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Quinton Chadwick; covetable contemporary knitwear
17 September 2011 by Joyce Thornton
Texprint alumna Jessica Quinton and her business partner Jane Chadwick form the successful independent knitwear brand Quinton Chadwick. Their relaxed, contemporary women’s knitwear is hand crafted and features quirky, unusual detailing that sets the brand apart. Trading successfully for 12 years, in addition to an online shop, the covetable pieces are also currently stocked in Fenwick, Heal’s and the Tate Gallery shops.
The friends, both knitwear specialists, joined forces in 1999, united in their mutual frustration of the gap they perceived between big catwalk statement pieces and dull, mass produced ‘collection fillers’. Their ethos is rooted in their desire, “to create beautiful, pieces that are full of character – to love and to keep”. All their pieces are hand knitted, using small co-operatives in the UK; the beautiful quality of their fabrics and the impeccable finish of the final garments defines their handwriting.
Fusing their talents and skills as Quinton Chadwick, the brand quickly made an impact with many independent boutiques as well as pieces being snapped up by Liberty, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. They began exporting, showing the range in Paris in 2003, and were so successful they scooped a UK Fashion Exports small business design award the following year. They exhibit at Premiere Classe, (the prestigious up-market accessories fair in Paris), and this has helped them expand and consolidate their growing Japanese market.
The partners both racked up substantial commercial experience before they set up their own venture: this accumulated knowledge has undoubtedly proved invaluable. Jessica Quinton exhibited with Texprint after graduating from the RCA in 1987. She landed a design job with Missoni, living in Italy for over two years. Returning to the UK, Jessica joined Osborne & Little and also freelanced for brands as diverse as designer Nicole Farhi and high street chain Warehouse. Jane Chadwick studied in Scotland at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art before completing an MA at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She then created her own knitwear label as well as setting up an independent forecasting consultancy. The pair met while teaching part time – something they both still enjoy and commit themselves to – Jessica at Central Saint Martins and Jane at Kingston University.
The designers have honed their working relationship, sharing the design and creative process, with Jessica involved more with finance and order processing and Jane co-ordinating production and working with their knitters. They are riding the recession, having established a core of loyal customers, and developing the strengths they have in controlling their own UK based production. They see new possibilities in developing a flexible, bespoke service.
Jessica’s advice to new graduates wishing to emulate their success is this: “I would always advise working for a company to get commercial experience before setting up on your own. And don’t do it unless you are a pretty determined person, with a very ‘can do’ attitude. Then be prepared for some late nights and even some serious knock-backs – as well as the fun and excitement of launching your own label.”
Watch out for a planned Quinton Chadwick Christmas pop-up shop and an expanded online store coming soon.
Texprint in China: the 10 Spinexpo travel prize winners exhibit their work in Shanghai
07 September 2011 by GGHQ Fashion Intelligence
The winners of the Spinexpo travel prize are presenting their creative and diverse work at the international exhibition of yarn and fibres for the knitwear industry, held at the new World Expo and Conference Centre in the Pudong district of the city, the site of last year’s World Expo. The show opened September 6 and closes tomorrow, September 8, 2011.
The Texprint group display presents the edited highlights from 10 graduate textile designers’ collections as part of Spinexpo’s New Generation presentation of trends for autumn/winter 2012. The designers taking part are Harri Batty, Lauren Bowker, David Bradley, Chloe Hamblin, Amy Lewis, Karina Klucnika, Emma Shipley, Harriet Toogood, Catherine Tremellen and Egle Vaituleviciute.
Chloe Hamblin speaking with Peter Wickenden, consul, head of trade.
On opening day Peter Wickenden, consul, head of trade, and Fran Fu, senior trade & investment officer, from the British Consulate-General Shanghai, came to meet the designers to find out more about their work and offer insight into business opportunities in China.
Interest in the Texprint programme and in the designers’ work from the Chinese fashion and design press has been high: two meetings were held yesterday to brief journalists from magazines including China Textile, China Apparel, China Textile Leader and View International Fashion & Fabrics China. Taking part in the first meeting, Peter Wickenden said the Texprint group showed that the UK is “a hugely creative country, bursting with talent and innovation – this is an excellent follow up to the British pavilion at the Expo”. He added that the UK offers not just creative talent but excellent educational opportunities and training in these fields, noting that 80,000 Chinese students are studying in the UK.
Fashion market professionals from Europe, the US, Asia and Australia have been very excited by the technical and aesthetic excellence presented by the designers. Visitors to the stand include brands, retailers, knitters and spinners, notably Burberry, Marks & Spencer, Hugo Boss, Lineapiu, Mohair South Africa, Lanificio Dell’Olivo and Esquel Group.
Spinexpo Travel prize winners exhibit with Texprint in Shanghai
In speaking with the Texprint group, it’s clear they are maximising the experience of participating in the show, learning about marketing, presentation and international business relations and more besides. “It’s exciting to learn how a show like this works; how trends are put together; what it’s like to be an exhibitor rather than a visitor to a show and how that opens up your connections in the industry even more,” said knit designer Harri Batty, who participated in yesterday’s press meetings. “It’s wonderful to have a response from another part of the world, up until now I had only shown my work in the UK.”
During the show’s set up the designers assisted Spinexpo’s creative director and Texprint alumna Sophie Steller to put together the central trends displays, gaining valuable insight into the workings of an international fashion trade event. Texprint’s Colour prize winner Chloe Hamblin said: “I’m learning about event curation and what business opportunities are out there beyond being a designer-maker such as colour and design consultation.”
The designers are taking the opportunity to meet with Spinexpo’s exhibitors, forging links and learning more about the market. Printer Lauren Bowker said: “It’s a good way to meet suppliers and manufacturers. I thought minimums would be a lot higher. By the end of these three days we will have made lots of great contacts, thanks to Karine Van Tassel [head of Spinexpo] who has been very generous in helping us with information.”
The Texprint 24: 2011’s mixed media mavericks
02 September 2011 by Joyce Thornton
Many of the designers among this year’s Texprint 24 are pushing the definition of textiles in the 21st century, employing both their skills and the power of their imaginations to explore many new exciting avenues.
Lauren Bowker (RCA MA) has a unique approach that fuses creativity with scientific curiosity. In her recent work she uses thermal chromatic dyes to create experimental textiles and installations. Lauren is fascinated by the possibilities of "making the invisible, visible". Her work spans a wide ranging sphere; from looking at practical applications for use in sportswear, to creating extravagant, intriguing installations that capture the imagination.
Central Saint Martins graduate Tianmo Wang's playful and colourful textiles are inspired by traditional costumes from Montenegro - and also by encapsulating memories of the famous Central Saint Martins print room. Momo refelcts on the personal, emotional effect of the college's move to it's new location in London's Kings Cross, translating her ideas into imagainitive, adventurous yet wearable pieces.
Quirky, colourful graphic characters and creatures are the focus of University College Falmouth graduate Rhiannon Williams's work. Employing print, appliqué, embroidery and beading, her pieces exude naive charm and focus on everyday observations. Her fabrics have great personality and appeal particularly to contemporary markets.
Lok Ting Carol Pau
Lok Ting Carol Pau from Central St Martins, works imaginatively, creating fantastic scenarios to inspire her textiles. She mixes digital technology and hand crafted processes to create her vibrant printed and woven fabrics, moving effortlessly between the two disciplines.
University College Falmouth graduate Abigail Gardiner finds inspiration in the Art Deco period and in oriental design, for her sumptuous embroidered and beaded fabrics. Creating through ‘doing’, her bold, imaginative and intricate pieces adorn silk, velvet, wool and leather. Abilgail’s prolific output reflects her passion and dedication to her work.
RCA MA graduate Marie Parsons's diverse inspirations are fired by her travels and her own photography. Material investigation informs her distinctive personal style, which she applies to both interiors and fashion. As well as creating impressive decorative items for interiors, Marie has already collaborated with fashion designers, including Louise Gray - producing striking, decorative accessories for catwalk shows.
Finally, Birmingham City University graduate Alydia Cooper’s vibrant and decorative embroidered fabrics have great tactile qualities. The fun creepy crawlies of her Blissful Bugs collection
The work of all of the Texprint 24 can be seen soon at Indigo, part of Première Vision Pluriel, in Paris, September 20-22, 2011.
The Texprint 24: 2011’s print pioneers
28 August 2011 by Joyce Thornton
The printed textile designers chosen for Texprint 2011 are injecting new dynamics into both fashion and interior fields through their individual visions and skilled applications.
RCA MA graduate Emma Shipley's meticulously precise drawings from the natural world are distinctive and beautiful. She translates her original artwork into detailed prints for her coetable scarves and her work also has wide application for interiors; she has created fabric, rugs and wallpaper. Her current imagery features exotic animals, including apes, tigers and snakes depicted in a decorative tangle of lush vegetation.
Chelsea College of Art graduate Georgia Dorey creates interchangeable, wearable garments to showcase her talent in printed textiles. Inspired by the seasons, she explores experimental processes across wide ranging fabric bases. Georgia has a light-hearted approach, her garments and accessories possess a playful quality – but the depth of her investigation into the possibilities of print is thorough and serious. She says: “My work explores the idea that a textile surface can work with the human form to shape, alter, enhance or even aid the wearer.”
David Bradley (RCA MA) creates dazzling textiles for fashion, inspired by the illusion of movement in surface pattern. Colour, pattern, pleating and layering create mesmerising effects, for which he won the Texprint Body prize.
Chelsea College of Art graduate Holly Holmes presents a fresh, contemporary print collection for fashion with a focus on graphic shapes, clean lines and sharp colour. Mixing digital print with traditional screen-printing, her designs show an evident a retro flavour. Holly’s bold, fun handwriting works perfectly for both fashion and interiors.
Allison Pilling, who graduated from Leeds College of Art and Design, creates gloriously rich prints inspired by the 1960s: she mixes references from the music of the period, the Space Race and paisley scarves to create her intricate and desirable pieces. She combines exotic, kaleidoscopic colour with clever, layered complex pattern and distinctive quirky touches in her outstanding work.
Nottingham Trent University graduate Toni Lake has excellent drawing skills that underpin her beautiful prints. She gleans her original images from the natural world and she uses pencil, watercolour and other media to create the meticulous artwork for her textiles. Her illustrative designs have a narrative quality and hint at fairytales and fables behind the imagery.
Finally, Beth Pryer from Bucks New University creates multi-layered, sumptuously-coloured and complex prints that have a random, almost chaotic beauty. Psychedelic and bohemian qualities can be detected in her experimental use of colour and pattern. Multi- layered, oriental and floral inspirations have combined to create exciting and fresh modern textiles.