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Texprint London 2012
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Andrew Stevenson’s sprint start to a career in textiles
28 February 2012 by Joyce Thornton
Andrew Stevenson has enjoyed continued success since he graduated from the RCA in 2010. Andrew scooped both the Texprint Interior Fashion Prize and the Chairman’s Prize that year. Andrew landed his first design job at Paul Smith, and last February he moved on to take up an exciting opportunity as a fabric designer for the prestigious Tom Ford brand.
How did you secure your current position with Tom Ford?
A designer at the Yorkshire mill, Hield Bros Ltd, put me in touch with the fabric director at Tom Ford as they were looking for someone new to join the design team. I was interviewed there in February last year - and they offered me the job!
Andrew Stevenson textile detail
What does your job involve?
I am the fabric research designer for womenswear. The role allows me to work creatively within the design team to develop new and exciting fabrics. The team is very small and I am involved in all aspects of fabric research for both the ready-to-wear range and special projects.
Can you describe a typical day at work?
It depends on the time of year - every week is different and I am never bored! Usually there is a lot of work to do at the start of each season preparing mood boards and researching new ideas, as well as working on special projects for celebrities. I usually come to the studio most days and I’m involved with meeting suppliers and selecting fabrics with the design director, preparing for meetings with Mr Ford and working on the colour palette for each season. A lot of the job involves helping to design new prints and jacquard weaves for the collection. During show time it is very full-on - helping with the final fashion show. My favourite aspects include travelling, visiting fabric archives, working on colour and of course designing. It’s a very demanding industry which includes a lot of late nights and weekends... but at the moment I’m not complaining – it’s very exciting and a lot of fun!
Andrew Stevenson sketchbook and research
What inspires you in your work?
I am often drawn to favourite artists such as Matisse and Hockney as well being inspired by film, photography, antique and vintage fabrics and unusual colour combinations.
Choosing textiles as a career.
I started off doing fashion design in my Foundation year, but soon realised that I was really drawn to fabric and constructed textiles. I then specialised in weave for my degree at Duncan of Jordanstone in Scotland; fascinated with constructing cloth and the possibilities of texture and colour. As well as learning the technical aspects of design for weave, there was also a lot of emphasis on drawing and experimental mark making, which I found really opens you up, developing your technique. Then, the MA at the RCA was a whole new world... completely different to going to going to art school in Scotland. At MA level it is a lot more intense and focused – so I really pushed both weave and print design. Great tutorial support and ‘live’ projects helped me to design in a considered and intellectual way.
What qualities are needed for a successful career in textiles?
I think you need to have a good sense of colour, scale and composition to really visualise a small drawing, photo or design and see it as a garment or interior or art piece. I chose to specialise in textiles for fashion as I find it fascinating to see how a print or woven textile will emerge as a garment - and how it looks on the body.
Andrew Stevenson receiving the Chairman's Prize from Sir Stuart Rose of M&S in 2010
What have been the significant moments or events in your career so far?
Being accepted into the RCA, and winning a scholarship from the Worshipful Company of Weavers really helped me to make contacts - which led to jobs. A further significant moment was being selected for Texprint – as this really gave me a lot of experience in exhibiting and selling my own work in both Paris and Hong Kong. It really enhanced my understanding of the marketplace and the different levels in the industry.
Advice to new graduates?
Work HARD, focus on what you love - and prepare a diverse portfolio, with different projects, clearly presented. Target your market as soon as you can in order to gain work placements and jobs or to set up your own business.
Plans for the future?
I would really like to stay at Tom Ford - it is an amazing team and I would love to be part of the company as it grows. I love what I’m doing right now – and maybe in the future... to be the creative director of a brand.
What Texprint means to me: Lisa Stannard
18 February 2012 by Joyce Thornton
Designer and illustrator Lisa Stannard credits her Texprint experience in 2009 as being the catalyst for setting up her own business. Lisa, who won the Texprint Colour Prize that year, cites her inspirations as: nature, people, 1970s Pucci, Japanese artists and fashion, and fashion photography. Lisa’s versatile and sensitive graphic style, effortlessly encompasses printed textiles and fashion illustration.
What did you gain from the Texprint programme?
I don’t think that I would have had the confidence to set up on my own if it wasn’t for Texprint. Not only did we receive great advice on becoming a self-employed designer, but the Texprint team offered impartial advice on our work, suggesting ways to improve it, as well as ideas for future projects. Before we exhibited at Indigo, Paris we were given advice on how to handle potential clients and how best to show your work to buyers. Another bonus was that I made some really good friends, who I remain in touch with to this day.
Lisa Stannard, feather print for LA based brand Whitney Eve, left, illustrated tote bag, centre, print design for Matthew Williamson, Spring 2011, right
Your career highlights so far?
Winning the Texprint Colour Prize was a great start, as it came with a donation from Pantone, Europe and the opportunity to exhibit my work in Hong Kong at Interstoff Asia Essential - which was an amazing experience. Setting up my own business was a major achievement after Texprint. I have learned so much about business while being challenged all the time by new clients and fresh projects. At times it has been really hard, and I have often wondered if I could get it all done – and whether I was running my business right... and then suddenly great things happened. I was lucky to gather amazing clients early on, who I then formed great relationships with. I’ve designed for ASOS, Miss Selfridge and Victoria’s Secret, as well as illustrating catwalk collections for Amelia’s Magazine, and for UK fashion chain Oasis’s style magazine in association with the creative design agency Mill Co.
Lisa Stannard print
I have developed a strong relationship with Whitney Eve, a LA based brand created by US TV personality and designer, Whitney Port. After working with the brand for some time now, I’ve recently accepted a position as a designer with the company based in LA. I contribute to the creative development of the brand, working closely with Whitney to achieve her vision - by helping to design the range, including all the print collections, the look book, tags and website artwork. The brand has a place at the runway shows at New York Fashion Week, held in the Lincoln Centre on February 15, 2012, and I’ve been there helping with the show – it’s all very exciting. I’m also proud to have been featured on Vogue.com last year, following a commission to illustrate Lily Allen’s debut fashion collection. I’ll maintain my online shop selling art prints and a limited T-shirt collection.
Lisa Stannard illustrations for the Lucy in Disguise debut collection as featured on Vogue.com
Key advice to new graduates?
Be optimistic, put yourself out there and meet new people and network.
Be prepared to work hard, most students I talk to (through my teaching work) can’t wait to graduate – thinking they will never have to do as much work again... but I tell them - this is where the hard work begins!
Do lots of internships with a variety of companies - I wish that I had done more while I was still at university. I interned at Matthew Williamson after graduating for three and a half months in 2010, and although I had to fund much of this myself, it was great, I came back to my own business feeling more confident and reassured in my profession - I learnt so much from everyone there.
Don’t lose your creativity, if you are thinking of going into business alone there is loads of admin and business development work to do which can take precious time away from designing... stay inspired!
New Horizons: Toni Lake, Francesca Colussi and Beth Pryer
07 February 2012 by Joyce Thornton
Toni Lake’s beautiful printed textile work has an ethereal, magical quality which has attracted an impressive client list. Inspired by the natural world, folk tales and fables, she produces a diverse range of designs from her skilful hand drawn and painted studies. Toni has worked with ancient painting techniques such as using egg tempera media, and has embraced digital technologies to create exciting, experimental work. Currently working for Paul Smith, she has also had remarkable success as a freelance designer, selling to Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Armani, Donna Karan Collection, Vera Wang, Ted Baker, Max Studio and LK Bennett. An exciting new collaboration between Texprint and Foundation Sponsor Marks & Spencer, saw M&S snapping up several of Toni’s designs which have been put into production and will feature in M&S’s spring 2012 womenswear ranges. Toni says: “Seeing the final pieces has made me very proud.”
Toni Lake design detail
Respected industry journal Textile View is featuring Toni’s directional stone texture print pieces in an upcoming edition. Toni says of her time with Texprint: “It was my dream to be chosen - the experiences from exhibiting with Texprint are irreplaceable for me - especially the opportunity to be mentored and receive invaluable feedback from the fantastically professional Texprint team.”
Francesca Colussi woven textiles
Francesca Colussi continues to develop her freelance career, having re-located to North Wales. Francesca’s meticulous work spans both weave and print, and in the last year of her degree course she racked up an impressive array of awards. The long list includes: The British Textile Designers Guild Award for outstanding work; The Clothworkers’ Foundation Award for innovative textiles for interiors; first prize in the Bradford Textile Society Design Competition, and more.
Francesca Colussi designs
Through exhibiting with Texprint she was awarded an internship by Fondazione Antonio Ratti, where she spent three weeks in October 2011, in Como, Italy. While exhibiting at Indigo, Paris she met James Stone of Code Studio, London, and the company has successfully sold Francesca’s designs, including several to Calvin Klein in New York. Francesca has just launched her new website where the full array of her talents can be seen.
Beth Pryer design detail
Finally, talented print designer Beth Pryer enjoyed a five-week design placement with M&S’s womenswear print and accessories team. She says: “I had a great time learning new skills and working in a professional studio environment with such wonderful teams. I am looking forward to seeing how the prints the company bought from me and the other Texprint designers will emerge this year. It's very exciting to have been given this opportunity!
Beth Pryer printed textile
Exhibiting with Texprint at Indigo, Paris was a great experience and a real privilege to be able to display and sell my work. I sold several designs, but importantly, I also used my time to network. A few studios were interested in possible freelance work, so I took close note of their stands and their distinct styles in order to determine whether I could see myself designing for them. It worked out well – and I’m now successfully freelancing. The contacts I made at Indigo are invaluable - and I continue to pursue these leads and opportunities. I’m also applying for further internships to build up my knowledge and experience. I’m determined and I won’t give up! The Texprint team were a great support and encouragement to me. If I hadn't been given this opportunity to excel, I don't think I'd have as much confidence as I now do in my ability.”
New Horizons: Chloe Hamblin, David Bradley and Lok Ting Carol Pau
25 January 2012 by Joyce Thornton
We catch up with more of the talented young designers who exhibited with Texprint in 2011. Here Chloe Hamblin, David Bradley and Lok Ting Carol Pau give an update on their career paths so far.
Chloe Hamblin with her work
Texprint Colour prize winner, Chloe Hamblin is now working full time as a surface designer at Roland Mouret. “I am extremely pleased - the introduction was made while exhibiting with Texprint at Indigo, Paris where I sold some prints to the company - after this came the offer of employment. That meeting was an invaluable part of Indigo for me!” says Chloe. “I also made sales to many other companies and had some pieces commissioned by another fashion designer. The whole Texprint experience has been one of the most insightful, encouraging and valued times of my life.”
David Bradley dress detail
Talented print specialist David Bradley, winner of the Texprint Body prize, is currently freelancing and pursuing various avenues in his new career. Since graduating, he has had his work promoted by Showstudio after creating dresses for Björk. David says: “Sadly the dresses didn’t make the cut for the album cover, but these were passed back to London via a stylist who liked them so much they asked me to make more.” David says that his Texprint experience has given him a much more focused direction for his work. “I now feel much more at ease as a designer and this experience has given me the confidence I needed to finally view myself as one."
David Bradley with his work
"I am incredibly grateful to have been selected and to have been involved in all of the Texprint trips. Each and every one gave me an insight into the workings of so many facets of the industry I would not have had access to. It was a fantastic opportunity to travel and exhibit work on an international level, but also to make strong bonds with other textile graduates.”
Lok Ting Carol Pau print detail
Print specialist Lok Ting Carol Pau spent two months working at Clerici Tessuto in Como after exhibiting with Texprint. She says: “Texprint has given me such a fantastic insight into the textile industry. This has been a unique opportunity to learn about copyright, how to sell as a freelancer and to really prepare for my future as a textile designer. I took part in the Breaking Boundaries project created by Marks & Spencer and ATT Concorde, which resulted in one of my designs being bought and included in the Per Una line as a limited edition.
Carol creating swimwear designs for Parah. Her designs will be shown at Maredimoda, Cannes this spring.
At Indigo, Paris, I made sales to companies such as Agnès B, Nike and Accessorize. Texprint did an amazing job in promoting us all as young designers; it has allowed me to make plenty of contacts and promote myself professionally to the right people in the industry. I feel like I have leapt so far since graduation and have had a wonderful chance to meet other young designers all around Britain.”
Look out for further updates on the Texprint 24 throughout 2012.