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Texprint 2014: Meet the Judges, Sue Roberts

30 June 2014 by Roger Tredre

UK department store group House of Fraser is an exciting company to work for, not least because the company is now poised for international expansion, including Russia, China and the Middle East. This follows the announcement in April that House of Fraser is being bought by Chinese conglomerate Sanpower, which wants to develop globally what it describes as an "iconic heritage brand".

The company, which has a 165-year history, has 60 stores across the UK and Ireland, including flagship stores in Buchanan Street, Glasgow, and Oxford Street, London.

On the creative front, a key member of the team at House of Fraser is Sue Roberts, Design Director Home, who has been with the company for a decade. Texprint is delighted to welcome her as a member of our judging panel for 2014.

We interviewed Sue Roberts to find out how her career has evolved and what her job involves.

How did you start out professionally?

After studying Textile and Surface Pattern at Cleveland College of Art & Design, I started my career freelancing as a textile designer specialising in embroidery. I then moved to London and worked for Marks & Spencer researching fabric trends for a few years before starting at House of Fraser where I worked my way up from Design Coordinator to Design Director. I have been there 10 years this year!

How important is it for you (and Texprint of course) to support the next generation of designers?

It is very important. I would have loved this opportunity. I didn't ever imagine that I would end up in the role I have. It is not directly related to my training but one wouldn't have come without the other. I think when you graduate you are not always aware of how your training and talent can apply to different industries. College nurtures and encourages talent and creativity, which provides you with the tools to go on to bring new perspectives to so many different areas, some of which you may not be aware of. The future of so many different things depends on it. Any experience of that industry you can get is invaluable.

What do you look for in great textile design?

There is never one thing. In my role I am constantly looking and buying textile design for very different end uses. It may be a print, an embroidery or weave, but if it looks new it is always refreshing. You always see lots of the same thing. I am looking for something that needs to be commercial but with an edge that makes it different to everyone else's. Something with a clear personality.

Why is the UK educational system so good at producing design talent?

I think we have some of the best art and design education in the world here in the UK.  There is so much culture in the UK to feed from too – and some of the best opportunities. 

Can you explain the parameters of your job?

I manage the Home Design Team at House of Fraser. I am responsible for creating all the seasonal colour and trend direction with my team. I also have created all the in-house Home Brand concepts and their DNA and work very closely with the buying teams to deliver these into stores. Once the trends are presented we go on sourcing trips to start the development process, 

What's a typical day like for you?

The great thing about my job is that every day can be very different. I may start the day reviewing artwork with my team for various product areas that we create in-house. I may meet with individual buying teams to ensure the products they are developing work with the initial design vision. This is an ongoing process throughout the season.

I then spend time on a weekly basis with the marketing team to update on the Home Brochure, which is our in-store seasonal brochure. I am normally heavily involved in the concept, through to the shoot, then following the process through to print. I may meet with print designers to look for new prints for our eight in-house brands. All products are reviewed in stages throughout the season so there are a lot of sign off meetings across all product areas, from Furniture to Home Fragrance.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I think inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere. Travel plays a major part as well, from sourcing in deepest China, fabric stores in India, the colours of a fruit stall in Bangkok, to retail trips to New York or Berlin, flea markets, trade fairs, hotels, restaurants – everywhere.

Can you explain how you are seeking to evolve Home design at House of Fraser?

A few years ago I think you could walk down the high street and the Home offer was pretty limited as everyone housed the same brands. What has been so successful for House of Fraser is the launch of our in-house House Brands. By this Autumn we will have launched eight, which has given us the opportunity to design and develop exclusive products across a very diverse range of customer profiles from Biba to Shabby Chic.

Some we have created from scratch, such as Casa Couture, and for others we work closely with brand partners like Rachel Ashwell, the owner and founder of Shabby Chic. 

We have never been able to do as much in-house design until now. As we continue to grow the design team I think the product offer will naturally evolve, become more exclusive and inspirational.

Article tags: home & interiors (28), general (61), business (54), champions of texprint (45), texprint 2014 (17), judges 2014 (11)

Texprint 2014: Meet the Judges, Henry Graham

10 June 2014 by Jainnie Cho

We talk to Henry Graham, Chief Creative Officer of Wolf & Badger, a London-based retail concept that is specifically designed to support new talent.

For new designers, Wolf & Badger is a very exciting prospect indeed. Back in 2009, when the global financial crisis was still in full flow, the Wolf & Badger founders – brothers Henry and George Graham – did the last thing that many would have done at such a time and launched their business. With little more than a brilliant idea, they boldly decided to dive into fashion retail, a sector in which neither of them had experience.

Wolf & Badger, based in London, is described as a “serviced retail” business, promoting and supporting young brands that might otherwise struggle to get their businesses off the ground. Its boutiques give designers or brands the opportunity to feature their products in their stores and online in return for a small monthly license fee. There is no middleman. Wolf & Badger takes a small commission, allowing the designers to keep the majority of any sales.

The brothers seem to have a knack for spotting promising new talent: young designers featured in their boutiques often go on to greater things. One such designer is Texprint and Royal College of Art alumna Emma J Shipley, whose line of signature scarves was launched at Wolf & Badger in 2011. That makes Henry Graham a perfect addition to Texprint’s judging panel for 2014.

Alumna Emma J Shipley on her Texprint stand at Indigo Paris 2011

Wolf & Badger was named one of Britain’s best boutiques by Vogue in 2010 and received the Brand of Tomorrow award from Walpole in 2011, among other accolades. The success of the first boutique in Notting Hill and online sales led to the opening of a new flagship store on prestigious Dover Street, Mayfair, in 2012.

Texprint caught up with Henry Graham to discuss textile design, talent spotting and the story behind Wolf & Badger.

What are the elements of good textile design? What makes a great textile designer?

Good textile design must be able to work within a creative context and be easily understood from several angles. A great textile designer is an artist and an inventor that translates their inspiration from life into two dimensions, ready for another artisan to recreate it into something new.

What will you be looking for as a judge at Texprint?

I will be looking for originality in the design and placement of the prints as well as understanding how the textiles can be utilised across different mediums. The best quality for young designers to have is to be confident and trust their own judgment.

What was your background before launching Wolf & Badger? Why did you decide to go into fashion retail?

I had pretty much always worked for myself, although it was primarily in the retail property sector rather than retail on the operational side or in fashion specifically.

Having said that, I have always been very inspired by and interested in clothes and all things design-led as well as having a good visual memory. When the recession came about George and I realised there was an opportunity to create a serviced retail platform where independent brands could sell direct to the consumer and share their own boutique. Since launching we now have two London stores in Notting Hill and Mayfair and a successful e-commerce site. 

Wolf & Badger is often referred to as a "serviced retail" business - can you elaborate on your business model? 

In consideration for a modest monthly fee from the designers we work with, we provide a seal of approval since we are known to be extremely selective in choosing which brands we work with and provide creative advice. We also showcase a capsule collection of their products in our stores and online; lend key pieces to press, stylists and bloggers; allow the designers to host trunk shows and private events in store; and also introduce them to trade buyers from major department stores and boutiques worldwide.

When we sell items on their behalf we take a commission of only 18%, thus enabling them to cut out the middleman and sell direct to the consumer. We also provide monthly reporting about what customers are saying about their collections and which pieces are being well received thus helping inform their design process.

How do you see Britain’s fashion retail sector develop in the future?

The trend is for fewer but bigger large chains that will benefit from economies of scale, and a reduction in the number of independent boutiques.

What is it like working so closely with your brother? How are your personalities and work ethic similar or different?

It is generally good working with my brother, as we understand each other's personalities. Having said that, we do argue sometimes! I am not sure if that is because we are partners or brothers. I am quiet and he isn't, so at least we are not both talking at the same time, so I would say our personalities are quite complementary. In terms of work ethic we are similar in that we both tend to respond extremely well to pressure. When things get hard or there is a deadline, then we achieve the best results. 

As chief creative officer, what are the colours, textures and design themes that are inspiring you right now?  

I think there continues to be a movement away from fit and structure and toward relaxed shapes and easy fitting pieces. There has also been a resurgence of embellishment, texture and theatre in textile design. I guess I would say that there is a movement toward eclecticism.

What are some of your favourite London fashion shops?

I like Rake, which is a wonderful clothes store selling menswear. They are based on Duke Street. Their clothes are very well made and the designs are fabulous and well fitting. I also like ACNE, which is on Dover Street where we have a store. They have great staff and products.

Finally, do you have any plans for Wolf & Badger to go global?

Very much so, we are currently working hard on our international expansion plans. Watch this space!

Article tags: business (54), champions of texprint (45), texprint london (19), texprint 2014 (17), judges 2014 (11)

Texprint 2014: Meet the Judges, Sarah Campbell

28 May 2014 by Roger Tredre

We talk to Texprint judge and leading British textile designer Sarah Campbell, best known for her 50-year collaboration with her sister as part of the original Collier Campbell.

Sarah Campbell was one half of the influential textile design partnership Collier Campbell with her sister, Susan Collier. Their exceptional client list since the 1970s included everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to Habitat and Liberty. Fifty years of their work was celebrated in an exhibition at London's Royal National Theatre, 2011, which opened just after the shock of Susan’s early death from cancer. In 2012, a beautifully produced book, The Collier Campbell Archive, 50 years of Passion in Pattern, celebrated their achievements.

So now there's just Campbell, working independently under her own name, still doing what she loves best – working with gouache paint, drawing and painting directly onto paper to the scale of the finished design. Then she traces and paints the repeats herself. Painting by hand, she believes, has an energy and integrity that makes it compelling and special – and guarantees it an important role in textile creativity, even in the digital age.

Current clients include West Elm, the US homeware company. Now Texprint is honoured to welcome Sarah Campbell as a judge for the first time. We enjoyed speaking to her at her studio in Gipsy Hill, south-east London. She has an infectious chuckle, a stack of great memories and interesting thoughts on the creative process.

Are you excited about judging?

I'm always excited about new things but I'm always apprehensive. I love a challenge and welcome new ways of looking at things. I fear I will find it very difficult indeed because there'll be an immediate response with what I like that will be genuine and instinctive but, unfortunately, may not be entirely helpful. So then I will need a response which is to do with: where has this come from, what it's doing, what it's about, what are the designer's intentions, is it fulfilling a brief and does it succeed? I don't know that I'm going to be good at this – I hope so!

Have you done any teaching yourself?

I run workshops and give talks now and then and I very directly support the next generation by going into a local secondary school every week – I work with only a very few students on the BTech course, not necessarily ones who will end up as textile designers.

That gives me an insight into what ordinary young people are dealing with on a daily basis, which is a lot of stuff... As a designer it's very helpful for me to see what's going on. So It's as much for me as for them.

Like everyone, I have my own prejudices about everything so it's very helpful to have those knocked about a bit. And I think it's quite helpful for them to have attention from someone with a very different point of view, different experiences. 

How did you start out professionally?

The way I got into textile design at all is that I went to help my older sister Susan. I was always good at drawing, and I took all that for granted. See that painting over there of a mackerel? I did that when I was eight. My dad was saying, try and get those shiny scales. When I look at my nature book, also from around that time, I realise I've hardly changed – in some of my interests at least!

So I was definitely in the way of drawing but I wasn't planning to be an 'artist'. I thought I was on the way to Cambridge to study anthropology. But from helping Susan, I went to Chelsea School of Art in 1964 and did Fine Art painting. They said after the first year, 'You finish all your paintings too quickly. You should go and be a designer.' Clearly I wasn't wracked enough!... Actually, it was a great education. A good art school education is one of the best because - there's so much you can learn and experience. And I had great teachers – it was a tremendous time, a wonderful and expansive time. I expect I took it for granted then, but I see it now.

When I left college in 1969 I continued working with Susan. I had no textile design education so I didn't have any prejudices as to what a textile designer was. And I had the sort of mind that likes to think about how to make a repeat work. I was blessed because I loved the painting and I liked the nature of repeat. The way I learned about repeat was redrawing tiny scraps that Blair Pride [design producer at Liberty of London Prints in the 1960s] would give us, saying, we need that painting up in a new repeat. I loved it. I loved thinking about the ladies who had done those drawings in the first place. It was a very modest way of learning – we were jobbing designers.

We were protected at Liberty; they wanted the best cloth, the best print, the best colour and product. They weren't interested in the cheapest or the lowest common denominator. It was a commercial venture where standards really meant something. It was a wonderful opportunity. There were many battles of course – such as over our Cottage Garden print. The salesman didn't like it, and Susan bet him that it would sell more than the William Morris. And it did! It was a struggle to get them to do it because it was so completely different. It was in a new language – a full floral painted as a natural profusion without apparent structure.

To what extent do you draw on your own archive?

My nature is to do the next thing. That's the nature of a designer. We're there to have antennae and to feel what's coming in the air and to redraw it. I can't deny my history and the fact that I've done a thousand ikats or a thousand checks. And of course they are in my head and they come back out again, but they come out differently. It's fascinating that they do. That must be the passage of time. But I focus on what I'm looking at now, what I'm feeling now, what I'm thinking now, what my brief is now.

Do you find you've sub-consciously copied yourself?

It doesn't really matter. I do do things that are very familiar and I think I must have done something like that before. And I think I revisit my themes. I have themes that I'm very interested in, but I don't mind, it's all within me, it's not like I'm stealing from another person. For example, one of the themes I love is trying to represent a landscape on cloth. In other words, to make a thing that seems to have real depth on a two-dimensional surface. I love the experiments around that. I also love the theme of the free dot. And I like the challenge of making two colours do a surprising amount of work.

You once called the famous Collier Campbell Cote d'Azur print 'hardworking'. What did you mean by that?

Designs come out of me and I make them. They go off to be printed and then they have to go out into the world and they have to do their job. And if it's a good design and people like it, they buy it and it becomes what I call hardworking. I meet people who say they had this or that for years, and they love it. And I think great – it did the job. I don't know anything about the people but that design spoke to them and it spoke to them for a long time. That gives me enormous pleasure. Cote d'Azur must have been a very telling piece of work, although I often wonder why. I guess it was a narrative without being pedantic or claustrophobic – the story was clear and it had both atmosphere and space.

You have never designed digitally and that has been challenging for you in terms of meeting client demands in the past. But an appreciation of working by hand appears to be surging back, doesn't it?

It's been quite a difficult marriage. When there are two camps, it's always hard to see each other's value. I went to Clerkenwell [Design Week] recently to Design Factory and saw Benchmark: and Sean [Sutcliffe] was in heaven because people had responded so well to his new pieces - the bringing together of the hand-hewn and the computer aided. Marvellous!

There was quite a long time in our careers when hand-painting design was absolutely the end of the world and nobody wanted it. I was antedeluvian, a dinosaur. Coming after minimalism [in the 1990s], which wanted neither colour nor pattern, the attitude became, we can do it all online on the computer and we want 30,000 designs a day. There's still plenty of that – people do thousands of designs, I don't know what the hell for! That method and that amount can make design simply a disposable commodity.

When did the tide turn?

I think since my life, working and otherwise, changed so dramatically in 2011, I'm much more in touch with it. I've had to learn [to appreciate] for myself that I'm valuable. I used to take it all for granted. I do have an unusual skill and I'm very lucky to have it. And if I value it well enough, other people will.

Article tags: champions of texprint (45), texprint 2014 (17), judges 2014 (11)

Internship Diary: Florence Angelica Colson at Lululemon Athletica

10 May 2014 by Editor

Team Specialized-Lululemon cycle kit designed by Florence Angelica Colson

Selected in 2013 by Deanne Schweitzer, SVP of Design and Creation at yoga-inspired brand Lululemon Athletica, as one of two winners of the prestigious Lululemon Texprint Award, we catch up with print designer Florence Angelica Colson and follow her internship diary (weaver Cherica Haye was the joint winner of this award).

Unfortunately due to new visa rules Flo and Cherica were unable to work in Vancouver for the 3 months originally planned.  Instead Lululemon took the creative initiative and invited the designers to Vancouver for non-working trips to find out more about the company ethos and working practices, took them to New York and Paris on inspiration trips, then set them projects to work on back in England.

Florence with Deanne Schweitzer (second left) and Lululemon design team at Indigo 2013

 

New York – 12 January 2014

The internship started with me being told on a Monday that I would be leaving for New York on the Saturday - this was crazy and so exciting! In New York I met up with Cassandra Sze (vision line lead) and Spencer Wyatt (colour designer); we shopped the city looking for new styling and colour inspiration, including visiting Soho and the new Dover Street Market store.

Joined a design meeting hosted by Cass and Spencer in the new Brooklyn store - feedback from the product users is invaluable so Lulu regularly hosts these in-store sessions.  The company also feels it’s important to ‘sweat in the community’, to experience what’s going on in terms of sports and fitness, so while in NY we took part in a few yoga and spinning classes!

While I was in New York, Cherica met up with the Lulu team in Paris to work Premiere Vision and Indigo, sourcing new fabrics and prints.

 

Vancouver (home of Lululemon headquarters) – 18 January 2014

On to Vancouver to join a Lululemon induction week with around 25 other newbies enrolling in jobs across the company.  A great opportunity to learn more about the company, what they believe in and what they still want to achieve - having and achieving goals is monumental within Lulu!

Also to be briefed by the Vision Pod team (each section of product development at Lulu is called a ‘pod’) who research the visionary colours, graphics and styling before giving them to the various design pods to be actioned.

“I was asked to be as creative as I wanted and not to worry about restrictions or the typical Lulu way of designing, but do what I liked and what I would wear. This was a great chance to experiment so I didn’t always stick to my usual design handwriting.

Worked on updating the Lululemon Manifesto – the emotive quotes, facts and opinions put together by the founder of Lululemon – phrases such as: do one thing a day that scares you, breathe deeply, creativity is maximized when you are living in the moment, friends are more important than money!I created little illustrations, pattern-filled lettering, big painterly lettering and a number of other ideas - all quite challenging as so graphics based, but it was cool and fun too!

Then was asked to create prints suitable for ‘tights’ – meaning running, yoga or other fitness leggings. I enjoyed this the most as of course print and pattern are my design passions! Although not all of the designs were my classic style, I stayed true to my design process and spent a lot of time generating work by hand, either drawing, painting or mark-making, and then manipulating and developing using Photoshop.

The final part of the brief was to look at new ways of adding reflective elements to product pieces. I found this really interesting and something I had never considered before.  I am now obsessed - I run a lot and want to be covered in cool reflective pieces!

Inspiration board for reflective ideas

 

 

London – 1 February 2014

Back in London we met with Deanne Schweitzer and shopped all the great London haunts for the spring/summer 2015 inspiration report we were due to present to the Lulu team back in Vancouver.

“I find inspiration in everything. I love fashion - I’m pretty obsessed by it if I am honest! I spend hours trawling through fashion magazines and looking at blogs, Instagram and Pinterest - following designers, models, artists, architects, galleries, magazines, shops, as well as friends - so I really get a broad view of what’s going on and what’s inspiring others! At the moment I’m loving spacial design and room set-ups, and I’m head over heels for Celine. I’ve just booked to go to the Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition at the Tate Modern and I’m so excited as I think it will be really influential!”

 

London – 1 April 2014

Lululemon’s first UK store (Covent garden) opened in April, and for a week Cherica and I worked in the store for three hours a day as shadowing educators (everyone at Lulu has to work a number of store shifts whether you are a designer, IT technician or anything else!). We were also invited to the opening party. Lululemon'snew CEO, Laurent Potdevin, was there, plus the London ambassadors, Vancouver team, store staff, press and VIPs – it was amazing to be involved.

“My project was completed working from home (at my mother’s kitchen table which she kindly allowed me to take over for the duration!). I always start by drawing, painting or mark-making by hand, taking this as far as I can before scanning and manipulating.

To keep in touch with Vancouver, I would exchange emails with Cass a few times a week plus have a weekly Skype update conversation.”

 

 

Vancouver – 5 April 2014

The final week in Vancouver presenting our projects and a trend report of our London finds (plus doing some yoga and circuit classes of course!) – and thinking about what we’d learnt and achieved.

“I know I would have learnt so much more if I’d been able to work with the team every day, but even so the experience was amazing, and by taking me out of my comfort zone helped develop my design knowledge. Designing for the sports market is more complex than I realised - everything has to be technical, and functional, and appealing to the eye.

Prior to the internship I worked on a freelance project, designing the 2014 Specialized-LululemonWomen’s Professional Cycling Team kit using intricately drawn details, baroque and rococo shapes, pearls, jewels and florals in black and white. This was quick turnaround project, and challenging, as the prints all had to be engineered to fit the garment pieces. I’ve never had to think about a product in so much detail before – it was a great exercise in balancing hand craft and time management!”

Flo wearing the Team Specialized-Lululemon cycle kit she designed!

 

Future thoughts?“My dream is to collaborate with a fashion designer, even to learn to cut patterns myself so I can start my own fashion company where beautiful prints and garments would combine!

In conclusion, Flo says: “Texprint has been invaluable, I could not be more grateful. Through Texprint I exhibited and sold under my own name at Indigo; had my designs promoted by Surface View; interned in Italy; took part in the ComON creativity week, and was selected to visit the Mare di Moda show in Cannes – all experiences I would never have experienced so soon out of university without Texprint’s guidance and financial support. People still email me after viewing my online Texprint profile.

Winning one of the places on the Lululemon Texprint Award was amazing, it enabled me to travel to Canada and New York and learn so much more about the industry.  Plus I have learnt so much from the Lululemon team, building up wonderful relationships both in and out of the internship that I really hope will continue!”

Article tags: print (31), general (61), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), texprint 2013 (23), judges 2013 (13)

Liberty Art Fabrics internship marks Texprint’s first UK industry placement

28 April 2014 by Editor

Kirstie Carey, managing director, wholesale brands at Liberty, with alumna Ffion Griffith

With the aim of selecting and supporting emerging textile design talent, Texprint, in collaboration with long-standing sponsor Liberty Art Fabrics, has established its first industry internship in the UK, funded partly by Foundation Sponsor, The Drapers’ Company.

The first beneficiary is Texprint 2013 alumna Ffion Griffith, a graduate of Chelsea College of Art & Design.  The weave designer began her year long paid internship at the start of 2014 with the title of new product development assistant.  She is working on innovation for base cloths, undertaking extensive research as part of the Liberty Art Fabrics team.

Kirstie Carey, managing director, wholesale brands at Liberty, says of the internship: "I have always believed that innovation is the lifeblood of a successful business and sustained revenue growth. The investment in our innovation program at Liberty is a top priority. Bringing together the energy and fresh ideas of Ffion and the wisdom and experience of some established industry gurus, allows us to create the Liberty textiles and designs of the future. At the same time, providing an invaluable and supported introduction to the commercial world, for an outstanding young talent at the beginning of her career."

 

Carey continues: “Without doubt Ffion will bring ideas and opportunities to the table. With the enthusiasm and freshness of youth, she shares new ideas that are not influenced by years of experience or commercial practicality, challenging our processes and stimulating our production and technical teams. Hers is the 'can do...’ attitude that we nurture at Liberty. During the course of the graduate intern year I anticipate that Ffion will be involved in the development, commercialisation and global launch of three new products that will generate in excess of £1million in their launch year and significantly more in subsequent years.”

Fellow Texprint sponsor The Drapers’ Company, is a co-financial supporter of the new initiative.  Andrew Mellows, The Drapers’ Company head of charities, explains the impetus to get involved in the new programme:  “The Drapers’ Company is aware of the difficulties involved in finding work for graduating designers today.  We understand that internships are a very good way for emerging designers to get their foot in the door.  This particular Liberty Art Fabrics internship is a fantastic opportunity for one of these young designers to gain valuable experience within the textile industry.”

Heritage reconsidered for a modern audience is very much the theme that links The Drapers’ Company, Liberty Art Fabrics and Texprint.

To mark this connection, in mid-March 2014 designer Ffion Griffith and Tex chairman Barbara Kennington, were given a special tour of the Drapers’ Hall in the heart of the City of London in the company of Penny Fussel, senior achivist at The Drapers’ Company, and Jane Makower, court assistant.

Ffion Griffith (right) with Jane Makower

Founded over 600 years ago to buy and sell woolen cloth in Europe, the Drapers’ Company is incorporated by Royal Charter and is one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies.  Around the late 1800s The Drapers’ Company became a charity and manager of investments, primarily in land and property.

The reception and dining rooms of the Drapers’ Hall boast a wealth of decorative pieces, including many fabrics, tapestries, wallpapers, carvings and carpets specially commissioned from renowned manufacturers past and present such as Crace & Sons, Richard Humphries Weavers, Aubusson, and Morris & Co.

The Drapers' Hall, City of London

“The Drapers’ strong belief in heritage and traditions feeds into our activities across all the sectors,” says Jane Makower, “including textiles; our internal textile working party was established to initiate pilots of textile-related schemes, in the main focused on encouraging young people to develop creative and hands-on skills in the workplace.”

Liberty is similarly grounded by its heritage and story. Ffion Griffith’s first project with Liberty Art Fabrics was to research and develop new base cloths for the internationally renowned Liberty print collections. In at the deep end, Ffion already feels she has learnt so much, visiting Premiere Vision and Texworld in February, and exploring the amazing Liberty archive resource.

She is now working with new head of design Tessa Birch on the brief for spring/summer 2016, and also with Emma Mawston who heads up the new Home Textiles division, developing designs for throws, blankets and cushions.

By working with Liberty Art Fabrics for 12 months Ffion will be fully immersed in the whole seasonal cycle, tracking the creative process from research and exhibition visits, to sketch and print development, to production and presentations to buyers – an extraordinary insight, and a great advantage when it comes to the next steps in her career development.

“The Texprint programme has been a huge help in guiding me at the very start of my career and developing my commercial understanding,” says Ffion, “ had it not been for Texprint, I would not be in the position I’m in today.”

We look forward to catching up with Ffion following her next 9 months at Liberty Art Fabrics.

One of Ffion's sketchbooks, photo taken at Texprint London event 2013

Article tags: general (61), business (54), champions of texprint (45), texprint 2013 (23)

Texprint starts the year on a high: new prize collaboration with print innovator Miroglio Textile

14 February 2014 by Editor

With the aim of selecting and supporting emerging textile design talent, Texprint has developed a new opportunity with a key industry partner to help the best British-trained graduates reach their potential.

New Miroglio Texprint Award to further print innovation

Digital print specialist Miroglio Textile (MT) joins with Texprint as a Major Sponsor of the charity to found a new internship prize initiated by Elena Miroglio, vice president of the Miroglio Group, and commercial director Chiaretto Calo.

“Sponsoring the Texprint project takes on a great significance for us in terms of supporting the creative arts. Over the years Miroglio Textile has backed creative talent through a series of ventures. We believe in education and we are on a constant quest of finding new creative processes to bring to the company,” explains Elena Miroglio.

The winner of the internship will be chosen from among Texprint’s 2014 selected designers and, as well as a cash prize, will have the opportunity to go to the company’s headquarters in Piedmont, Italy, and develop his or her work in mass production; present his or her designs to MT’s customers and gain experience and exposure to the marketplace. Miroglio continues: “With the Texprint project we want to enhance even further our vision about product creation. We want our products to be original, to tell stories and to be able to reach our customers’ hearts. And to achieve this important goal we give the designers the chance to work with the latest digital technology where MT is a leader.”

Miroglio Textile is a long-time supporter of Texprint. And the company’s senior print designer Louise Somers took part in the programme in 2008. “There is something about the taste and a definite point of difference with UK-trained designers,” says Somers. “Texprint’s meticulous selection process determines the best and most creative emerging designers ready to enter industry. The work speaks for itself; it’s of a really high standard.”

"The new award from Miroglio represents an exciting development for the Texprint programme. After the selection and mentoring of the talented young graduates through Texprint, for them to have the opportunity for direct experience with industry is an invaluable asset that contributes enormously to their career prospects, and could even be seen as completing the vital design education process. It is particularly gratifying that one of our existing and long-term supporters, Miroglio, has the vision to take this step and increase its involvement with Texprint in this positive way."

Article tags: print (31), general (61), champions of texprint (45), indigo paris (13), texprint 2014 (17)

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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