Texprint 2014: Interview to Indigo
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Texprint first: Miroglio’s new internship award
30 September 2014 by Roger Tredre
Leading Italian print specialist Miroglio Textile is sponsoring a new Texprint award that provides an opportunity for a young designer to work at the company. Designer Charlotte Hetheridge is the first winner.
It's one of the world's leading textile companies. An iconic name dating back to the 19th century when Carlo and Angela Miroglio opened a draper's shop in Alba.
Now Miroglio is at the heart of investment and innovation in textile design and manufacture, particularly in digital technology. Which makes the introduction of the new Miroglio Texprint Award for Digital Innovation a landmark moment in the evolution of Texprint, a charity set up to help new designers develop their careers.
The winner of the award is Charlotte Hetheridge, who studied print design at London's Royal College of Art. Besides winning a cash prize, Hetheridge has the opportunity to go to the company’s headquarters in Piedmont, Italy, and gain experience and exposure to the marketplace.
She says: "It's such a fantastic opportunity to develop my work. I'm completely overwhelmed and thrilled. My work has always been a mix of handcraft and digital – it's amazing that we are on the same page."
The prize has been initiated by Elena Miroglio, vice president of the Miroglio Group, and commercial director Chiaretto Calo. Elena Miroglio says: "We believe in education and we are on a constant quest to find new creative processes to bring to the company."
Speaking at the presentation at Première Vision Pluriel (September 17), Chiaretto Calo said: “Our philosophy is to push the boundaries of what is possible in textiles, combining creativity with high technology."
At Première Vision Pluriel, Miroglio Textile was promoting its new DMIx technical facility, developed with hardware and software specialists such as Caddon, Epson, EFI and Color Digital. The ground-breaking new technology enables Miroglio to reliably translate the visual impression of the colours and patterns shown on a mood board into identical production colours. It's a huge step forward for digital printing and confirms the company's status as a true technological pioneer.
Miroglio Textile is a long-time supporter of Texprint and the company’s senior print designer Louise Somers took part in Texprint herself back in 2008. "I remember coming to London for my first interview," she recalls. "I couldn't believe that a charity like this existed. It seemed like a dream! If you don't have connections, it can be so difficult to get going in a career."
Louise Somers on the Miroglio Textiles stand at Première Vision, September 2014
Somers, from Dublin, had studied printed textiles at Glasgow School of Art. "At Texprint, I didn't win the Print prize, but I got offered a job! I sold a lot of work. I had created lots of unusual illustrations, quite organically, not obviously commercial, with a different hand-feel. In Paris, an Italian mill offered me a job in Como. Two weeks later I was in Italy."
Later, back in London, Somers worked for four years at innovative retailer Ted Baker, designing prints for menswear and womenswear. And then came the opportunity to work at Miroglio. She is still based in London but travels between a studio in the centre of town and Miroglio's Italian headquarters. She says: "I focus on prints, particularly for the UK and Northern Europe markets. It's about being innovative, about newness and on-trend prints. We take orders both from the fast fashion and high-end market."
For Somers, the new internship award is great news. "We are very excited about it. Miroglio is very progressive with technology, such as the Evolution project to make products and inks truly sustainable within 20 years. And the state-of-the-art digital printers are incredible."
For winner Charlotte Hetheridge, it's going to be a great experience. "I can't wait to push my work to the next level," she says.
The Woolmark Company Texprint Award
23 September 2014 by Roger Tredre
Designer Tali Furman has received the Woolmark Company Texprint Award 2014, with the legendary textiles designer Nino Cerruti expressing his admiration for her work.
By her own admission, Tali Furman's work is not for everybody, but she's happy to play it her way. Texture is her big focus right now – and it was her creative exploration of texture on wool textiles that caught the eye of the judges of this year's Woolmark Company Texprint Award.
Now in its fourth year, the award goes to a Texprint designer who has used at least 60% Merino wool in an innovative way. Highly commended were designers Kaila Cox and Zana Ajvazi, but Tali Furman was delighted to win the big prize.
"I like to say that texture is the new colour," says Tali Furman as we talk on her stand at Indigo in Paris. She's taken orders at the exhibition, even though she priced her work perhaps more highly than one might expect of a new designer. That's because Furman knows it's good – "and I know how long it took me to do," she adds with a laugh.
The Israeli designer, who studied at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design and London's Royal College of Art, was thrilled to win the approval of the judges. "I was surprised, but it's a lovely surprise," she enthused after receiving the award from celebrated Italian textiles designer Nino Cerruti.
Cerruti said that he was looking for work that showed complexity, innovation and harmony. "It's great to see a very high level of work from both a technical and creative point of view."
Cerruti was joined by Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton of British menswear brand Agi & Sam. They said: "We all had the notion that if you have an identity it needs to be strong. We were looking for a combination of strong technical ability, creativity and cohesive designs." In a competitive industry, a strong personality helps too.
A key feature of the award is the opportunity for Furman to show her work at Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics (October 20-23) with Texprint and The Woolmark Company.
Last time Furman was in Asia, she was a backpacking student. Now she's a textile designer with a major award to her name. A delight for her – and for Texprint.
Note: So much buzz about wool at the moment as HRH The Prince of Wales' Campaign for Wool gets underway again this autumn. Coinciding with Premiere Vision Pluriel, the wool festivities started in Paris with French Wool Week and a reception at The British Embassy to which Texprint were delighted to be invited.
London is due to host the Campaign for Wool Interiors Collection exhibition at Southwark Cathedral (Millennium Courtyard and Queen Elizabeth Room, 5 - 12 October) - a collection of fifty wool interior products selected from the global wool textile industry: fabrics, rugs, furnishings, lifestyle and art in the world's most natural and sustainable fibre. The exhibition will also feature a small Wool Fringe area displaying work from students and other innovative wool products.
Texprint 2014: Indigo, Paris
18 September 2014 by Roger Tredre
Texprint's 24 young designers had their first taste of the international arena in Paris at Indigo at Première Vision Pluriel. They exhibited their work in the textile industry's leading global marketplace.
© Kaila Cox
The Texprint year reaches its climax in September in Paris at Indigo, the show for creative textile designers which is a long-established part of the giant Première Vision Pluriel exhibition.
Here, Texprint's 24 designers, carefully selected after a long and intensive interview process, and all recently graduated from BA and MA courses in UK universities, exhibit their work for the international industry to view.
Indigo (September 16-18) is a must-see for PV visitors – and Texprint's decades-long association with the event ensures the young designers have a high profile. The results can be remarkable: over the years, designers have received job offers on the spot; commissions from leading international brands; and plenty of hard-cash orders.
This year was no exception. The first orders for Texprint designers were placed within the first hour of the show opening. Charlotte Beevor, a print designer who studied at Leeds College of Art, said: "I sold four designs within an hour and 12 designs in the first day. It's been amazing!"
© Aline Nakagawa de Oliveira
For obvious reasons of commercial confidentiality, we can't reveal all the details – but there were some very happy faces by the end of day one, despite the difficulties of not knowing quite how much to ask for. "The pricing is a real challenge," noted Jessica Stewart, a print designer who studied at Loughborough University Design School. "You have to learn not to be too precious about it."
In truth, selling is not the priority for the designers. The Indigo experience is much broader than that. It's about learning from the professional response to work that has often been conceived within the protective cocoon of university. This is invaluable, whether or not orders are placed.
The second day of the show concluded with the presentation of the Texprint awards by celebrated Italian textile designer Nino Cerruti, who judged the Woolmark Company Texprint Award with Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton of hot British menswear brand Agi & Sam. Mdumulla and Cotton loved judging alongside Cerruti: "Our tastes came together despite being of different generations."
© Jonny Wadland with Nino Cerruti and Agi & Sam
Cerruti, a legendary figure in the industry, was keen to pass on his experience. "The world is full of crazy artists, but we are not in the world of pure art – we are in industrial design," he said. "It is easy to have a new idea. It is very difficult to have a new idea that sells."
The newness of the idea is important. One of the reasons buyers return again and again to the Texprint stands at Indigo is to find fresh creativity – to see exciting new work not yet too watered down by the demands of the fiercely competitive commercial market. Even if the technical challenges of producing the designs might be tough.
Mixed media designer Fedrica Tedeschi, from Switzerland, who studied at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art, works with embroidery, weave and print and decided not to simply sell the work she had on display but to use it as a springboard for commissions. "A lot of my stuff is hard to reproduce in a commercial sense, so the wovens are fine but digital embroidery is still quite new in the market, so people are not quite sure how they would get it into production." So the commission approach worked? "Yes, I've been saying, how about if I design something for you instead? I got four commissions on the first day."
© James Skinner
Texprint aims to give its designers the tools and reassurance to follow their own creative paths. Jane Zhang, a Chinese designer from the Royal College of Art, who won the Texprint Award for Pattern, said: "It really does help to build my confidence. I'm very happy that the award was for pattern."
The other winners were Charlotte Beevor (Colour), Georgia Fisher (Space), and Federica Tedeschi (Body), with Tali Furman winning the Woolmark Company Texprint Award and Charlotte Hetheridge the new Miroglio Texprint Award for Digital Innovation.
And after Paris? The world awaits. Some are off to Como in Italy for internships. Others are heading to China for Intertextile Shanghai in October. The winners of the Lululemon Texprint Internship Award will be on their way to Vancouver. The next few weeks will be full of suitcase packing and visa form filling...
Although not all 24 designers could win an award, showing at Indigo was a great experience for all. As designer Francesca Stride put it: "Texprint is such a great opportunity – just being part of it is very special. There is nothing else like it."
Texprint 2014 designers with Nino Cerruti and Barbara Kennington (Texprint chairman)
In conversation with The Woolmark Company prize judge, Nino Cerruti
31 August 2014 by Editor
Nino Cerruti heads the Biella-based textile mill Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti. Founded by his grandfather in 1881, Nino Cerruti took over the business at the beginning of the 1950s, but is more widely recognised for the international success of his menswear fashion brands, Hitman and Cerruti 1881. He was the first designer to send men and women down the catwalk in the same clothes in 1968 and went on to create designs for a long list of celebrities and iconic Hollywood films including Wall Street and Basic Instinct. We talk wool, embarking in the textile industry and the role of judge with the master of cloth:
Your expertise as a fashion designer and creator of textiles will be absolutely invaluable to the Texprint designers when you meet them at Indigo in September 2014. Do you think that the work of textile designers is overlooked?
The work of people who work in textile design changes dramatically from the moment in which they join a company. When you work for a factory, you have to work to the ideas of the factory. And if you can bring a contribution then it might be a personal one. So there is a necessity that you lose some freedom. Personally I think that product development work should come from two professional perspectives; that of the designer and the merchandiser. There is a necessity of developing ideas, of looking around, but you are developing the ideas of a company, not purely your personal ideas.
Do you think it is important that we support new textile designers?
Every profession that believes in itself supports the next generation. Certainly the textile world has been under incredible stress recently and so faith in it has been weakened by doubt. Textiles has a faith, as it is so close to our bodies, to our daily lives, that it deserves more consideration than other consumer goods. It’s nobler than consumer goods, but it suffers the same diseases.
As a prize judge what are you hoping to see in the work of the 24 designers? What excites you in textile design, is it use of technology, use of colour, texture, drawing, skill or…?
I will try to judge in a balanced way, based on what I think can be useful for a person that joins a company and brings in the breath of youth. I think it is important to say that a piece of fabric is the result of several phases of the process. Like in medicine, you have various specialists – in spinning etc – in certain areas, but you still need the generalist that covers the entire process. It takes a long time to prepare people with this kind of knowledge, but it is important because otherwise you miss a point. You need generalists in textiles also.
What is it about wool that you love?
Wool is made by God. Nylon is made by humans. The artist is of a higher class.There is something more to wool. When we are born we are surrounded by wool. When you think of wool, you think of warmth, of family, of mother, in an intimate kind of way. It is probably inherited in our genes - at least in my generation. I believe wool is in danger – it is always associated with heritage, which is nice and tender, but it does not stimulate any enthusiasm. In today’s society there is a sin that is unforgivable, which is to be old. Wool needs to be reconsidered as something young and fresh. If you ask people if they think wool is cool they will look at you as if you are stupid. It needs to be promoted with seduction, which is very different. I am not sure if the iPad generation will still love wool in the same way?
From Texprint to Ratti and Louis Vuitton: Andrew Boyd’s story
26 August 2014 by Roger Tredre
This is the story of how a 35-year-old graphic designer from Hartlepool decided to rethink his life – and how Texprint helped him make it happen.
Andrew Boyd was in his mid-thirties when he came to the conclusion that his career had worked out the wrong way. He was working as a graphic designer for a company in London and earning a reasonable salary. The problem was that he received no creative satisfaction from what he did.
Over time and after considerable reflection, he decided on a radical and courageous solution – to return to basics, to rekindle the interests and skills of his childhood, to get back to when he was the boy at the back of the maths class ignoring what the teacher was saying and just drawing, always drawing.
So he told his employer and friends that he was moving back to his home town of Hartlepool to do precisely what he wanted to do. From now on, there would be no compromises. His friends admired his courage, although some told him he was crazy.
Home again in the north of England, Boyd enrolled at the Cleveland College of Art & Design in Middlesborough to study for a BA in Textiles & Surface Pattern, mowing lawns in his spare time to pay his way. As he approached graduation, he had no thought in mind other than to set up his own studio in Hartlepool and work through his creative ideas in his own time.
But then – and much to his surprise and with the support of his tutor at Cleveland – he was selected to be one of the 24 designers for Texprint, showing initially in London at the annual Texprint event and then moving on to Paris for Premiere Vision, where all 24 designers exhibit at the Indigo show-within-a-show.
Andrew Boyd's world was about to turn upside down. "Everything changed for me. The quality level at Texprint was just incredible. When I went to Paris with Texprint, I sold something like 12 pieces. In fact, I had already taken a first order in London from Jaeger for £200. I couldn't believe it – I almost gave another one away! Money was not the driver for me. It was the excitement of being appreciated at this level. In fact, the level of all the Texprint work was really impressing people in Paris. Visitors were saying our work was far superior to the commercial work here.
"And then I was approached by Luigi Turconi of Texprint sponsor Ratti on the stand in Paris. He asked me directly, do you want to work in Italy? I said I would love to, once I had been to Hong Kong with Texprint. A few weeks later, I was in Italy."
Established by Antonio Ratti in 1945, the Ratti Group is one of the leading manufacturers in the international luxury textiles industry. After nearly 70 years in the business, Ratti has developed a business that covers the entire finishing cycle of silk and other natural fibres, working with many of the world's leading design houses. For a designer, working at Ratti is about as good as it gets.
Angela Caccia, head of Human Resources at Ratti, says the company appreciated his skill sets immediately: "He was really good creatively. He worked in the design studio and the freeness of his designs was very well received. He had the capacity to express his creativity."
Within months, Andrew Boyd's work for Ratti had caught the eye of leading American fashion designer Marc Jacobs, then responsible for the Louis Vuitton womenswear collection. Before Boyd had barely adjusted to life in Italy, he was working on print development for Louis Vuitton, his designs appearing in the Louis Vuitton A/W 2011 collection.
Louis Vuitton A/W 2011 collection
Boyd had proved that individual creativity, given talent and determination and the right support, can find a market – even in the fiercely competitive modern marketplace.
Louis Vuitton A/W 2011 collection
Since then, he's become even more determined to pursue his own route. The relationship with Ratti has continued but Boyd has now returned to Hartlepool, not least so he can work as a freelance at his own pace and with complete creative freedom. "It was full on at Ratti. When I came back from Italy, I was empty."
He says: "I now have my little studio where I potter away doing little sketches at my own pace. I don't like commitment or barriers. I want creative freedom, which I can only get in Hartlepool."
Andrew says of the starting point of a recent project: “All of the prints are taken from a peg board from a local diy shop...I used a roller to cover them in emulsion paint and used a very light weight tissue paper as I wanted the prints to crease. I am curious to know how the creases will react with on another, hopefully they will start to come to life when I get my screens back and start printing onto fabric using a variety of resist techniques.”
He remains hugely grateful to both Texprint and Ratti (we spoke to him at Texprint 2014, with the team from Ratti also with us). "Texprint gave me the platform to introduce me to people. I've seen my work on beautiful, expensive fabrics. That's a great incentive. My continual challenge to myself is to see if I can reinvent a fashion classic. Spots, stripes, checks. I like that challenge. The classics reinvented, making them fresh, making them new."
Boyd's route to creative happiness isn't for everyone, but he is unrepentant. His message to new generations of Texprint designers is simple and uncompromising: "Stick to your thinking. Be confident. Believe in what you do. That's the way you get picked by Texprint in the first place. That's why you're here. Don't budge."
Inspirational visit to the Clothworkers’ Centre textile archive, London
03 August 2014 by Editor
New to the Texprint programme for July 2014 was a visit to the Clothworkers' Centre in west London, the most important national and international centre for fashion and textiles.
Based at Blythe House, the newly restored building brings the V&A's extensive textiles and fashion collection together under one roof, providing appropriate storage to enhance the long-term care of the collection, and providing facilities for conservation, storage, research and education. The V&A holds one of the most important collections of textiles and fashion in the world, ranging from archaeological textiles to contemporary street fashion and haute couture.
Guided by lead curator Edwina Ehrman and colleagues, the 24 Texprint designers were shown around the lofty and rather daunting corridors and conservation studios of this extraordinary building, completing the tour with a special presentation of key textile pieces laid out for inspection on the huge tables of the spacious public study room.
Dress worn by HRH Queen Elizabeth II, designed by Sir Norman Hartnell
Silvered leather dress designed by Gareth Pugh
Once the headquarters of the Post Office Savings Bank and originally designed by Sir Henry Tanner between 1899 and 1903, the sensitively designed restoration of this Grade II listed building was carried out by architects Haworth Tompkins Architects.
The corridors are lined with free-standing and rolling archive cabinets which incorporate 500m of hanging space and more than 7,000 drawers. Each of the over 104,000 items meticulously labelled and logged. The upper floor houses the conservation studio, washing and dyeing rooms.
The project to create this state-of-the-art facility was funded by a grant from the Clothworkers’ Foundation (also Foundation Sponsors of Texprint) augmented by additional support from other sources, and forms part of the V&A’s ambitious FuturePlan, which is turning spaces previously used as storage into public galleries.
The Clothworkers' Centre is located at Blythe House, at Olympia in West London, and is open by appointment to visitors and groups who would like to study and research objects in the textiles and fashion study collections.