< Back

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 

Texprint alumnae stories: Genevieve Bennett and Philippa Prinsloo

04 October 2016 by Roger Tredre

Genevieve Bennett and her John Lewis Design Collective collection

They met on an art foundation course in Manchester, crossed paths again at the Royal College of Art, and were both selected for Texprint. Now – fast forward some 15 years – they’re working together on a major collaboration for John Lewis.

Visual designer Genevieve Bennett is best known for her high-end bespoke decorative leather coverings, but has worked extensively in the broader market and built an impressive portfolio of clients and collaborations. Philippa Prinsloo is Head of Design, Home at retail giant John Lewis, where she has worked since 2011 following seven years at Habitat.

Philippa Prinsloo, head of design, Home at John Lewis

The collaboration is part of the John Lewis Design Collective, which was established to build collaborations with top design talent creating unique pieces exclusively for John Lewis. Textile names include Maggie Levien, Wendy Morrison, Suki Cheema, Timorous Beasties and Bluebellgray.

The Genevieve Bennett collection is the biggest launch by the Design Collective to date (click here to find out more), including wallpaper, furnishing fabrics, cushions and rugs, all in-store this autumn, with bedding and bathroom textiles to follow for Spring/Summer 2017. Philippa Prinsloo is thrilled with the results: “Genevieve’s work has such a beautiful and elegant handwriting,” she says. “Everything has a wonderful tactile quality, and the colour is incredible.”

Cushion from the Genevieve Bennett collection

She points out that designers from a textiles background are intrinsically versatile. “You have that skill set of working with others, of curating a landscape, of thinking beyond a collection of textiles to a collection of objects in a room.”

Bennett’s design work is full of patterns that are mesmerisingly beautiful. Over the years, inspiration has come from a broad range of sources, ranging from the wood carvings of Hanoverian craftsman Grinling Gibbons to 3D paper engineering techniques. She loves “ceramics by William De Morgan, Moorish lustreware, Art Deco embroideries, Chinese lattice screens, and patterned tiles of all kinds”.

Prinsloo manages a team of 17 and is a busy traveller, regularly attending the big shows in Milan, Paris and New York, as well as Heimtextil. She also loves London’s East End, including Brick Lane and Columbia Road markets – and she’s equally influenced by her family roots in South Africa, although she left the country at the age of two and grew up near Manchester.

The new collaboration with John Lewis actually got underway last autumn with a small rug collection, where Bennett sought to translate the qualities of her bespoke leather coverings into rugs made in India for John Lewis. She appreciates the opportunity to convey the qualities of her bespoke work in products for a broader market. Her wallpaper for John Lewis, for example, uses surface print techniques, with a block-print effect that has a wonderful texture and sophisticated handfeel. “My core business is working with leather for luxury hotels and private residences, but I also really enjoy working to briefs which target different markets,” Bennett says. “It’s been very challenging and satisfying.”

What do they remember of Texprint? Bennett, who studied printed and embroidered textiles at the Royal College of Art, enthuses: “It was just the best experience. I was doing very experimental work and didn’t think anyone would get it, but I sold loads in Paris and it really helped me to set up my studio.” She also met Catriona Macnab, now best known as head of fashion at trends forecaster WGSN but then at Woolmark (both The Woolmark Company and WGSN are Foundation Sponsors of Texprint). Macnab offered her work straight out of college that helped to broaden her knowledge of colour and materials.

Philippa Prinsloo talking with Texprint 2016 designer Lydia Knight at Texprint London

Prinsloo was equally excited about her Texprint experience in Paris. “I was amazed by the quality and the number of companies that we were exposed to at Indigo [the former name for Première Vision Designs]. It would take one week to book all those appointments with the right people – Texprint facilitates an incredible fast-track approach.” She freelanced for three years after Texprint, before joining the design team at Habitat and then becoming, at 38, the youngest-ever home design manager at John Lewis.    

Genevieve Bennett is not the only Texprint and Royal College of Art alumna to contribute to the John Lewis Design Collective. Woven textile designer Margo Selby is another Texprint alumna familiar to John Lewis customers. And, as the Texprint generation of 2016 prepares to show in Paris, no doubt there will be more to come.

Room set, the Genevieve Bennett collection at John Lewis Home

Texprint 2016 Paris: Première Vision Designs

15 September 2016 by Roger Tredre

Texprint’s young designers exhibit for the first time on the international stage at PremièreVision Designs in Paris. We report on a very special three days.

The 24 young UK-educated designers who are selected and sponsored by Texprint every year unveil their work to a professional audience for the first time in London in July at Chelsea College of Arts.

But that’s just the preamble to the main event: the step up to present to a truly global market at Première Vision Designs.

© Eloise Holmes 2016

This year, the excitement of the three days in Paris (September 13–15), was palpable from the start. The designers reported plenty of orders on the very first morning. Such as Eloise Holmes, who sold a woven stripe design to a leading European retailer that she had precisely in her mind when she first designed the piece. “I was shaking with excitement,” she said. “It’s so nice to sell to a company I know and like.”

Print designer Mikey Womack also had a sensational first day, selling six designs to an Italian buyer within the first hour. “It was the most insane thing I’ve done!” he said. “I gave her a good deal because she was my first-ever customer.”

© Mikey Womack 2016

Later, he picked up a commission from another leading high street retailer, while one buyer even bought one of his paintings as a present for her husband’s birthday. “I didn’t expect us to be selling like this,” he said. “I thought people wouldn’t be interested in graduates, but they’re all saying, ‘we’re bored with what we see elsewhere, you’re different’. Texprint is like a playground of creativity for them.”

© Grace Lomas 2016

Mixed media star Grace Lomas, who won the Texprint Fashion Award, was thrilled by the quality of the companies she was meeting. “One moment it’s Marc Jacobs, the next it’s Nike. People are so curious to see our work. They say this is the best area of PV. Maybe it’s because we are working without the constraints of the more established companies.”

© Helga Aradottir 2016

Supported by Texprint’s experienced team, the designers are given plenty of advice on the commercial aspect of the textile business, learning how to market and sell their work. And the 24 designers, drawn from leading design colleges and universities all over the UK, are mutually supportive, a point emphasised by Isla Middleton, an exciting new talent who develops print designs from her drawings of plant forms and flowers. Middleton, who recently graduated from Falmouth University, was winner of the Texprint Interiors Award (sponsored by the Clothworkers' Company), “It’s a really nice group,” she said. “We’re all ready to help each other.”

It’s important for the designers to do their very best to impress every visitor to their stands. Embroiderer Martin Bonney said: “People were wanting me to put designs aside and on hold so that they could come back later with their bosses. You see these Chinese girls in their early twenties who are actually working for very big companies. There’s a bit of haggling going on, which I’m not so good at yet, but it adds to the experience!”

© Emma Kendall 2016

Texprint Creative Director Peter Ring-Lefevre commented: “The 2016 designers are individually very different – across the twenty-four, there are few common threads, which makes this year’s show very eclectic. I love that there are very traditional hand-drawn skills applied to fashion and interiors – it’s very heartening to see because these are skills we don’t want to lose.”

Also among the winners this year was Megan Clarke, who won the Texprint Pattern Award (sponsored by Liberty Fabrics) and Chloe Frost, who won the Texprint Colour Award (sponsored by Mode Information).

This year’s judges, who made their choices back in July at Texprint London, were Nadia Albertini, a couture embroiderer; Fi Douglas, founder of Glasgow’s bluebellgray; Pip Jenkins, head of design at John Smedley; and Andrew Croll, senior design recruiter for Nike.

The Woolmark Company Award, judged by Aline Galimberti, chief designer of Dormeuil, and rising menswear star Jonathan Christopher went to Jacob Monk, a weave designer who studied BA Textile Design at Central Saint Martins.

Prizes were presented by Martin Leuthold, Artistic Director of Jakob Schlaepfer, who pointed out that he was attending his 80th PV, dating back to 1976 – no breaks in 40 years!

Martin Leuthold, with winners Megan Clarke, Grace Lomas, Chloe Frost, Jacob Monk and Isla Middleton

Following PV, two of the designers – Amy Smith and Jacob Monk – repeat the experience at the major Asian show, Intertextile Shanghai (October 11–13).

Seven of the designers are also preparing for extended internships in Como this autumn, continuing Texprint’s long-running connections with the finest Italian mills. Amy Smith is again in that group. In fact, she mused, she is visiting Paris, Shanghai and Como within a two-month period. “And I’m squeezing in a holiday in Blackpool,” she laughs. Texprint designers may be living the international lifestyle, but they have their feet firmly on the ground…

Judges for The Woolmark Company Texprint Award Announced

11 September 2016 by Editor

The judges for this year’s The Woolmark Company Texprint Award have been announced. They are Aline Galimberti, chief designer of Dormeuil, and Jonathan Christopher, the 2015-16 European menswear finalist for the International Woolmark Prize.

The Woolmark Company, the global authority on wool, has supported Texprint’s prestigious awards for many years with a dedicated prize that recognizes the use of Merino wool incorporated into textile design.

The Woolmark Company Texprint Award is judged and presented at Premiere Vision Designs. This year’s announcement will be made on September 14 at the Texprint village in Hall 5.

The judges will meet the 2016 Texprint alumni on their stands at Premiere Vision Designs to view their collections and discuss their use of Merino wool. After joint deliberations they will select the winner of The Woolmark Company Texprint Award.

“Education continues to remain a top priority for The Woolmark Company as we continue to actively donate time and resources into nurturing the development of the next generation,” explains The Woolmark Company Managing Director Stuart McCullough. “New talent is the future of our industry and our longstanding relationship with the Texprint Awards allows us to support the best new design graduates as they enter the early stages of their professional career, exploring the innovative possibilities of Merino wool.”

Aline Galimberti is chief designer of Dormeuil, one of the most respected global brands in the textile industry, founded in 1842 with a reputation for exceptionally high quality research, creativity and innovation. She says: “I look forward to discovering how young talents interpret and present wool – one of the most noble of fibres – with a touch of their innovation. The aim is to come up with an innovative product, presented in a different manner with the right market price!”

Jonathan Christopher is from the Netherlands and has proved a major innovator in wool denim. The International Woolmark Prize highlights the most innovative and modern interpretations of Australian wool by leading design talents.

The winner of The Woolmark Company Texprint Award will receive £1,000 plus ongoing support from The Woolmark Company and opportunities to learn about developments, innovations and the supply chain for wool. In addition, The Woolmark Company will sponsor a dedicated presence for the winner at Intertextile Shanghai.

Introducing Texprint 2016 prize presenter: Martin Leuthold, Artistic Director, Jakob Schlaepfer

06 September 2016 by Roger Tredre

Martin Leuthold

He’s a legend in the textile industry. Switzerland’s Martin Leuthold has devoted his career to working for one company, Jakob Schlaepfer, renowned for its innovative textiles for both the fashion and interiors worlds. Now he’s taking time out to present the Texprint awards in Paris at Première Vision Designs on September 14.

Jakob Schlaepfer is the name behind many of the sumptuous textiles that grace glamorous showcases ranging from the couture catwalks of Paris to the red carpets of the Oscars. Fashion houses love working with the Swiss company because of its ultra-creative ‘blue sky’ approach – everything is possible in the world of Jakob Schlaepfer. Back in February, model Lily Cole wore a gown at the Oscars made from recycled PET fabric from the company. And in August last year, Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman starred on the cover of US Vogue in a sequin embroidery also courtesy of the Swiss maestros.

Spring/summer 2016, from left: Dennis Basso and Sonia Rykiel

Leuthold’s own awards and accolades are numerous, including the prestigious Imagination Prize at PV in 2009 and the Grand Prix Design at the Swiss Federal Design Awards in 2013.

He started out at Jakob Schlaepfer way back in 1973 as an embroidery designer, going on to reinforce and take forward its – and his – reputation for textile innovation. He was appointed Artistic Director in 1980.

As new technology and the online world transformed the creative process at the turn of the century, Leuthold enthusiastically embraced change – and he continues to draw inspiration from a myriad of sources.

He loves the experimental aspect of his work. As he once put it, “Fashion is a bit like an experimental kitchen, where you can try things out and then discard them again; either they go by the board or they end up on the catwalk.”

Spring/summer 2016, from left: Talbot Runhof, Maison Margiela, Marc Jacobs

Jakob Schlaepfer was founded back in 1904 as an embroidery business in the eastern Swiss city of St. Gallen. Jakob himself died in 1962 but the business saw rapid growth during that same decade, with the acquisition of a world patent for industrial sequin embroidery on shuttle embroidery machines, and a first haute couture collection created for Paris and Rome in 1964.

A first interiors collection was launched in the 1990s, with an inkjet division set up in 2001 and a laser unit for embroidery machines in 2006. The company is now part of the St. Gallen Forster Rohner Group.

Interiors: Glinka Pomona

Martin Leuthold’s design team creates more than 1,200 new fabrics every year – focusing on innovative ideas and high-quality workmanship. The fabrics are conceived, tested and realised in St. Gallen. The in-house production and close cooperation with local partner firms enables Jakob Schlaepfer to work experimentally and to respond flexibly to the constant changes in fashion.

Jakob Schlaepfer has continually adapted technological developments for the company’s own purposes. The firm uses laser cutting, digital printing and state-of-the-art embroidery machines. This has made the fabric processing options more comprehensive and multifaceted.

It’s a pleasure and honour for Texprint to welcome Martin Leuthold to present the Texprint awards in Paris this September.

New era design: AVA CAD/CAM

11 August 2016 by Editor

The design process is being transformed through the innovative use of new-generation software. Texprint designers checked out the potential of AVA CAD/CAM on a training course this August.

Six Texprint designers were given the chance to explore the possibilities of design software on a one-week course in Macclesfield, Cheshire, this summer with AVA CAD/CAM, a new sponsor of Texprint.

Duncan Ross, Commercial Director at AVA, said: “We are thrilled to become official Texprint sponsors this year.  Supporting education and students, and helping to create links with industry, fits our profile. The variety and quality of graduates seeking realistic employment opportunities is quite astonishing.  Once the six prize winners have adopted the new AVA software skills, I’m confident they’ll be even more creative and highly employable.”

Designers from left: Isla Middleton, Amy Smith, Lydia Knight, Crimson Rose O'Shea, Emma Kendall, Megan Clarke

If that sounds worthy but a little dull, designers listen up! New-generation software used with confidence and experience can transform the process of designing. Texprint designer Emma Kendall was enthused. “I genuinely feel like I’m part of a revolution in digital design development,” she said. “I can’t imagine how I coped before.”

AVA CAD/CAM has been providing specialist design and colour software – together with support, training and technical consultancy services – to the textile and decorative printing industries around the world for more than 25 years. Areas of particular focus include printed textiles for home furnishing, fashion and apparel, wall coverings and floor coverings.

AVA’s suite of integrated specialist software modules caters for the entire workflow from initial design and repeating, through colour separation and re-colouring to digital printing and conventionally printed production. AVA makes the tough aspects of textile design, such as repeats and colourways, easy.


Many companies have integrated AVA into their design process. Julie Hall, head of design at Bedeck (and a Texprint judge in 2015), says: “We use AVA for most aspects of our design development – from piecing scanned imagery, separating artwork through to design layout and colouration. The design development process is completed so effectively and efficiently.”

Progress in understanding AVA was rapid for all six designers participating in the one-week course. By the first afternoon, they were working with their own imagery to explore the software, focusing on creating repeats and understanding the different tools available. On the second day, they worked on simple non-tonal colour separations, and looked at vectors and geometric tools. Over the rest of the week, they explored advanced colour separations, learned layouts and how to present colourways, and looked in-depth at an aspect of the software package that enables designers to map designs onto visualisations for interiors and fashion.

Designer Isla Middleton was impressed by how the software allows pattern and colour to be explored in a controlled and efficient way. The key to making the most of AVA is good training. That’s why the Texprint group was supported every step of the way by expert trainer Kerry Walsh – two thirds of the company’s staff make up an experienced multilingual team providing technical support to customers worldwide.

Megan Lily Clarke appreciated the support: "Learning new things is always hard, but when the penny dropped with AVA, everything was made a whole lot more simple for creating repeat patterned and colour separating.”


Emma Kendall said: “All the staff are working hard to promote a product they absolutely believe in, and you can see from the off their passion and commitment and urgency to communicate how great this software.”

She added: “The office is a fantastic hybrid of modern and traditional in a converted yarn mill. Our trainer Kerry was really enthusiastic and bubbly, with the patience of a saint, running a great show while answering an endless torrent of questions from six learning designers.  We have learned the basics of AVA in motif cleaning, repeats and colour separation – all features that Photoshop doesn't specifically specialise in. Already I have elaborated on at least 20 designs in three days.”

Also upbeat about the experience was Lydia Knight, who said: “It is a wonderful tool. I wish I had had the opportunity to have used it before. Everyone needs to know about AVA software – it's so clever."

AVA believes there are further spin-off benefits from its sponsorship, including helping Texprint designers with industry contacts by matching up customers with them.

Designers with Debbie Jane Buchan (top right)

Debbie Jane Buchan, Customer Service Director, said: “We were thrilled to see such talented and enthusiastic designers making use of our facilities, producing fabulous designs, all of which were in repeat and colour separated – and in such a short time frame. Just seeing how the designers took to the software and then produced fabulous pieces within five days was reward enough for us.”

She added: “We are passionate about helping the graduates into industry and will do all that we can to help them succeed. We are particularly looking forward to Premiere Vision Designs to see what new work the designers will have created using our software package.”


x close

Texprint is supported by the International textile industry and by British charitable foundations, however as an individual you can also make a difference.

If you love textiles and want to support and encourage the next generation of innovative British-trained textile design talent, please donate to become a Friend of Texprint.

Our online giving is simple and secure. You can choose to make a one-off donation or a recurring (monthly) donation by credit card.

Make a secure online donation today by clicking on the Charities Aid Foundation button below. Thank you for your support!

Registered with the Charity Commission as 1000411