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Introducing Texprint 2017 prize presenter: Yuma Koshino, designer

13 September 2017 by Roger Tredre

Renowned Japanese fashion designer Yuma Koshino is to present the Texprint Awards in Paris on September 20. This is a very special moment for Texprint, not least because Koshino is the first designer from Asia invited to present the awards.

Over the years, the roll call of presenters has included many celebrated names in the international fashion industry, including most recently Martin Leuthold of Jakob Schlaepfer (2016), Rosita Missoni (2015) and Nino Cerruti (2014). This year, the award ceremony is boosted by the inclusion once again of the Woolmark Company Texprint Award as well as the addition of the new Marks & Spencer Texprint Fashion Textile Award.

Yuma Koshino has brought a creative eye to fashion design for many years, combining Japanese aesthetics with a Western sensibility to produce clothes that are both eminently wearable and fashion-forward.

Yuma Koshino - versatile creative force

She studied at Bunka Fashion College, then moved to London in 1992 to work as an assistant designer at Michiko Koshino London, the label founded by her aunt. Back in Tokyo, she launched her own label in 1998 and has built a formidable reputation over two decades.

Design runs through the genes of her entire family. Besides being the niece of designers Michiko and Junko Koshino, she is the daughter of Hiroko Koshino, a fashion designer of legendary status for more than 60 years who has brilliantly explored traditional Japanese values and concepts within a modern, Western framework – she was the first Japanese designer to show at Alta Moda, Rome, back in 1978, and showed in Paris for ten years until 1992. Yuma’s grandmother, Ayako, was also a designer.

Yuma Koshino - Autumn Winter 2017

Like her mother (who has also built a parallel career as an artist), Yuma Koshino is a versatile creative force, designing costumes for Japanese stage and screen as well as for pop stars. She’s also designed corporate wear for everyone from airline pilots to taxi drivers.

 “I am very pleased to applaud the young talents coming from the UK colleges and universities,” Yuma Koshino told Texprint ahead of her trip to Paris.

She added: “Première Vision Designs is a wonderful opportunity to bring them to the attention of the industry and the fashion world, which needs to invest in new fresher talents and ideas. I encourage all 24 designers to keep their curiosity, enthusiasm and passion – and to transform these into wonderful careers.”

In Paris, four textile design graduates will be awarded prizes for Colour, Pattern, Fashion and Interiors. These Texprint Awards highlight the exceptional textile design, techniques and innovation skills developed at UK colleges and universities. The winners often go on to enjoy successful careers in the industry.

The short lists for this year’s four Texprint awards are as follows: Pattern – Sophie Harrison, Angelica Chrysanthou; Colour – Roberta Fox, Sarah Maybank, Rosie Moorman; Interiors – Julia Liddell, Hayley McCrirrick, Lucy Day; Fashion – Charlotte Des’Ascoyne, Kate Connell, Olivia Qi.

Yuma Koshino - the final check...

New Award: The Marks & Spencer Texprint Fashion Textile Award

07 September 2017 by Roger Tredre

Inspiration board for M&S Autumn Winter 2017 ranges

Iconic British retailer Marks & Spencer has sponsored a new award for Texprint this year. We spoke to Libby Allan, Trend Lead, Womenswear & Lingerie, to find out more.

Fashion – in particular women’s fashion – is changing fast. The boundaries that used to clearly define categories are blurring. Designers need to be more versatile, creating ultra-flexible collections of clothes that might play a role at work, in the gym, and forthe special occasion.

Retailers such as Britain’s Marks & Spencer are responding to these challenges by reinforcing their design credentials. The energy and enthusiasm of fresh young talent is an important part of the mix – hence the new Marks & Spencer Texprint Fashion Textile Award.

In fact, Marks & Spencer has had a long relationship with Texprint as a long-term supporter and foundation sponsor. The new Award is like the icing on the cake. Libby Allan, Trend Lead, Womenswear & Lingerie, at Marks & Spencer, explains: “We’re really excited about the Award. It allows us to deepen our relationship with Texprint and establish a relationship with a young designer that we will hope will evolve beyond the Award itself.”

Libby Allan

Allan has drawn up a shortlist for the Award, which will be announced at Première Vision Designs in Paris on September 20. Relevant heads of design at M&S were consulted and participated in the selection process. The three Texprint names on the shortlist are Olivia Qi, Lucy Day and Roberta Fox.The winner will receive £1,000 and a paid three-month internship with the M&S print design team.

Allan saw the Texprint designers for the first time in London back in July. “There was so much great work. The variety was impressive, and so was the confidence of the designers. These days it’s not just about the work but also how the work is presented. When you’re in the industry you have so many people to convince – an ability to present your work effectively becomes really important. Textiles is such a good grounding for a designer because you learn all about texture and colour usage.”

Allan herself studied an interesting hybrid of textiles and fashion design management at the Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels (now the Heriot-Watt School of Textiles & Design). The mix set her up perfectly for her career.

She grew up in Edinburgh and was taught to sew by her mother, learning about design by experimentation. “We would buy patterns, adapt them and make clothes. I even made my dress for my high school prom.”

Allan worked for several years for a trend consultancy in London before joining M&S in 2007, “My current role is Trend Lead for all womenswear and lingerie. At the beginning of this year we created a centralised team to bring it all together. The role is about research and communication – it’s the start point of the design process.”

Inspiration is everywhere, she notes. “There’s so much inspiration around these days – everyone has access to it – but it takes more skill to cut through it all, to absorb and identify what’s important. It’s what you do with the inspiration that counts.”

Marks & Spencer has the status of a national institution in the UK, its every initiative scrutinised. This autumn, the design team are highlighting a season very much inspired by textiles – with modern interpretations of heritage cloths and decoration, and full of the rich tactility of soft knits and lustrous, fluid velvets. The retailer has its fingers crossed for a positive reaction from media and customers alike.

It’s an exciting time to work at M&S – and just as exciting for one Texprint designer who will become the first winner of the M&S Texprint Fashion Textile Award on September 20.

Inspiration board for M&S Autumn Winter 2017 ranges

Sarti, Jeffrey to Judge The Woolmark Company Texprint Award

27 August 2017 by Roger Tredre

Charles Jeffrey

Two major names from different but complementary backgrounds are judging this year’s The Woolmark Company Texprint Award in Paris.

From Italy, Texprint is honoured to welcome Roberto Sarti of historic Italian textile house Lanificio Faliero Sarti. The company, founded in 1949, has boosted and tracked the rise to prominence of the Italian textile and fashion history through the second half of the 20th century and up to the present day.

Roberto Sarti

From Britain, the judging panel is joined by rising Scottish design star Charles Jeffrey. Although he graduated from MA Fashion at Central Saint Martins as recently as 2015, the designer, illustrator and all-round creative has already made an international impact both with his own Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY collection and with his many collaborations.

Charles Jeffrey said of the judging, ”I am so excited to be judging the Texprint award. It's a great opportunity to see all the fantastic work from different talents and how they have interacted with wool. Wool is such a versatile material, I really think it can become anything you dream of and so I can't wait to see what beautiful madness they come up with!”

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. Those eligible for this Texprint award must incorporate a minimum of 60% of Merino wool into their textiles, and demonstrate a good understanding of its qualities and potential application in fabric.

The Woolmark Company Texprint Award is judged and presented at Premiere Vision Designs. This year’s announcement will be made on September 20 in Paris.

The judges will meet the 2017 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.

Texprint has worked with The Woolmark Company for much of its 40-year existence, benefiting from a true synergy of interests. TWC is a subsidiary of Australian Wool Innovation Limited, a not-for-profit enterprise that conducts research, development and marketing along the worldwide supply chain for Australian wool on behalf of about 55,000 woolgrowers that help fund the company.

The Woolmark Company continues to build and maintain its partnership with Texprint, acknowledging the importance of education and opportunities for students and young designers.

“The Woolmark Company has long been a proud supporter of Texprint,” notes Julie Davies, General Manager, Processing Innovation & Education Extension. “The award provides a unique opportunity for emerging textile designers to engage with industry leaders and gain valuable, practical experience in the field of textile design.”

She adds: “As a firm believer of education and fostering the development of future design talent, The Woolmark Company is pleased to once again support this important award scheme and invest in the future of the textile industry, while highlighting the innovative nature of Merino wool. We are excited to see what this year’s entrants submit.”

This year’s judges have both worked at the forefront of creativity, with Roberto Sarti well known as a leading name in the Italian textile industry (he presented the first Texprint Awards at Premiere vision in 1996). Lanificio Faliero Sarti, located in Campi Bisenziobetween Florence and Prato, has collaborated with many pioneering designers in both haute couture and ready-to-wear over the years. Founder Faliero Sarti (Roberto’s father) evolved new manufacturing techniques for knitted and jersey fabrics, building relationships with names ranging from Giorgio Armani to Donna Karan. Roberto joined the company in 1962 and led it into the modern era after the death of his father in 1985.

Roberto Sarti is looking forward to Paris. “We have been collaborating with Woolmark with the aim to propose always new wool products. We are happy to be part of the judging team as Woolmark is doing a great job trying to discover and help new talent and designers.”

Texprint Council: new member Carlo Volpi

16 July 2017 by Roger Tredre

Texprint alumnus Carlo Volpi, the Italian knitwear designer, has joined the Texprint Council which meets twice yearly to monitor and review how the charity is performing against its aims and objectives. We talked to him about his career and memories of Texprint.

Every year Texprint invites one alumnus to present his work at the entrance to the Texprint London event. For 2017 – a year when Texprint designs have been full of creative, contemporary use of colour – there could have been no better choice than Carlo Volpi.

The Italian designer, who was a Texprint designer himself in 2012, loves vibrant clashes of colour, not to mention stitches and textures. There is a joyous, celebratory, yet subversive element to his work. Fashion needs more designers like Volpi: upbeat, exuberant, happy. Barbara Kennington, honorary chairman of Texprint, says: “Carlo is such an original talent. We’re delighted he brings his energy and passion to the Texprint Council.”

Vogue Italia raved about Volpi’s Autumn/Winter 17/18 collection, calling it “totally wild – a concentrate of youthful enthusiasm.” Volpi himself has breathed in the irreverent energy of London and turned it into something special. “My point of reference is irreverence. I am interested in the parameters we use to define what we consider attractive or ugly.”

                              Carlo Volpi - Autumn/Winter 2017-18 | Pitti Immagine Uomo

That is also expressed in his mix-it-up approach to construction, thinking nothing of combining traditional cable knit with heat-sealed polyurethane. For Volpi, rules are there to be broken.

                               Carlo Volpi Knitwear - Domestic Queen Collection, film by Josie Phillips

While Volpi has taken his own route, he advises young designers to think carefully before they start up alone. “It’s a million times harder. You have to be completely dedicated because you will be tested. There’s a view among some young designers in Britain that going it alone is like being a bohemian artist. The Italians are more workmanlike about it – they appreciate the importance of sales and marketing and business.”

Volpi has had brilliant press coverage, but he warns: “It’s great to get your name out there, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into sales. It’s important not to forget that and to focus on building a business.”

Texprint back in 2012 was a whirlwind of networking for Volpi. “It was such a great experience. I was just out of college and Texprint kept me motivated. It helped me make contacts and meet people. And all the Texprint team were so nice and helpful.”

In an interview after leaving the Royal College of Art, he explained the pleasure of knitting: "I've always thought knitting is a magic process, a bit like alchemy, where you can create these amazing garments with one strand of yarn and a pair of sticks. Anybody who loves knit will tell you this discipline is very addictive – it occupies my thoughts all the time.”

Volpi was perhaps destined for a career in knitwear. He grew up near Florence surrounded by cones of yarn and knitting machines – his grandmothers both worked for a small knit factory. He initially studied textiles for a BA at Goldsmiths, University of London, then returned to education a few years later at the RCA.

Besides building his own label, he continues to collaborate with a number of leading brands, and is a consultant for the Research Area at Pitti Filati. An important milestone in his career came last year when Volpi won first prize in the prestigious Who Is On Next? Uomo competition, promoted by Vogue Italia and Pitti Immagine. The judges highlighted his “marked technical and innovative skill combined with a brilliant interpretation of Italian manufacturing traditions in a unique knitwear project with an international look.”

A succinct summary of Volpi’s talent – and the reason why he’s a true inspiration for the new generation of Texprint designers.


Texprint 2017: Notebook from London

09 July 2017 by Roger Tredre

The story of Texprint London 2017: we gathered reflections from designers, judges and industry guests at Chelsea College of Arts.

London was at its best. The sun was shining, Wimbledon was underway, and a new generation of designers were showing their work at Texprint’s London preview (July 5–6) at Chelsea College of Arts.

It took 20 minutes for one of that new generation, Maddie Whalley, a graduate from Leeds College of Art, to see her career begin. A leading fashion retail brand placed an order before 9am on the first day – quite possibly a record.

Busy start to Texprint London

These two days in the first week of July are when the cream of UK-educated design talent exhibit their work to the textile industry, including recruiters and talent spotters.

Many of the young designers were informed that they had been selected for Texprint while attending the New Designers show with their universities in London in June. When Texprint Creative Director Peter Ring-Lefevre phoned them with the good news, the event had erupted with excitement. “I was totally gobsmacked,” said Nicola Rowe, who studied Textiles & Surface Design at Cleveland College of Art & Design. “All my tutors and friends were there – what a moment!”

Loughborough University has had particular reason to celebrate this year with an unprecedented four graduate designers selected for Texprint: Angelica Chrysanthou, Rosie Moorman,  Sophie Harrison and Eve Gibson. And the first three of the quartet have been shortlisted for Texprint awards to be announced in September. Among this galaxy of Loughborough talent, Sophie Harrison’s textiles for automotive interiors have attracted plenty of attention, not least because they highlight the sheer diversity of work on display at Texprint.

Judge Elsa May, Product Manager Fashion of Première Vision, with designer Lucy Day

The substantial preparatory work behind Texprint is often overlooked. Nearly 200 young designers, all graduating from BA and MA textiles and textiles-related courses the length and breadth of the UK, were interviewed through June. Then Ring-Lefevre and his colleagues whittled down the list to just 24 names, who are sponsored to show at the Texprint Preview in Chelsea and at Première Vision Designs in Paris in September.

The day before the London previews, a panel of judges gathered to select the Texprint award winners from the 24 names on display. The awards cover four categories – Fashion, Interiors, Colour and Pattern – with the winners announced in Paris on September 19.

Texprint was delighted to welcome among this year’s judges the new design director of Amazon, Karen Peacock (previously head of design for womenswear at Marks & Spencer). Peacock said: “I’m thrilled to see the new generation of designers – so much imagination and creative energy.”

Judge Karen Peacock, Design Director Amazon Fashion, reviews work

Also judging were Elsa May, Product Manager Fashion of Première Vision; veteran industry consultant Eric Musgrave; and interior designer Guy Goodfellow and his creative director Jaine McCormack. And gatecrashing the judging process was Musgrave’s whippet Betsey, a true connoisseur of textile talent (or so her owner claimed).

Judges Jaine McCormack and Guy Goodfellow

Peter Ring-Lefevre, now in his 15th year as Creative Director of Texprint, noted a strong display of contemporary colour from this year’s designers, and a genderless aspect with fabrics working for both menswear and womenswear. He also identified an impressive contribution from woven designers as well as big-scale prints and textiles created for the luxe sports fashion, inspired by product and auto design.

Visitors were full of enthusiasm for the sparkling work on display. Catherine Scorey, Womenswear Director of Ted Baker, said the work was “really inspiring with very high standards and very diverse.” Sophie Chappell, Global Head of Product Development at Atelier Swarovski, agreed: “I think the talent is absolutely amazing – I’m blown away by these youngsters.”

Designer Abigail Barnes shows her work to Sophie Chappell, Global Head of Product Development at Atelier Swarovski

Dominic Lowe, a long-term sponsor of Texprint through the Sanderson Art in Industry Trust, added: “The breadth of creativity and innovation in textiles is so impressive. This year the work has been particularly strong on colour. And it’s good to see how articulate and confident the designers are.”

Dominic Lowe (Sanderson Art in Industry Trust) looks at the work of designer Louise Williams

Industry experts noted that some of the most promising work was not in the display, but tucked away in a secondary presentation room. Texprint judges advised designers to reconsider the full potential of their work in preparation for the trip to Paris this September.

The importance of social media for marketing was another prominent theme this year, highlighted by the presence of a Texprint social media team at the event. Gill Gledhill, founder of communication and marketing agency GGHQ, commented: “Social media is vitally important in the way it provides instant access to potential new markets.”

The Texprint designers were also briefed on the business aspects of setting up a business and selling their work. Now  they have just a couple of months to prepare for their next big moment in the spotlight. Paris, here they come!

* The short-listed designers for this year’s four Texprint awards are: Fashion – Kate Connell, Charlotte Des’Ascoyne, Olivia Qi; Interiors – Lucy Day, Julia Liddell, Hayley McCrirrick; Colour – Roberta Fox, Sarah Maybank, Rosie Moorman; Pattern – Angelica Chrysanthou, Sophie Harrison, Helen Loft.

Short listed designers with judges: from left - Sarah Maybank, Julia Lidell, Helen Loft, Olivia Qi, Charlotte Des'Ascoyne, Jaine McCormack (judge), Guy Goodfellow (judge), Elsa May (judge), Eric Musgrave (judge), Karen Peacock (judge), Angelica Chrysanthou, Sophie Harrison, Kate Connell, Lucy Day, Rosie Moorman, Hayley McCrirrick, Roberta Fox

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