didn’t understand ‘art school’ and I had to do something that would give me a qualification to get a job. I chose graphics as it was fine art-based. One project was to illustrate a Dylan Thomas story and I made a 3D build up of card. The tutor said it would be printed in 2D and I would need to translate it, think about typefaces... I lost enthusiasm.
Why did you switch to textile design? I went to see an exhibition on William Morris and the Kelmscott Press at the V&A Museum and got lost in the textile department. I saw Ottoman Empire textiles with bold tulips that were abstract and simple and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
The textile design course at Camberwell is fine art-based. Yes, there’s a lot of drawing. You mix your own dyes, crunch up beetles for red, mix up gum Arabic to glue the fabric to the print tables, make your own screens... I learned to understand the alchemy of the process which hasn’t left me. When I went to the RCA I kept experimenting.
Did you launch your own range straight after graduating from the RCA? In the first hour of my degree show I received a commission from Osborne & Little. I had printed on old velvet curtains which gave them a medieval spirit. They invited me in to do a collection with this look. I learned the whole process, from great idea to the marketplace. It’s important to know how a 2D design will translate onto cloth. It’s the step in between that makes it work. I am interested in that end look.
Which led you to create your own scarf brand? Scarves were an experiment in rectangles with cloths that didn’t need rub or colourfastness tests. There were no production minimums. I worked with velvets, playing with the design at the Belford Prints factory. I was asked by Debenhams to do diffusion line; my designs would cost £20 rather than £250 at Harrods. When pashminas came in and I started to work in cashmere but they cost a fortune to sample and were not commercially viable – I still have boxes of the prototypes.
And you decided to diversify into wallpaper and furnishing fabrics? I did not need to borrow money from a bank; my father died and I inherited a bit of money, otherwise I don’t think I could have done it. I built a brand name. Which led to a contract with the Japanese department store Hankyu, and it paid an advance royalty. Then the Rug Company came along. Everything I do now is under licence. But I had to go through that first, painful bit.
And now you design for a multitude of objects. I put 52 designs a year on different products. Some might be the same, but I do a lot of work with the right partners with the right sensitivities to translate and proportion the design for a rug or an espresso cup. It takes a lot of studio time. I just don’t hand out the designs, I mother hen them to the final product.
As a judge, what will you look for in the work of Texprint’s prize winners? I’ll be looking individuality, idiosyncrasies and an aesthetic personal to them. With digital printing you can put anything on a cloth, a million colours doesn’t cost any more. Colour separation is a skill. I’ll be looking for sensitivity, not just taking a cool image and plonking it on a cloth.
What is your advice to new designers? Don’t be influenced by the high street. People are lazy. There’s a big difference between sourcing a mountain scape on Google and going to it. Something happens with your brain when you experience things first hand rather than through a screen, you’ll get that extra something that feeds into your work. I almost want to take computer screens away. When you look at 17th century French Huguenot silks by James Leman or Anna Maria Garthwaite, you can see fantasies and brilliant drawing skills. We will never go back to that nor should we but we must not lose sight of the good things from the past and join them with the new. The act of hand drawing out these fantasies takes time we no longer can afford but the process of drawing and dreaming brings a wonderful meditative process - we must not lose sight of either.
The Selection Process 2012 – judge Paul Stamper, lead designer Renault
04 July 2012 by GGHQ Fashion Intelligence
Texprint judge Paul Stamper has used his background in textile design to foster a career that spans multiple creative sectors, commerce and education. During his 20-plus years in the industry, he has held a range of positions including stylist and designer at the trend forecasting agency Nelly Rodi, creative director for the initial Urban Outfitters in the UK and, most recently, lead designer for French automotive giant, Renault. Paul’s international successes have earned him recognition as a respected name in the field of textiles and his various roles as a university-level educator have always worked in tandem - allowing him to give back the support that he was once received.
Paul has worked with Renault since 2000 as a designer involved in automotive fabrics and has worked with numerous international companies to develop innovative textiles in the field. As of 2010, he has been working as a lead designer - developing programmes and initiatives to nurture creativity and support innovation within the Renault design department.
“I am 100% supportive of nurturing young design talent, especially those from the UK,” says Paul. “I just love the exchange that I get from mentoring young designers. The stimulating energy and creativity is inspiring. Guiding a student and helping them to take their work in a new direction is what I love about teaching the next generation.”
Paul still recalls the great admiration and excitement that he felt for the Texprint selection process while training for his own MA in constructed textiles at the Royal College of Art. Now that the tables have turned, he is proud and excited to have the chance to inspire new talent through the Texprint programme, seeing as he attests his British education to a fruitful, well-rounded career.
“Being educated in the UK has been the biggest benefit that I could ever have wished for in my career,” says Paul. “When I visited companies abroad, I would show them my portfolio and they would always be impressed with the level of professionalism I had achieved. Being UK-trained has opened up a lot of doors for me.”
Paul now works on an international level as a key liaison between Renault and a variety of design schools around the world including the Domus Academy (Milan), Strate College of Design (Paris), the Eindhoven Design Academy (Holland) and, his alma mater, RCA. On 11 July, he will yet again have the chance to indulge his passion for discovering new design talent and giving back to the education system that served him well.