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Jessica Leclere wins Woolmark Company Texprint Award 2015

24 September 2015 by Roger Tredre

Winner Jessica Leclere shows her work to Franco Fabrello and Kit Neale

Texprint's long links with The Woolmark Company are celebrated each year with the award of a prize in Paris at Première Vision Designs.

The judging for the Woolmark Company Texprint Award takes place right at the heart of things – at Première Vision Designs itself (September 15–17). And the judges were immediately impressed by Jessica Leclere's intricate handmade work.

Working with a focused, understated colour palette, the Anglo-French designer, who studied at Chelsea College of Arts and the Royal College of Art, explores structure and shape with exceptional imagination, also developing her knitted textiles into garments to show off their qualities. Both Emily Grieves and Gilles Werbrouck were highly commended.

The judges reviewing the work of designer Stephanie Rolph

This year's two judges were Franco Fabrello, head of design at Italian textile giant Marzotto, together with UK fashion designer Kit Neale. “Jessica has developed her craftsmanship and technique into something contemporary and distinct,” noted Fabrello.

Texprint designers eligible for the 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.

Leclere said: “I like to use Merino wool because of the way that it falls and because of its luxurious feel. Winning The Woolmark Company Texprint prize means that I will be able to investigate manufacturing and it will be invaluable in sourcing wonderful yarn.”

Jessica Leclere with Franco Fabrello, Rosita Missoni (prize presenter) and Kit Neale

Designer and judge Kit Neale, who launched his own label in 2011, enjoyed exploring all the work: “The overall standard is very high. Each designer has their own unique style and individual approach, which is really impressive and a great expression of Britain’s design graduates' creativity and artistry.”

Franco Fabrello commented on the high level of technical and creative ability demonstrated by all the Texprint designers. “I really liked the combination of the modern and the artisanal. These young designers are showing strong colour sense, technique and experimentation while recognising the reality of the commercial world.”

Round table discussion to select the winner

Rob Langtry, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at The Woolmark Company, was delighted with the choice of winner and emphasised the importance of Texprint's work. “Texprint has been and remains one of the key programmes we support. It is critical to the future of fashion – and textile designers are the key to matching emerging consumer demands to products that can meet those aesthetics.”

Judges review the work of designer Emily Grieves

Judges review the work of designer Áine Byrne

Judges review the work of designer Alex Pengelly

Texprint 2015 Paris: Première Vision Designs

18 September 2015 by Roger Tredre

Prize presenter Rosita Missoni with Texprint creative director, Peter Ring-Lefevre

The participation of all the Texprint designers in Première Vision Designs in Paris is the climax of the Texprint year. Here’s what happened.

It’s the ultimate challenge – the first response of international buyers to Texprint’s young design talent. Every September, all 24 textile designers selected for Texprint put their work in front of the global market at Première Vision Designs (previously known as Indigo).

Texprint 2015 designers with prize presenter Rosita Missoni

The three days in Paris (September 15–17) represent one giant learning experience – and this year the verdict from the industry was one giant thumbs-up. As many as 16 of the 24 designers had taken orders by the close of day one, a record-breaking number, reflecting the quality on offer.

Designers such as Jessica Leclere, who plays with structure and shape inspired by Art Deco and Russian Constructivism to suggest new directions for knitwear. She scooped two awards in Paris: the Texprint Woolmark Company Award and the Texprint Fashion Award.

Gilles Lasborde, managing director of Première Vision Design, talks of the important link between PV and Texprint

Leclere, who studied at Chelsea College of Arts and the Royal College of Art, said she had found the experience of exhibiting at PV Designs occasionally stressful but appreciated sharing it with 23 other designers. “It’s been nice to be with people in the same boat, to have the same worries – it’s reassuring to know that others feel the same way.”

Designer Shivani Chavda shows her collection to buyers

Or take Jayne Goulding, who worked for five years at retailer Marks & Spencer in lingerie design, but is now setting up on her own following completion of an MA at Bath School of Art & Design. By early on the second morning, her stand was looking somewhat bare: “I sold so much on day one – there’s not much left! I can’t believe it. I was so excited I couldn’t sleep.”

The days in Paris start for the designers at 6am running through until 7pm. Supported by Texprint’s specialist team, they have to be ready to talk brilliantly about their work to visitors and conclude business deals on the spot. Print designer Jessica Pickard said: “It is a long day, but really exciting. I did a few sales over the summer so I wasn’t too worried about the invoicing process. The buyers like my big motifs – the large-scale statement pieces with a hand-drawn aspect.”

Texprint Creative Director Peter Ring-Lefevre said: “Many of the designers have outstanding fine art and drawing skills but also know how to translate them onto computer. Their work stands out from the purely digital printed designs – and the industry at large is looking for this.”

Truly inventive digital work can also make an impact, such as Ciaran Moore’s brilliant fluid print collection and Amy Bennett’s quirky hyper-real prints.

Designer Ciaran Moore shows his collection to buyers

Also among the award winners this year was print designer Emma McCluskey, who won the Texprint Colour Award (sponsored by Mode Information) for her delightful prints inspired by Scottish botanical gardens. She studied Textile Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.

Mixed media designer Joanna Robins, who graduated from University of West of England (UWE) Bristol this year, won the Texprint Pattern Award, while The Texprint Interiors Award went to Icelandic weave designer Anja Alexandersdottir, a graduate from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

This year’s judges, who made their choices back in July at Texprint London, were British couturier Nicholas Oakwell; Ariane Bigot, associate fashion director for Première Vision; Sarah Lowry, colour & materials designer at Aston Martin Lagonda; and Julie Hall, head of design, Bedeck. The winner of a special new award from Bedeck is expected to be announced shortly.

Prize winners Emma McCluskey, Anja Alexandersdottir, Jessica Leclere and Joanna Robins, with Rosita Missoni

As Première Vision Designs drew to a close, Joanna Bowring, Sponsorship Director of Texprint, noted the strength across the disciplines. “This year there were six designers each in print, knit, weave and mixed media, compared with the last three years that have been dominated by print. Knit was strong this year, with weave also coming up, reflecting a focus on texture.”

The Texprint prizes were presented by the legendary Rosita Missoni, who founded Missoni in the 1950s with her husband Ottavio. Missoni, now in her eighties, had powerful, moving words of encouragement for the young designers, recalling how she progressed from Gallarate, an unassuming industrial town near Milan, to being feted by American Vogue in New York. “I’m so impressed by your work,” she told the designers. “Believe in yourselves,” she said. “And meet the right people!”

Rosita Missoni encourages the designers on their next career steps

Now that PV is over, two of the designers repeat the experience at the major Asian show, Intertextile Shanghai (October 13–15). Seven of the designers are preparing for extended internships in Como, continuing Texprint’s long-running connections with the finest Italian mills. And some are starting new jobs, including knitwear designer Alex Pengelly, who has landed a job with Nike in the US giant’s London studio following a meeting at Texprint London back in July. “I’m very interested in pushing knitwear forward and challenging preconceived notions about it,” she said.

That philosophy of challenging preconceived notions runs through much of the best work on offer from Texprint 2015. A vintage generation, on the cusp of making their mark on the textile industry.

Designer Jessica Pickard shows her collection to buyers

Introducing Texprint 2015 prize presenter: Rosita Missoni

11 September 2015 by Roger Tredre

The legendary Rosita Missoni, who founded Missoni with her late husband Ottavio more than 50 years ago, is presenting the Texprint prizes at Premre Vision Designs in Paris.

She's in her eighties now, but Rosita Missoni is the kind of woman who likes to keep busy. Which is great news for Texprint – we are honoured indeed that she has agreed to present the prizes at Première Vision Designs on September 16.


Rosita and her husband Ottavio (known as Tai) set up Missoni back in 1953 in her hometown of Gallarate near Milan. Tai, a 1948 Olympics athlete, already had a business making knitted sportswear, while her family was in the homewares and textiles business. They focused on knitwear, beginning with one machine that could only do stripes. The addition of Raschel machines that made a zigzag set them on the path to their distinctive space-dyed zigzags, first shown in Florence in 1969.

The Missoni business was part of a new wave of Italian design that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, putting ‘Made in Italy’ on the global fashion map. In terms of colour and pattern particularly, Missoni has made a huge impact on the modern fashion landscape.

Family is all-important to the Missonis. In 1997 Rosita handed over the fashion side of the business to her daughter Angela. In the years that followed, she found stepping back did not keep her busy, so she turned her energies to Missoni Home, which has grown fast in recent years, even developing lifestyle hotels.


Rosita Missoni says her interest in design has been lifelong: “I realised I had a knack for interior design when I was a child. My favourite game was to create a house or living room in the heath forest of my village, Golasecca.”

With her family’s textile factory to explore, Rosita was enthralled. "For a girl who loves getting dressed up, to have colour and prints all around was heaven. It was my playground. I was allowed to dig in the wastebaskets and go home with bits and pieces. They made me wonder and dream."

Developing the next generation of designers is close to her heart. The new generation of Missonis is certainly well involved in the business: since 2010, granddaughter Margherita has been accessories director and designer of the Missoni Mare collection. Rosita’s great-grandchildren are still a bit young to enter the business.

The year 2013 was exceptionally tough for the family, with the tragic death of Rosita’s son Vittorio in a plane crash, followed by the death of Tai at the age of 92. Two years on, however, the family has felt the time is right to celebrate its long heritage with an exhibition, Missoni, L’Arte, Il Colore, at the Museo Maga in Gallarate, near Milan (open until November 15) and an accompanying book by Rizzoli. The exhibition explores Rosita and Tai’s early inspirations and influences in creating Missoni’s vibrant mosaics of zigzags and stripes.

And so, at a moment when the fashion world is celebrating the enduring qualities of Missoni, it is appropriate that Rosita Missoni is joining Texprint in Paris to congratulate a new generation of textile designers.

Above, images from Not Just Bikinis – the title Vogue Italia gave this loose knit look, and one of the most photographed Missoni looks from 1974. Previously shown at the Whitney in New York and the Rotonda della Besana in Milan, it can once again be seen at the Missoni, L’Arte, Il Colore show.


Texprint alumnus story: William Stone, menswear designer

07 September 2015 by Roger Tredre

Young British menswear designer William Stone is attracting increasing interest at London Collections Men, both for his innovative luxury tailoring and his textiles. We spoke to him about his career and memories as a Texprint alumnus.

What are you working on right now?

Like any young designer, I have to multi-task and juggle the job between designing and running the business. Currently, I am researching and gathering ideas for my mood board for my AW16 collection, which I will show during London Collections Men in January. I also work on bespoke orders which diversify what my brand can offer – and I thoroughly enjoy it.

Your SS16 collection was much admired. Tell us about the palm tree print.

I have always been fascinated with the Victorian era as it was a period of great significance for engineering, design and science. This was my inspiration for my SS16 collection and when researching the textiles of this period I found this vintage palm tree print, which I loved. To create the denim jacket and shorts, I reworked the original to fit my pattern and had it digitally printed. 

Tell us about your use of British textiles and how you work with the mills.

For my tailoring, I use a fantastic British mill based in Huddersfield that specialises in wools and linen. One of the main aspects of my brand is to ensure the quality of fabric is a key selling point – one I do not want to compromise over.

How did Texprint help your career?

As I was graduating from my Masters [at Royal College of Art], Texprint exposed me to the business of printed textiles, which gave me a great understanding of the market needs and demands.  Whilst presenting my MA collection at Premiere Vision, a design studio approached me to work freelance for them, so essentially Texprint lead me to my first job in the textile industry. Being part of Texprint also allowed me to meet and engage with established designers and industry influencers, gaining invaluable advice.   

Explain how your career evolved after Texprint.

As a result of Texprint, I worked freelance for various brands as a print designer but simultaneously I was already exploring ideas for my own namesake label. In order to gain more technical skills in garment making, I studied Bespoke Tailoring at Newham College with Savile Row. This laid the foundation for the DNA of my brand.  I am now into my fourth collection with two solo presentations.

How did you first become interested in textiles?

Before I started my art and design foundation course at Middlesex I didn’t know what I wanted to do – only that I wanted to design. Then one of my tutors at the time suggested I try printed textiles. It took me a few months to get into it as I thought my friends might laugh at me for choosing a ‘feminine’ subject. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with it though – and the reality of it was my friends all thought it was amazing.

Explain the switch to focus on menswear.

I have always had an interest in menswear and have always known that I was inevitably designing for the male form so it was an organic choice.

You’ve shown at LCM twice now. How has that experience been?

Exciting. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to show during such a key moment in men’s fashion. It was the first time that I had to think outside of just the clothes and textiles and to also think about venue, stage, viewing experience and models. I have been extremely fortunate to have the support of The Complex, which support up-and-coming designers with the organisation that comes with producing a show. 

Besides your design work, what else are you interested in?

Naturally, I like spending time in creative environments such as museums and exhibitions but on the weekends, I spend time with my family and our dog, Sunny, or going to the gym. However, currently I am spending my spare waking hours watching The Game Of Thrones!

WGSN report: Texprint 2015 Designers

30 July 2015 by Editor

WGSN is a foundation sponsor of Texprint and believes strongly in the value and importance of supporting emerging creative talent. Its comprehensive report, reproduced below, was written and created by Zana Ajvazi, a Texprint alumna from 2014, who joined WGSN as an intern working with their Colour, Materials & Textiles team, and is now a full-time member of staff.  The report highlights four disciplines - WEAVE, MIXED MEDIA, PRINT and KNIT.

Zana attended Texprint London, the first showing of this year’s designers providing an opportunity for sponsors, press and industry guests to view and discuss individual projects ahead of the main Texprint presentation at Première Vision Designs, Paris, September 15-17.
































Our thanks to WGSN - wgsn.com

Texprint 2015: Notebook from London

06 July 2015 by Roger Tredre

2015 judge Sarah Lowry (Aston Martin Lagonda) reviews the work of designer Nicola Costello

Here’s the inside story of Texprint London 2015, from the interview process to show time at the annual exhibition.

Texprint’s London preview was staged during the hottest weather in Britain in many a long year – the sun was truly shining on Texprint 2015.

The 24 young talents chosen for Texprint every year are selected from designers graduating from textiles courses at UK universities and colleges. The methodical and rigorous interview process is time-consuming but hugely beneficial to the young designers, even those who don’t make the final cut. Amy Bairstow, from Bradford, who was one of the final 24, says: “The interview was so helpful, like a tutorial. I thought at the time that whatever happens, it’s been a blessing already.”

Interview panel: Tessa Birch (Liberty Arts Fabrics), Sandy MacLennan (East Central Studio), Joanna Bowring (Texprint), Peter Westcott (Westcott Studio), Peter Ring-Lefevre (Texprint) and interviewee

Texprint creative director Peter Ring-Lefevre and panels of industry professionals interview 200 designers, proposed by their colleges, over a period of four weeks. From the final 24 designers, a panel of distinguished judges selects the Texprint award winners in four categories: Fashion, Interiors, Colour, Pattern.  The shortlist was announced on June 30, but the winners are not revealed until Première Vision on September 16 (the Texprint designers exhibit at Première Vision Designs, the specialist design show formerly titled Indigo, that sits within the main PV and is a major sponsor of Texprint).

Sarah Lowry (Aston Martin Lagonda) with designer Anja Alexandersdottir

On the hot, humid last day of June, the judges meet at the Texprint London showcase held at Chelsea College of Arts to review the designers’ work. Watching them at work and then in discussion is fascinating. For each award category, the judges take it in turns to give their thoughts and highlight a few names. Sarah Lowry, colour & materials designer at Aston Martin Lagonda, starts off, confident and assured in her observations, with precisely observed comments that appreciate the degree of research and thought that has gone into the work on display.

Julie Hall (Bedeck) talks with designer Jessica Pickard

She’s followed by Julie Hall, head of design at Bedeck, which specialises in textiles for bedding and bathroom. Hall has a strong eye for colour and admires simple but sophisticated work. She also has a new special Bedeck award to consider.

Then, joining the judges from Paris, there’s the very experienced Ariane Bigot, associate fashion director of Pascaline Wilhelm, working directly with Première Vision. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of work on display at PV in previous years to draw on for reference and comparison.

Ariane Bigot (Première Vision) reviews the work of Alex Pengelly

And finally it is the turn of couturier Nicholas Oakwell – one of London’s most in-demand designers – always warm and generous in his judgements, looking debonair and elegant in suit and tie on even this sweltering day.

Nicholas Oakwell (Nicholas Oakwell Couture) talks with designer Bryony Bushe

The enthusiasm of the judges for the designers’ work is palpable. The complementary adjectives pile up: beautiful, powerful, intelligent, strong, sophisticated, outstanding, refined – even “extraordinaire”. A sketchbook full of “amazing” ideas is highlighted. A judge nips back to the Texprint stands to review again one of the designers. The afternoon seems to flash by; steadily, agreement is reached – with no raised voices or fisticuffs!

Peter Ring-Lefevre, creative director of Texprint, believes this year’s group of young designers is pleasingly well balanced. “Some years, print can tend to dominate, but there is slightly less print and mixed media for 2015. Knitwear, for example, is strong, and there is interesting embroidery.”

Ring-Lefevre has one slight concern about the impact of the internet and social media – are these new omnipresent influences affecting the creative process negatively? “It’s a big talking point. The concern is that there may be less free-spirited thinking when you are being constantly bombarded by the internet.”

24 Texprint 2015 designers with Texprint management team

The following day, July 1, is even warmer outside, but the Texprint exhibition space in Chelsea’s Triangle building, is pleasantly cool. The guest list for the early morning VIP breakfast is a Who’s Who of the textile industry.

Professor Jane Rapley, Honorary Trustee of Texprint Council, is an early arrival. “It’s really interesting talking to individual designers,” she says. “Some are very switched on and well informed, while some still need some additional guidance. That’s where Texprint plays such an essential role in preparing the designers for the switch from college.”

Andrea Ferrero, Alfredo Marengo and Louise Somers (all Miroglio) review the work of designer Emma McCluskey

A first-time visitor is Alfredo Marengo, commercial director of Italy’s Miroglio Textile. “It’s really interesting to see lots of talent. Not everyone is right for us, but we are focusing on two or three who have the skills and are already full of potential.”

Designer Stephanie Rolph talks with Andrew Croll and Marie Parsons (both Nike)

Influential print designer Sarah Campbell, who judged Texprint in 2014, says: “The designers are so articulate about their work. They’ve had such an opportunity to experiment – I’m feeling rather envious.”

Designer Ciaran Moore talks with Chiara Pozzi (Pozzi Como) and Federico Colombo (Penn Italia)

In many cases, the designers find out they’ve been selected for Texprint only days before the London show, so many of them are still adjusting to their success. Nicola Costello, a weaver from the University of Huddersfield, says: “I couldn’t stop shaking – I didn’t believe it.”

Sandy Verdon (Hobbs), centre, and team review work

The shaking is over. These designers have earned their place in the spotlight. And the show now moves on to Paris in September.

James Crockatt, Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Dyers, an important supporter of Texprint, puts the work of Texprint in context: “One of the constant conundrums is how to bridge the gap from any creative degree to the real world. At the end of the course, you have to earn a living.” And that’s exactly why Texprint exists.

Texprint 2015 designers: Anja Alexandersdottir, Amy Bairstow, Amy Bennett, Emma Brooks, Bryony Bushe, Áine Byrne, Shivani Chavda, Nicola Costello, Emily Grieves, Yasmin Hussain, Jessica Leclere, Emily Maddox, Emma McCluskey, Ciaran Moore, Ellie Pashley, Alex Pengelly, Jessica Pickard, Joanna Robins, Stephanie Rolph, Alice Selwood, Richard Szuman, Hanna Vinlöf Nylén, Rozanna Walecki, Gilles Werbrouck.

Stephanie Binoist (Première Vision) reviews work

Peter Westcott (Westcott Studio) talks with designer Emma McCluskey

Designer Shivani Chavda shows her work to Edwina Ehrman (V&A Museum)

Designer Emily Grieves shows her work to Lorenze Mosca (Ratti)

Katie Dominy (Arts Thread) talks with designer Alice Selwood

Alumna display: Emma Sewell (alumna 1990) of Wallace Sewell

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