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Congratulations to Dashing Tweeds - Scottish Textile Brand of the Year
13 June 2012 by Editor
Hosted by British style icon Alexa Chung, the Scottish Fashion Awards saw Dashing Tweeds win Scottish Textile Brand of the Year (sponsored by House of Fraser). Deserved recognition for this exciting and creative textile company.
Christopher Kane picked up the crown for 'Scottish Fashion Designer of the Year' at the red carpet event held at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow in association with InStyle.
Dashing Tweeds, founded by photographer Guy Hills and woven textile designer Kirsty McDougall (Texprint 2002) is rapidly making a name for itself. By using the best British mills and workshops, and designing heritage tweeds with a contemporary, colourful and often humorous spin, they have created a truly original British brand. They will be showcasing their latest collection at London Collection: Men, 15-17 June, alongside other British brands at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden.
Dashing Tweeds collaborates with a diverse range of partners from fashion and interior designers to architects and scientists.
Palvinder Nangla: decorative textile art and design
04 June 2012 by Joyce Thornton
Images above: Palvinder Nangla, Bless This Home & White Indian
Texprint alumnus and creative maverick Palvinder Nangla talks to Texprint about his decorative and distinctive approach to textiles; the creative path of his career; and some timely tips for those about to graduate.
Your approach to textiles is highly individual - what drew you to embroidery and mixed media?
I come from a Punjabi background where embroidery plays a huge social role. My grandmother and I used to stitch for hours while chatting and drinking tea. The fusion of traditional hand embroidery with the elements of mixed media has given me new ways of expression.
Are there particular qualities needed for this discipline?
I guess it is very important to be patient. Stitching requires meticulous labour and it can take a lot of time. To be open-minded and passionate about your work helps too.
Palvinder Nangla: Self Portrait. Copyright Palvinder Nangla
How have you found working as a freelance designer?
Frankly, I find it quite difficult. It is a tough market out there and it is full of sharks!
What is the focus of your current work?
I have moved on to textile art and surface design. I still make fashion illustrations but now I draw my inspiration from haute couture. I have just finished a set of fashion illustrations made of up-cycled butterfly wings and I’m starting a new surface design project in collaboration with Cor Habeo, an ethical luxury shoe brand.
What inspires you in your work?
The creative process is the most inspiring thing of all.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your work?
When I see ideas naturally grow and take shape until they are materialised and finished. I also love when others enjoy my work and it touches something inside them.
And the least enjoyable?
The financial part, I guess.
Palvinder Nangla: Freedom Pass & The Last Dance. Copyright Palvinder Nangla
You won the Texprint Chairman’s Prize in 2006 - what did this mean to you?
It felt great to have recognition from the textile industry. Texprint opens up a world of opportunities - but as I mentioned before, it is a shark’s world and I’m more of a guppy fish.
Highlights of your career since then?
I have shown with the British European Design Group at interior design shows ICFF, New York, IMM, Cologne and Maison & Objet, Paris. Through this connection, the tableware company Villeroy & Boch chose my work to exhibit at Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Milan in 2010. I also very much enjoyed collaborating with artist Hector de Gregorio who is also an RCA alumnus.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to keep on working with Cor Habeo and to apply my surface design to bags and other fashion accessories. I’m also looking into organizing an exhibition to show my textile art.Long term, I would be happy to make a living out of my art and to be involved in haute couture with someone such as Christian Lacroix.
What is your advice for those about to graduate this year?
Don’t waste your time with egocentrism and work together as a team, collaborate, support each other. Unity makes strength. Keep it real, be humble and love what you do.
Tamasyn Gambell: dynamic prints and ethical practices
27 May 2012 by Joyce Thornton
Tamasyn Gambell (Texprint 2005) has turned her passion for printed textiles into a successful, rewarding and ethical business. Her dynamic prints are strong and versatile, and are relevant for both fashion and interiors. Based in London’s Clerkenwell, she hand prints much of her work herself. Tamasyn began her career in Paris, moving there shortly after exhibiting with Texprint at Indigo, Paris, where many of her initial contacts were made.
What drew you to specialise in print?
I have always been attracted to pattern and colour. The first time I screen-printed I was hooked. I love the physicality of it, and the way you can change a surface so instantly.
Are there particular qualities needed for this discipline?
You need a good sense of scale, colour, layout and pattern. You have to be patient as the set up can be a lengthy process and things often go wrong. It’s also quite mathematical when designing the repeat.
How have you found working as a designer running your own business?
I have really enjoyed it. It’s been a fantastic challenge and you are constantly learning things. There are definite pitfalls and financial struggles at times – down sides are the long hours and the late payers. But ultimately it’s really rewarding – to know you have been responsible for everything you achieve. I love having the freedom to explore my own designs. I found working for other people very limiting – I have a very clear idea of what I want to produce.
Tamasyn Gambell scarves
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on two collaborative projects. The first is with the accessory brand Cherchbi – I am designing and printing tweed for their beautifully hand-made bags [autumn/winter 2012 menswear range]. Also I have designed and printed the fabric for a range of re-upholstered mid-century Scandinavian furniture pieces, cushions and lampshades being sold in the wonderful new shop: Forest, London.
What inspires you?
I spent some time in Sweden and I was really inspired by the clean graphic prints, bold colours and shapes found in design and architecture. Their sense of balance, and form really made an impression on me. This way of working, combined with a love for strong tribal patterns really informs my design work.
Tamasyn Gambell notebooks
Favourite materials and techniques?
Screen-printing is my favourite technique. I love working with silks, wools and linens - really rich fabrics that absorb dyes and pigments and produce lovely radiant colours.
You are very committed to ethical practices - do you think it’s still slow progress in this area for fashion and textiles?
It’s definitely gaining momentum. People are so much more informed now than they were even five years ago. It’s going to be slow to reach all areas of the market - but high- and mid-end brands are making a lot of positive changes. I believe ethical practices will continue to be adopted and gain a powerful presence over the next decade.
Can you describe a typical day?
I cycle to the print studio in south London – usually arriving at 9am. I change into my boiler suit and begin preparing the screens and the table for a day of screen-printing. There are always new designs, fabrics or products to print. The space is shared with other print designers and small businesses so it’s great to be surrounded by creativity. I work with my assistant, usually printing until about 5pm - then I will cycle back east and continue to work on emails, planning, deliveries and orders until 7 or 8pm.
Highlights of your career so far?
Getting to see my work on the Sonia Rykiel catwalk. Selling my work at the Tate was also a massive highlight for me. My father and I used to love going to exhibitions there together - it was one of our little rituals. He passed away before I set up my own business, so having my work on sale in the Tate Gallery shop was a very poignant moment for me.
Plans for the future?
I am exhibiting at Tent, London and I’m planning some new homeware accessories for this exhibition. I would like to continue to collaborate with other designers, learning from each other and sharing ideas. Longer term, I would love to work with Ercol and design prints for their beautiful furniture!
Advice for those about to graduate?
Enjoy it! Experiment and take opportunities as and when they come. I’ve learned that it can be equally valuable to learn what you don’t want to do as much as what you do.
Anita Quansah: bespoke fashion jewellery
20 May 2012 by Joyce Thornton
Anita Quansah (Texprint 2006) has created a highly successful creative jewellery brand, harnessing her background in textiles. Now based in Buckinghamshire, Anita studied at Chelsea College of Art & Design, specialising in embroidery and fabric manipulation. She began to translate her techniques and unique mix of textures into jewellery, creating one-off distinctive pieces.
You set up Anita Quansah, London in 2006; did you always want your own business? Yes. I grew up in a family that is very business minded. I’m in the process of creating an on-line shop on my website. My late grandmother was a huge influence on me – she was a seamstress and a teacher who trained many women to use their skills to get back to work. She inspired many to make something of their lives – and she inspired me.
What inspires you in your work? My cultural heritage has a huge impact on my work. I come from a mixed African background - half Ghanaian and half Nigerian – through which I have been exposed to a lot of rich African traditions, particularly in the use of materials and textiles. The bold and vibrant colours from Africa are phenomenal. I incorporate rich African prints mixed with vintage elements and new materials such as chains, pearls and shells. I believe this mix creates a rare and vibrant new look. I am also influenced by things I see every day: music, art, people from diverse cultures and distinctive styles.
Many of your pieces are made up of unusual materials. Where do you source these from? My materials are from Africa, Europe and Asia as well as from flea markets, vintage fairs and stores in the UK. I love to use unexpected elements - reclaimed pieces from vintage jewellery; semiprecious stones; rare African beads; and colourful textiles. I weave them together to create strong, expressive, unusual, one-off statements.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your work? Everything! I really look forward to working and it gives me great joy to take a design which was a concept and then translate that into a distinctive work of wearable art. Most of my day is spent beading and creating complex textures.
What did it mean to be part of Texprint in 2006? Being part of Texprint was amazing - it gave me a great platform to showcase my work and my skills immediately after I left university. Through exhibiting at Indigo, Paris, I had the amazing opportunity to collaborate with designer Christian Lacroix and I have gone on to sell my pieces to other prestigious design houses.
What are your plans for the future? I want to continue to maintain my craftsmanship and keep my creative spirit alive, making unique conversational pieces and continue to wow people. It gives me great joy to know that my pieces are appreciated by so many people, including celebrities.
I want to continue to raise awareness of re-cycling and up-cycling. I’m planning a bigger studio – I want to do workshops to start teaching others how to use their creative skills. I also want to take this idea to Africa. My ultimate ambition is to make my brand more accessible and eventually to be recognised across the world. I aspire to be stocked in stores such as Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty and Neiman Marcus. I would also love to work with more fashion design houses and couturiers such as Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier.
What is your advice for those about to graduate this year? Three words: dream, believe, achieve. This gets me through everything. Hard work and perseverance pays off in the end. In this industry there are a lot of hurdles but if you are focused and believe in yourself and your product you will stand out from the rest. Love every bit of what you do and enjoy the joy it gives to others too - that is priceless.