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One year on: Israel Parra-Zanabria is making waves in Mexico City
17 December 2013 by Editor
One year on, we talk to Texprint 2012 alumnus Israel Parra who was born in Mexico, trained in Scotland, and is now making waves back in his hometown Mexico City.
Israel’s highly distinctive design work is inspired by diverse influences – from manmade objects to nature finds, from brutalist architecture to his recollection of flowers - always altering conventional notions of what will work for fashion or interiors.
Multilingual, passionate and a highly focused textile designer, he says: “My design practice is driven by the combination of traditional silkscreen techniques and digital printing processes to ensure innovation and uniqueness.”
Do you work from home or studio? What inspires you?
I work from both at home and at a studio that I have started to build up very close to my home in Mexico City. I find inspiration in Mexico’s vibrant lifestyle as I cycle around the city with my camera and sketchbooks always on hand to document and record new inspirations.
I have been always drawn to nature and work both from life as well as from photographs to capture as much information as possible. Hence, my work is fused and digitally hand crafted to obtain best results.
What have been the key challenges?
Working on my own means everything is a challenge! From researching and exploring the creative process to developing a new collection, to then finding contacts, places to exhibit and sales points. Then of course organising and managing my accounts, social networks, making connections with national and international manufacturers etc etc.
However, as I lived in the UK and Europe for nearly 5 years, the most challenging thing has been returning to Mexico City. The entire metropolis has changed so dramatically that at the beginning I found myself immersed in a city I no longer recognized; but gradually I’ve been invited to participate in a broad range of opportunities and design platforms that are now blooming in Mexico City and feel settled here again.
What new projects have you been working on?
I have made contact with Mexican fashion companies such as Pineda Covalin http://www.pinedacovalin.com/_eng/ - whose design signature highlights Mexican culture and folklore, and received very good feedback on my latest project This City after being exhibiting at Cultura Colectiva (I’m now establishing sales points in Mexico City and possibly in San Diego, which is great).
Also I’ve worked with Richard Ward’s furniture design studio Wawa and Anne Tyrrell’s design consultancy, both based in London.
Again in Mexico I have exhibited at Zona MACO, one of Latin America’s most important platforms for Contemporary Art and Design, and have taken part Mexican Design competition Quorum 2013.
How important is your website and social media activity?
Digital media is critical as it helps me present my work to people around the world. Via my website I have been contacted by studios and clients - I know that if I don’t post or give updates then I won’t receive feedback or contacts from future clients.
What are your plans for the future?
I am currently developing new skills, in particular, tailoring, as I want to learn more about using textiles on the human body, and I’m considering returning to the UK to take an MA degree in Fashion. With that in mind, I am starting to research for funding and scholarships as international tuition fees are so expensive!
In what ways was Texprint a help to you?
Texprint helped in so many different ways, helping me to see how I could develop my work, to evaluate myself and my ambitions, and, most importantly, to always challenge myself – and thanks to Texprint I exhibited at Indigo/Première Visionin Paris and made great contacts there which was invaluable.
Israel showing his work to buyers at Indigo, Paris, October 2012
What do you love most about what you're doing, and like least?
I am always amused by how an idea evolves and it is then transformed into a physical object - an idea transformed into a drawing, then into a design, then into fabric for a fashion or interiors collection, to finally be exhibited - to follow this entire process is very rewarding. I am sometimes disappointed with myself if I make mistakes or miss details, however after each project is finished I find those mistakes have been key learning points for self-development, so I always look forward!
Below: cushions from Israel's Audubon Collection developed for a private client in Mexico City.
Texprint Paris special prize presenter 2013: Maurizio Galante
09 September 2013 by
Maurizio Galante Haute Couture celebrates a body of work that covers over 25 years of the Paris-based Italian couturier’s career.
The Texprint team are extremely excited to welcome Maurizio as this year’s Texprint Award prize presenter, where on the 18 September 2013 at 3.30pm, he will bepresenting the Texprint Awards for Body, Colour, Pattern and Space as well as the Woolmark Texprint Award to the winning Texprint designers at Indigo, Première Vision Pluriel.
Haute Couture collection 2013; Maurizio Galante
The Italian-born, Paris-based couturier originally studied architecture at Rome university and fashion at the Accademia di Costume e Moda in Romebefore pursuing a career in fashion. Using his in-depth architectural knowledge to create beautiful sculptural garments, favoured by international clients such as Zaha Hadid, Maurizio presented his first ready-to-wear collection in 1986. In 1992 Maurizio was invited to join the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture under his own label and 16 years later Maurizio, aged 30, became the youngest permanent member ever of the highly prestigious organisation. In 2009 he was appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Letters by the French Minister of Culture in recognition of his contribution to the French fashion industry.
Maurizio’s design ethos embraces traditional craftsmanship creating exquisite and impeccable haute couture that is shown at international couture weeks and housed in global fashion museums. Maurizio has also turned his hand to a wide range of products from stamps and to interior design, all of which exhibit his recognisable ‘seamless’ signature style; his lighting and furniture designs are regularly shown at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, Italy.
In 2003 he founded Interware, a design and consultancy service in partnership with trend forecaster and designer Tal Lancman. In January 2013 Maurizio Galante opened his new atelier-showroom in Paris, located near Opera Bastile, showcasing his Haute Couture collections as well as his and Tal Lancman’s authentic creations alongside exclusive limited edition pieces.
Interware; Tal Lancman and Maurizio Galante
The Texprint Awards celebrate textile innovation which Maurizio sees as vital, not only for himself but for the highly creative industry of haute couture as a whole: “Haute couture is research in its essence. It is, in my opinion, fashion's research laboratory. The use of innovative new fabrics and materials is crucial to the result. A couturier is a bit like a great chef; the more the ingredients of the recipe are innovative, novel, and of excellent quality, the more exceptional the dish will be.”
Texprint selects and mentors graduate designers entering the creative industries. Maurizio is a keen supporter of new design talent having introduced fashion designer Rabih Kayrouz to the Chambre and Maurizio strongly believes in their importance saying: “Fashion is a work towards the future.”
Maurizio is keen to impart his advice to the Texprint designers, as he says: “Being aware of what's happening around us I think is the most important advice that I received and in turn would love to share with the younger generation of designers. Be informed not only about the evolution of fashion, but in general on the evolution of the costume, and the needs of the market and clientele. Never forget the work of a great balancing act, which must be achieved in realising products, without ever being too far ahead or too far back.”
Haute Couture collection 2013
The Selection Process 2013 - judge Tamsin Blanchard
08 July 2013 by
Tamsin Blanchard’s remit as Style Director of the Telegraph Magazine is as broad as she likes to make it, from following Joanna Lumley across the slums of Kenya to see what happens to Oxfam donated clothes, to visiting Louis Vuitton's state of the art shoe factory in Fiesso d’Artico, Italy.
Her career started at the Independent in 1991, where after a few years she became fashion editor, “I was very privileged to have been given the opportunity at the Independent to work my way up from the cupboard to the front row at the shows.” Tamsin followed this with a long stint, 1998-2005, as Style Editor at the Observer Magazine, where she wrote and edited the interiors section, fashion features and interviews for the magazine, joining the Telegraph Magazine as Style Director in 2005.
Left: Tamsin Blanchard / Photo: Zac Frackelton
What is your favourite fashion memory?
It has to be interviewing Issey Miyake in Tokyo for the Observer Magazine in the mid-1990s. He was such a generous, unpretentious, genuinely creative man. I arrived at the interview feeling quite intimidated to be meeting one of my fashion heroes - I remember being amazed by the way his geometric flat circles of cloth transformed into incredible 3D shapes and blocks of colour on the catwalk. I was finally allowed to go into his office to meet him and he offered me a glass of whiskey and I knew we were going to get on. After the interview, we saw his show for his innovative new concept called A-POC and then went for one of the most memorable meals sitting on the floor of a restaurant that I knew I would never find again.
How has fashion and design journalism changed since you started?
It is very difficult for underground trends and subcultures to remain underground for more than a day now, in a way that in the 1980s and1990s, subcultures could develop and thrive for months if not years before the mainstream media picked up on them. Now, anyone can become a fashion blogger, and the bloggers themselves have become the story to some extent. However, there is a massive difference between having knowledge and experience in your subject and simply photographing yourself in an outfit you've been given.
Can you tell us what will you be particularly looking out for as a Texprint 2013 judge?
As a judge, I will be looking for something that is innovative, has a unique view point, and a strong resonance, visually and possibly, emotionally.
How important is it for you to support the next generation of textile designers?
It is really important for me because they are part of the creative lifeblood of the design industry. Textiles are where it all begins for many fashion designers. Increasingly, I see fashion collections that are all about print or texture. With the new generation of designers including Louise Gray, Holly Fulton, Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto, it is difficult to separate the textiles from the fashion - they are part and parcel of the whole collection.
Do you think people are taking more interest in what goes into their clothes and the creative forces behind them?
I really believe that consumers will have an increased interest in the provenance of their clothes. Nobody wants their clothes to be made in unsafe factories or by people who are exploited for their labour. There will be an increased demand for information about where a garment was made and a more transparent production process.
Since writing my book Green is the new Black (2005), issues of sustainability and corporate social responsibility have become an important part of running a fashion company. Companies like Marks & Spencer are making sustainability part of the way they run their business. Recently, I wrote about Bruno Pieters' company Honestby which gives the consumer a detailed breakdown of where their garment was made, who made it, how much it cost to make and how much the mark up is.
The Texprint programme selects designers who have trained in UK art and design schools. Why is the UK art school system so good at producing design talent?
It is unique because it understands the importance of creativity and gives students a certain amount of freedom and independence to develop their own style.
This year Texprint is introducing a new Hero Mentoring scheme. How important is having that experience when starting as a professional? What advice did you receive at the start of your career that you can pass on?
I interned as part of my industrial year out from CSM and in fact, was offered a job while interning at the Independent and didn't complete my degree. I think work experience is an essential part of learning about your chosen pathway - there is nothing quite like learning on the job. I had various internships, at Wire, Marie Claire, the Guardian where I helped edit the women's pages for a week (an amazing opportunity, working with the women’s editor Louise Chunn), and was extremely lucky at the Independent to have the opportunity to go to the shows - usually to courier film back to London in the days when photographers still shot on film.
I had two great mentors: Lisa Armstrong who gave me my first job, and Marion Hume, who took over from Lisa as fashion editor and took me to the shows in Paris, Milan and New York. The Independent taught me the importance of having journalistic integrity - something that is sadly all too often overlooked these days.
The best thing anyone can do is see and absorb as much as you can - it’s all about seeing, not being seen!
Texprint talks: Julie Harris, CEO of WGSN
04 July 2013 by
As a Foundation Sponsor of the Texprint programme, WGSN, the world’s leading trend forecaster of fashion and design, is committed to supporting the next generation of textile design talent.
Speaking from the company’s sleek headquarters near Piccadilly Circus, London, WGSN’s CEO Julie Harris explains the reasoning behind its three-year pledge of patronage: “Supporting designers everywhere is hugely important to us. We’re passionate about it. It’s an easy decision to make to support new talent, as ultimately they will become our customers of the future, or become employees, we are supporting our own business and the industry.”
Julie joined WGSN in 2007 as managing director of WGSN APAC and prior to this was managing director of Hachette Filipacchi and previously a commercial director of EMAP’s consumer division.
Julie says she is in no doubt as to why in lean times some companies might pull in their horns when reviewing budgets. But she says stridently: “If we believe in the fashion industry and the industry as a whole, we have to believe it is incumbent on all of us that we have to put our hands in our purses to help support it. It is the responsibility of businesses like ours, whether it is retailers or brands, to invest in upcoming talent. If we don’t, that craftsmanship, that talent and that ability will die and that will make all our businesses poorer as a result.”
Since launching in 1998, WGSN has become the by word for online trend information for the fashion and style industry. Today, it has over 38,000 users across 87 countries. Its subscribers work in all links of the supply chain: raw materials, brands and retailers, mostly in the apparel markets, as well as non-fashion users such as mobile phone and automotive companies and a growing number in the interiors market. And four years ago it launched the WGSN Global Fashion Awards which represents the full breadth of the industry from luxury fashion to mass-market, taking in emerging and student designers along the way.
WGSN has over 300 editorial and design team members and offices in 21 countries providing deep and wide-ranging coverage: a mix of forecasting and reportage. Julie explains: “We call it bubble up trickle down, we have a robust methodology around our trend forecasting, it is part science part magic. We look at the key themes, what consumers are doing, we look at art, music, festivals, architecture, what’s going on economically, what’s happening in different geographies, all of that gets funnelled into a big melting pot. And out of that we surface our key themes and trends.”
Combined with this there is also regional trend information, what’s happening on the streets, celebrities, TV and more. Julie continues: “A whole bunch of things are happening right here and now that will affect retail tomorrow. We’re famous for our trend forecasting and our catwalk coverage, and more and more we are looking at what’s happening in-store today, we’re looking at the analytics side of retail, how ranges are being put together, what this means for our customers and their competitive set. What’s happening down the catwalk: are stripes up, is green out? Hard data that combines with the soft information that we’re well-known for, it’s a complex matrix of different information that surfaces at different points in the product lifecycle. Different customer types have different uses for the information.”
The reporting team is made up of industry professionals offering real insight into their market niches. Each year, WGSN runs extensive coverage of the Texprint programme’s 24 designers. WGSN’s head of materials and knit Helen Palmer is a knitwear and yarn expert with over 17 years' experience in design, product development and trend forecasting. She says: “We associate ourselves with projects we feel strongly about: Texprint is a showcase of the top creative textile graduates of the year and the candidate caliber is consistently high.”
WGSN global colour team (centre: in grey, Helen Palmer, Head of Materials & Knitwear; right: Fiona Coleman, Global Head of Colour)
Helen is a regular participant in the Texprint selection process, giving her time to help pick the best 24 out of over 200 candidates put forward by their colleges. “I can see a lot of benefits in the whole process. For the people who don’t make the final selection, the interview gives them food for thought to develop their work. We give quite honest feedback and sometimes challenge them to think about their work in a different way, to put it into perspective away from the college’s house style or the influence of a particular tutor.”
Helen and her team maintain a dialogue with education and work closely with key textile design courses including Brighton University, Central St Martins and Nottingham Trent University on product development projects which go into the forecasting reports, as well as sponsoring placements and taking fledgling designers out to view industry exhibitions.
In Helen’s view, Texprint’s selection panelists pick the most diverse and interesting new graduate designers. “It’s such a great project, it’s a door into creativity, we enjoy the engagement, it adds to our understanding of the creative process.”
She continues: “The criteria is that Texprint is a showcase for selling and the designers have to have viable products commercially.”
Back to Julie, with your commercial head on, is it important for designers to have commercial nous as well as design talent? “Yes, unequivocally! It’s very interesting to listen to a designer like Mary Katrantzou, she talks very well about learning the business. You can be an amazing designer but not sell a thing. It’s a tough commercial world out there and at the end of the day it’s got to sell.”
Texprint talks: Gilles Lasbordes, MD of Première Vision
17 June 2013 by
Gilles Lasbordes is the managing director of Première Vision S.A., the leading international textile and fabric show, otherwise known as PV. Première Vision was established in 1973 as a group presentation by 15 Lyonnais silk weavers. Today the Paris-based exhibition is the corner stone of Première Vision Pluriel, the group of six shows – Première Vision, Expofil, Indigo, Modamont, Le Cuir à Paris and Zoom by Fatex - that service the fashion industry from fibre to leather, accessories, textile designs and fabrics. With over 1,900 international exhibitors, the show group brings together 58,000 fashion industry professionals in Paris twice a year.
Each September, through the generous sponsorship of Première Vision SA, the 24 selected Texprint designers are given the opportunity to have their own exhibition stands at Indigo, the show of original textile and surface design. And the event also hosts the Texprint prize giving ceremony. Gilles is passionate about supporting and nurturing young design talent as he tells Texprint:
Congratulations on your recent promotion. Can you tell us about your new role?
I started working for Première Vision in 2004 and I recently became the managing director of the Première Vision group. My role involves strategic and operational management, I am closely involved with our ongoing worldwide events – in total we have 24 shows per year. I am more directly involved with the Indigo (Paris, New York, Brussels), Modamont and Expofil shows and many back office activities that make our events a reality.
Left: Gilles Lasbordes
Paris looks like a beautiful place to live – good food, gorgeous architecture and a rich culture - what is a typical day like for you?
There’s no such thing as a typical day for me. When I am not travelling, I often have meetings to discuss and prepare the upcoming exhibitions whether they are one month or up to a year in the future. But I do have a motorbike which I ride everyday – I love travelling around Paris, seeing the beautiful architecture and monuments.
Première Vision has exhibitions in New York, Sao Paulo, Brussels, Moscow and Shanghai as well as Paris, and you hold exhibitor meetings around the world, how often do you travel on business, what do you enjoy about it and what are your favourite places to visit?
I travel a lot because we are an international company and Paris is an international show not only from the exhibitors’ point of view but also from the visitors’ point of view. I really don’t have a favourite place to visit. Every country I visit is different, each city is very diverse and what I love is seeing the diversity of the fashion industry. Also now with globalisation brands have become global, but I enjoy seeing local brands as they make the market more interesting and diverse.
The exhibitions Première Vision, Modamont and Indigo have direct links with and support three organisations that nurture new design talent. Can you tell us why you have made this an integral part of your activities?
Première Vision, Expofil and Modamont all focus on the creative part of the fashion industry - we are not a trade show for commodities. When you are a trade show organiser and your event represents an industry on such a large scale, you have to support the industry you work for. Whether they will work for textile or fashion companies, we believe that graduate designers are the future of our industry. We support the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography, International Talent Support and Texprint because we want to help a new generation of creators to emerge. We want to help that generation to maintain a highly creative fashion industry in the future. Texprint is very textile-oriented so we share the same roots, textiles is what Première Vision is made of.
Nearly half of Indigo’s exhibitors are based in / trained in Britain. What is it about the UK’s art school system that produces so many creative talents?
Well from my point of view, UK art and design schools have a good balance between being creative and being market-oriented. This understanding of the industry, the mix of high creativity and business, is what companies are expecting from their new employees.
What does the addition of the Texprint group in September add to the mix of studios at Indigo?
At Indigo studios present their own culture, DNA and artistic direction. The Texprint designers give us boundless creativity and innovation, it is our R&D. They often present something new and innovative, for example, in the way they mix various innovative textile techniques such as print and embroidery, print and knitted garments or 3D textiles with unusual raw materials.
Being able to show their designs at Indigo is a really exciting opportunity for the 24 graduate designers; do you have any advice for this year’s Texprint’s group?
I’m hoping to see lots of successful sales and so the designers need to be prepared to negotiate! They should have an idea of prices and also network to make useful connections at Indigo. The designers have to be ready to meet with professionals and act in a professional manner. But I know that they are very well trained by the Texprint team and when they come to Paris they will definitely be ready to make the most of this opportunity.
Trend Forum at Première Vision
The Selection Process 2013 – judge Damian Shaw
12 June 2013 by
Please note: Due to unforeseen work commitments Damian Shaw was unable to judge Texprint 2013. The role of a merchandising director requires an extensive knowledge of a brand’s DNA – thinking about how best to translate an aesthetic for a globally diverse clientele. Damian Shaw is currently championing that task for McQ at Alexander McQueen, one of fashion’s most prominent luxury brands. On 9 July, 2013, he will join four other fashion industry experts to select special prize-winners for Body, Space, Pattern and Colour among the 24 chosen Texprint designers.
Damian Shaw / Images of McQ autumn winter 2013 collection: Style.com
Proving that an eye for style is often a small portion of the creative talent behind most in the fashion world, many may be surprised to know that Damian completed a degree at the Royal College of Music in classical piano performance before deciding to move into the world of fashion. His passion first took him to Liberty of London where he served as a buyer for nine years until moving onto become the merchandise and marketing director for the international ready-to-wear line at Chloé in 2003. After a brief stint in the same position at Julien Macdonald, Damian found his way to McQ in April 2011.
Damian views textiles from a commercial point of view, which involves examining not only the physical properties such as structure and colour, but also every aspect of its commercial potential including wearability and desirability. He shares Texprint’s passion for promoting new growth within the textile sector: “The industry runs on fresh talent. It’s important to nurture this symbiotic relationship by supporting the new generation of designers. Both sides have a lot to learn from each other – designers gain practical experience while the industry gets a fresh burst of new talent and a renewed perspective.”
Seeing as the Alexander McQueen label, and consequently McQ, has been built on design ideals that glorify a union of innovation and extreme aesthetics, it’s no wonder that Damian is enthusiastic about the circulation of new blood within the industry. Young talent often needs a platform and some support along the road to becoming the leaders of tomorrow. The company has a history of providing designers with life-changing support – Lee McQueen was helped early on by mentor Isabella Blow. Even current creative director Sarah Burton was once an intern before becoming the protégé of the late McQueen. Damian affirms that “it’s vital for those of us in the industry to pass on as much information as possible to the next generation of design talent here in the UK”.
The Selection Process 2013 – judge Marios Schwab
20 May 2013 by
Please note: Due to unforeseen work commitments Marios Schwab was unable to judge Texprint 2013. Who better to select Texprint’s emerging designers of the future than Marios Schwab, one the UK’s own rising stars of fashion? His intelligent collections have not only ensnared the attention of key players in the industry, he has amassed a celebrity following that includes the likes of Clémence Poséy, Chloë Sevigny and Jessica Chastain. Marios’s cutting edge designs are praise for their astute attention to cut and detail – both of which he says can be led and even inspired by innovative textiles.
Marios Schwab: spring summer 2013 collection
A 2003 graduate of Central Saint Martins, the Greek-Austrian designer finds London “an eclectic and inspiring city to work and live in” while building his eponymous label. After all, it was here that he received his mentoring from CSM legend Louise Wilson before being taken under the wing of the Fashion East initiative which helped launch his first two collections at London Fashion Week. In 2007, Marios gained acclaim after he pushed the boundaries with his first solo collection at LFW. His London successes led to him being appointed the creative director for the iconic American brand Halston, revived from one of the most popular international fashion brands of the 1970s. More recently he has collaborated with Swarovski Elements and sunglasses brand Mykita, and in 2012 he was nominated for the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund. Bringing his designs to a high-street audience, in 2007 he designed a capsule collection for Topshop and in 2012 he launched his first of four collections for Debenhams.
Marios Schwab: autumn winter 2013 collection
The designer still remains one of the UK’s brightest talents and he attributes much of his success to the help that he received as a young designer. Marios is eager to return some of the career assistance that he was once given: “The support Texprint offers to the next generation of textile designers will shape them and guide them within their careers. It’s vital to keep the tradition of textile innovation alive in the UK – building on the rich heritage and expertise of the industry while ensuring it looks to the future.”
Marios’s choice of fabric is often a point of inspiration: “I like to push myself – incorporating new technological developments in cloths and combining them with traditional crafts such as lace-making to create an original Marios Schwab design.”
He encourages those starting out to constantly challenge their designs, be honest self-critics and, most importantly, hold on to determination, because “desire shines through”.
Coutts Texprint dinner celebrates textile innovation
16 April 2013 by Editor
As a dedicated supporter of the arts, private bank Coutts again demonstrated its interest in the worlds of fashion and textiles by hosting an elegant dinner in support of textile design excellence.
Held on Thursday 21 March 2013, it was the second Texprint dinner to be hosted by the historic bank at its head office on the Strand, London. Following a champagne reception in the boardroom, which is lined with hand-painted Chinese wallpaper c.1793, the guests were guided to its beautifully appointed private dining room for a sumptuous dinner.
Alan Marshall, executive director of Coutts, welcomed the guests, saying: “Coutts is thrilled to be a sponsor of the Texprint 2013 dinner. It reinforces our commitment to the world of contemporary creative industries and our relationship with young entrepreneurs.The UK is a world leader at creating art, fashion and textiles and Coutts' support of Texprint enables emerging talent to access our experience of working with entrepreneurs in addition to providing mentoring schemes and financial advice."
Left: Marie Parsons (Jaguar Land Rover), Professor Clare Johnston (RCA) Centre: Katrina Burroughs (Sunday Times Home), Katie Greenyer (Pentland Brands) Right: Neisha Crosland, Susanna Kempe (Flying Trumpets)
Texprint’s chairman Barbara Kennington took the opportunity to thank the guests – including leading lights in fashion and textiles, the press and past alumni - for their continuing support for British-trained textile design graduates and without whom the Texprint programme would simply not exist. “Texprint’s programme of mentorship provides a vital bridge between university and the real world. Looking at the autumn/winter 13 fashion collections, particularly in London, what struck me was the increasing importance of textile innovation - an indication of just how important it is to encourage and support the next generation of textile creativity.”
Peter Ring-Lefevre (Texprint), Kate O’Connor (Creative Skillset)
John Snowdon (Worshipful Company of Weavers), Peter Ackroyd (Woolmark Company), Andrew Blessley (Clothworkers Foundation), Hugh Beevor (Texprint)
The Texprint programme has been selecting and mentoring graduate textile designers for over 40 years. And through Coutts’ gracious hospitality, the dinner provided the charity with a means of thanking those who make it possible, among them Kirstie Carey, managing director of Liberty Art Fabrics (sponsor of Texprint’s Pattern prize); Paul Graham, sales director of Pantone EMEA (sponsor of the Colour prize); and Texprint trustee Dominic Lowe represented The Sanderson Art in Industry Trust, which is a Foundation sponsor of the charity.
Italian textile producers and luxury fashion brands have long recognized the excellence of British-trained designers and regularly employ interns selected from the Texprint winners. Texprint was pleased to welcome Luigi Turconi of Ratti, part of the giant Marzotto group; Elena Alfani of luxury brand Salvatore Ferragamo; and Marco Taiana of Tessitura Taiana represented the Como-based creative initiative ComON with which Texprint has long been associated.
Left: Barbara Kennington (Texprint) Andrew Blessley (Clothworkers Foundation) Right: Peter Ring-Lefevre (Texprint), Elena Alfani (Salvatore Ferragamo)
Anne Tyrrell MBE, designer and member of Texprint's Council, said: "It’s a really special evening, so impressive, and it’s a huge compliment that so many visitors from Europe attended."
Marco Taiana (Taiana, ComON), Caryn Simonson (Chelsea College of Art & Design), Joanna Bowring (Texprint)
Katie Greenyer, creative director of the Pentland Group, was delighted to announce during the evening that Pentland would be increasing its sponsorship for 2013, which was fantastic news and greatly appreciated.
The Texprint management team also welcomed Catriona Macnab, creative director of Foundation sponsor WGSN; John Francis, director of sponsor Paul Smith; style director of the Telegraph magazine Tamsin Blanchard; and Michael Ayerst, managing director of wall coverings specialist Surface View, which has so generously provided the dramatic wall murals seen at the Texprint London event for the past two years.
And from Texprint’s alumni, guests included Michael Angove, Neil Bamford of Mint Design Studio, David Edmond, and Marie Parsons of Jaguar Land Rover.
Left: Julius Schofield MBE (InDesign), Philippa Brock (Central St Martins) Right: Anne Tyrrell MBE, Leanne Prichard (Coutts)
Left: Alison Murdoch (Haberdashers’ Company), Gill Gledhill (GGHQ), Terry Mansfield CBE Right: Neil Bamford (Mint Design), Michael Ayerst (Surface View)
The world of interiors has been an area of increased focus for many young textile designers. Neisha Crosland, a Texprint judge in 2012, and Mary Carroll, of luxury interior furnishings brand De le Cuona, attended the dinner, as did Katrina Burroughs, a renowned journalist specialising in interior design who is a regular contributor to the Sunday Times Home section.
The words of after dinner speaker Susanna Kempe, founder and CEO of Flying Trumpets, were greeted with much nodding of heads and agreement as she talked of too many businesses being run by accountants; too few by creatives, stating: “To change that, we have to finally, unequivocally, reject the false opposition between creativity and commercialism. We have to combine imaginative genius with disciplined execution; embrace create effectiveness and demonstrate commercial accountability. If we don’t businesses and boards will continue to be led by accountants most comfortable in a world of timid homogeneity. Businesses should be run by people for whom innovation, clients and brands are in their very DNA.”
Her thoughts were applauded by all – and especially by Kate O’Connor deputy managing director of Creative Skillset, and Anne Tyrrell who responded: “She was amazing. I must say I will attack my meetings with new energy as a result, what an impressive woman.”
Barbara wrapped up the evening, saying: “Our sincere thanks to Coutts for hosting such an enjoyable and hugely useful opportunity for people interested in supporting British design training and textile innovation to get together, to talk and to debate. Invaluable!”
Texprint alumnae at SIT Select, 4 May
07 April 2013 by Editor
Texprint has been invited by Lizzi Walton, artistic director and CEO of Stroud International Textiles to introduce the work of Texrint alumnae Lauren Bowker (Texprint 2011) and Lisa Bloomer (Texprint 2012) at SIT Select on Saturday 4 May.
A day of textile innovation and design excellence Introduced by Barbara Kennington; illustrated talks from Lauren Bowker and Lisa Bloomer.
Date: Saturday 4 May, start 1.00 pm – 3 pm
Tickets: £10 & £8 (Friends of SIT & Museum)
SIT Select is the exhibition arm of Stroud International Textiles, their aim to raise awareness and to increase the enjoyment of contemporary textiles and contemporary crafts. Through an extensive programme of exhibitions, talks and open studios, SIT Select challenges the public’s perception of contemporary crafts while increasing active participation in the arts for a wide range of people and abilities.
While at first glance textile art and craft may seem only loosely connected to the faster moving and commercial worlds of fashion and interiors, there’s little doubt that it can inform, guide and inspire. As fashion textiles become increasingly innovative and creative, and production challenges even greater, it is important to be open-minded and explore seemingly less walked routes to discover new directions for colour and materials.
Since leaving The Royal College of Art the routes taken by Lauren Bowker and Lisa Bloomer could not be more different although there are points of connection, particularly around sustainability and textile development to improve the world in which we live, which motivate them both.
Lauren Bowker’s vision - to See The Unseen - lies beyond the world of the traditional textile as she intertwines unexpected materials and technology for the future world of arts, fashion and wellbeing - everything from catwalks to feathers to concrete - always with the human at the heart and with the intention of providing real solutions to real problems, improving and inspiring our lives.
Lauren Bowker for Peachoo + Krejberg 2012/13
Lisa Bloomer’s work, though firmly based in weave, goes beyond the traditional textile approach as she explores dye, print and freehand techniques. Using digital technology Lisa mixes the complexity of cross-dyeing with the spontaneity of mark-making to create sustainably-produced, bespoke fabrics for interiors and fashion.
Lisa Bloomer at Indigo 2011
Textile: ©Lisa Bloomer
The main exhibitions and talks curated by SIT take place in the Museum in the Park, Stroud - check WEBSITE. Tickets must be either booked online or by sending a cheque to SIT. Details are in brochure and on the booking page.
Texprint is pleased to support this extraordinarily rich and diverse programme and applauds the excellence and innovation of UK-based designer makers who are driving textiles and contemporary crafts forward nationally and internationally. CLICK BELOW to view the full brochure onscreen:
London Fashion Week: Texprint’s textile review Part 2
04 April 2013 by Editor
In Texprint’s second report on the autumn/winter 13/14 London Fashion Week collections we look at the innovations in wool, surface finishes, jacquards - and at what’s new in technology.
“London Fashion Week has long been synonymous with innovation and the latest round of London runways shows didn’t disappoint as our internationally acclaimed young designers lead the way in exciting new textile developments,” comments Sue Evans, fashion editor of WGSN.com (Texprint sponsor).
Christopher Raeburn, Daks, J.W.Anderson / Photos: style.com
Sophistication came from those collections that showed a quiet simplicity of attitude (though not necessarily of colour), and in many cases, a continuing passion for wool, whether flat surfaced, ombred or more decorative.
Sue notes: “Print wunderkind Jonathan Saunders delivered scrolling appliques on delicate lace and felted wools in place of his signature print and pattern, an interesting move for him.”
Jonathan Saunders / Photos: style.com
"Wool was present not only at Fashion Week in London but also in New York, Milan and Paris where several collections featured full overcoats in woollen fabrics. Of note were examples of boiled wools, meltons, serges and drabs. Of particular interest in Paris was Stella McCartney's astute use of menswear fabrics, particularly pin stripes and flannels in worsted weights to add extra drape. Woolmark feels that wool has made a massive return for autumn/winter 13/14 in both men's and women's wear. Never has wool been so much at the forefront of the collections of leading designers and brands," says Peter Ackroyd, The Woolmark Company (Texprint sponsor).
Pringle of Scotland, Burberry Prorsum, John Rocha / Photos: style.com
Utilitarian looks were there too. Clare Johnston, professor of textiles at RCA, says: “The designers presented collections of men’s and women’s fashion that were modern, desirable and durable.” Not least Christopher Raeburn’s felted wool fabrics, made water resistant with Teflon, a clever and practical innovation that works to enhance his contemporary take on the sportswear aesthetic.
Mulberry / Photos: style.com
Fabrics were often toyed with, and finishes were key. Bonded double jersey, rubber, cire and wet-look coatings were all used by designers to lend an anarchic and unexpected edge.
Felder Felder, Simone Rocha, Burberry Prorsum / Photos: style.com
Refreshing colour and innovative fabrications came from Simone Rocha who showcased a delightful mix of felted wools, heavy lace, cobweb crochet, sparkly tinsel threads and tufts of petal-like texture. Her baby-pink tones, spongy bonded fabrics and classic structures were both exaggerated and assured. J.W. Anderson showed a collection that was pared down, modern and played with proportions and exaggerated details.
J.W.Anderson, Simone Rocha, Roksanda Ilincic / Photos: style.com
Jacquards found a new direction too. Used notably by Pringle of Scotland and Temperley London.
Temperley London, Pringle of Scotland, Osman / Photos: style.com
Texprint also notes British designers exploring technology in new and exciting ways.
In the case of Burberry Prorsum technology is used to emphasise the heritage and artisanal quality of the collection as the creative story behind each autumn/winter 12/13 runway Made To Order piece comes to life through smart personalisation.
Technology in each item unlocks immersive video footage, retracing its journey and celebrating its expert design and craftsmanship. On contact with a touch screen device each piece unlocks a unique video experience, charting its artisan production -- including original sketches, runway edits, craftsmanship and personalisation. Undoubtedly an incredibly expensive luxe service, but exciting and innovative nonetheless.
We also love Matthew Williamson’s low-tech Vine video campaign – snappy close-up 6-second videos shot backstage by photographer Sean Cunningham and tweeted live as the looks hit the runway. On his Facebook page Williamson also shows close-up photos of his spring/summer 2013 collection – Mathew Magnified - a clever way of highlighting the intricate workmanship and fabrics; detail that is often lost on the runway.
Wool House: feeling warm and woolly!
14 March 2013 by Editor
“Wool is a fibre for the life we lead, the people we love, the planet we inhabit.” The Campaign for Wool
The Wool House exhibition at Somerset House, London, opened yesterday and is on until 24 March. This stylish and richly artisanal celebration of wool is not to be missed encompassing as it does the very best of what can be achieved by spinning, weaving, printing and manipulating this most timeless and enduring of fibres.
Hummingbird by Alexander McQueen for The Rug Company
The lofty and elegant rooms in the west wing of Somerset House have been used to stage a series of room sets as well as displays of fashion and accessories, including bespoke tailoring and hand knitting.
Savile Row bespoke
The importance of wool to the fashion industry is demonstrated with designs by, among others, Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Raeburn; also Dashing Tweeds (Kirsty McDougall, Texprint 2002) and Alice Palmer (Texprint 2007).
Teflon-coated felted lace parka by Christopher Raeburn, headphones by Urbanears, tweed jackets by Dashing Tweeds
Knitted dress by Mark Fast, knitted chair cover, knit and fleece cape by Alice Palmer
As part of the national Campaign for Wool supported by The Prince of Wales, the project also involves a series of interactive workshops and a special educational and innovation room, using hi-tech tablets to demonstrate the processes wool undergoes on its journey from sheep to consumer. This is an exhibition designed to engage and educate as much as to enjoy.
“Wool is all about comfort and beauty. It is a fibre grown, not manmade, with an origin and integrity that has yet to be matched. Natural, renewable and sustainable it offers the most timeless and enduring quality to materials for many different lifestyle products for interiors, fashion, build and craft.“ The Campaign for Wool
Wool fabrics are used to great effect in the room installations. From the dramatic entrance hall with its chequered black and white carpet, to the modernist room by Anne Kyyro-Quinn with its brightly coloured sound-absorbing wall coverings, the fresh and charming nursery designed by Donna Wilson, to the typically eclectic and crafted bedroom designed by Kit Kemp MBE. Dream interiors that beautifully illustrate wool's versatility in use, colour and texture.
Modern Room by Anne Kyyro-Quinn
Nursery by Donna Wilson
Bedroom by Kit Kemp MBE
Event director Bridgette Kelly - working with interior designer Arabella McNie as curator, and all the participating designers and highly skilled artisans - has created a truly diverse and creative opportunity to engage with the fibre’s heritage and future potential.
We would encourage textile and fashion design students and tutors to visit and be inspired!
Wool art installation by Dutch tapestry artist, Claudy Jongstra
Wools of the World
Artisan rug weaver Jason Collingwood in his temporary studio, weaving on a table loom throughout the exhibition
London Fashion Week: Texprint’s textile review Part 1
03 March 2013 by Editor
With London Fashion Week over we thought it useful to highlight the breadth of autumn/winter 13/14 fabric directions being explored and developed by British brands and designers.
This season textiles are worked together and manipulated to create layered or multi-dimensional effects. It is no longer enough to talk of knits, weaves or prints – weaves are embroidered or coated, felted flat fabrics are printed or embellished, knits are exaggerated, and prints are layered over jacquards or under sheers. We are also seeing completely new types of fabrics being created by rethinking handcrafted techniques such as crochet and lace making.
Clements Ribeiro, Sister by Sibling, House of Holland / Photos: style.com
“In the digital age we are seeing an innovative amalgamation of technology and handcrafted looks. The whole digital print revolution started on the London runways and has transmitted down to the high street at every level so it was interesting to see pioneers of the medium like Peter Pilotto and Holly Fulton take a different route for autumn/winter 13/14, combining digital technology with something altogether more textural as both designers introduced embroidery, appliques and patchwork into their silhouettes,” says Sue Evans, fashion editor of WGSN.com (Texprint sponsor).
Peter Pilotto / Photos: style.com
Holly Fulton / Photos: style.com
Clare Johnston, professor of textiles at the RCA, agrees: “Just when we needed it, the catwalk shows were uplifting and inspiring. The fabrics exuded luxury and invention. Prints and patterns continue to be bold and brave with less reliance on obvious digital imagery and more use of individual and imaginative design.”
Silhouettes are also being reconsidered; note Peter Pilotto’s squared off and oversized jacekets and coats, inspired by the Spanish Renaissance painter El Greco, and embroidered with bold strokes of painterly energy.
Peter Pilotto / Photos: style.com
Moving on from her signature collaged, quirky and colourful digital prints, Mary Katrantzou’s new direction saw what Sue Evans describes as: “hauntingly beautiful monochromatic landscapes,” digitally printed over jacquards and brocades and worked into strong Japanese-esque silhouettes. Also included in the collection are embossed leather and black-on-black jacquards.
Mary Katrantzou / Photos: style.com
Mary Katrantzou / Photos: style.com
While talking of fabric mixing and layering, Sue comments: “At Tom Ford, we were introduced to intricate floral embroideries fused with plush astrakhan furs, while at Erdem delicate print flower motifs were taken into another dimension when combined with laser punched cut-outs on a technical bonded fabric base.”
In his most beautiful, demure and modern collection to date, Erdem Moralioglu moved beyond his more familiar cocktail wear looks by showing a collection of confident and sensual fabrications. Layering sheer over texture, lace over print, and using ostrich feathers, oversized sequins, or bright, three-dimensional embroidered flowers to lift the fabric surface. He also showed tweeds, gleaming with shots of neon or plastic raffia, and softened by delicate threads of ostrich feathers wafting over the surface.
Erdem / Photos: style.com
Erdem / Photos: style.com
Christopher Kane also played with unexpected fabrications. A modern take on sculptural Guipure lace and passmenterie-type trims on panne velvet dresses, interlocked along seam lines or cut open to give shape and allow movement. Feathers were used extensively: to look like fraying seams or to create three-dimensional flowers; and cut jacquard jersey in a camouflage pattern gave the impression of a scratched and unfinished surface. Humour was here too, in the brightly coloured brain scan embroidery on an organza tee-shirt.
Christopher Kane / Photos: style.com
Christopher Kane / Photos: style.com
Breaking boundaries: Texprint 2012’s mixed media specialists
24 November 2012 by
For a unique approach to textile design, many new designers are breaking down boundaries and embracing other media in their work. Texprint’s 2012 showcase revealed four young people who are taking this path to carve out a truly individual style.
Winner of the Texprint Space prize, Tania Knuckey explores the intersection between art and design. She uses many different types of media and techniques revealing a lively and playful attitude. Tania’s painterly and experimental work is often very graphic and evolves in an organic way, encompassing both installation and work for interiors.
Tania Knuckey: chair installation
Tania recently showed some of her chair pieces at The Stables Gallery in Richmond, Surrey: her installation changed on a weekly basis through wrapping new mixed media fabrics around the pieces. She also gave a recent talk on the subject of transforming textiles into animations at the Slow Textiles Group’s studio in Hampstead, London, as well as exhibiting a concept book, created in collaboration with RCA architecture graduate Joseph Deane, at the RCA’s Sustain show.
Neckpieces by Lily Kamper
The enormous BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu temple in Neasden, North London, was one of the main inspirations for Lily Kamper’s distinctive work. The hand carved totem columns taken as a reference that she combined with softer elements in her multi-layered processes. Lily creates fresh ideas for fashion accessories, including fabulously futuristic statement jewellery pieces and bags.
Case with Perspex handle by Lily Kamper
She is fascinated by the possibilities of exploring texture and colour; a favourite theme is combining hard and soft materials to create unusual outcomes, as seen in her recent collaboration with men’s footwear designer, Tariq Mahmoud, where she created the Perspex heels. Lily also recently created the bespoke, hand-made trophies for WGSN’s recent Global Fashion Awards 2012.
Knitted textile by Sarah Burton.
Sarah Burton’s exciting contemporary pieces for fashion combine her passion for knitwear with modern embellishment. Sarah loves the process of knitting and constantly plays with construction techniques, continuing to develop her samples in unusual ways. Favourite materials include fine yet strong yarns such as viscose. Sarah’s inspirational research led her to study the traditions of the circus, looking closely at costume for performance, which demands a mix of the practical and the decorative. Sarah is taking up an exciting new position with Acorn Conceptual Textiles based in Nottingham, in addition to developing a small range of hand-made mixed media accessories.
Embellished woven textile by Alix Massieux.
Finally, fantasy and surrealism are aspects that inspired Alix Massieux’s fabric collection. Although a weave specialist, Alix is driven to mix techniques and experiment with embroidery. Targeting a high-end market, she uses fine yarns such as mercerised cotton and silk, but is also intent on injecting an element of fun into her work, using flashes of Lurex to create vibrant, light-hearted effects.
Pattern Masters: Texprint 2012 print specialists
30 October 2012 by
The Texprint 2012 showcase included nine outstanding printed textile designers, reflecting the strong continuing trend for dynamic pattern, in both contemporary fashion and interiors.
Winner of the Texprint Award for Pattern,Ying Wu has entranced many people since her RCA graduation this summer with her captivatingly original prints. Her inspirations stem from her Chinese heritage and its legends, reflecting a very original and personal narrative; her most recent work imagines nightmarish future scenarios where the natural environment has been devastated, and creatures must find new ways to survive. At Texprint London in July, Ying met, and has since collaborated with, Italian company De Le Cuona; she was also invited to participate in a ‘pop-up shop’ at Paul Smiths’ flagship store in London during September’s London Fashion Week. Further exciting collaborations are emerging, in what is proving to be a dynamic start to Ying’s career.
The vibrant and colourful work of Manri Kishimoto ensured her success as winner of the Texprint Award for Colour, sponsored by Pantone, and as a joint winner of the inaugural Lululemon Texprint Award. Manri’s work is instantly striking - the bold, expressive and graphic shapes of her story-telling designs are inspired by nature, particularly bird motifs. She uses many substrates for her print and multi-media work including knit, leather, silk weave and fine silk mesh. One of the highlights of her display at Texprint London was the large scale swan motif encusted with Swarovski crystals.
Israel Parra- Zanabria
Embracing vibrant colour in a very different way, the work of Israel Parra-Zanabria is inspired by the colours and buzz of his native Mexico City. Israel uses a variety of media, including watercolour, pro markers and pencil to achieve a masterful delicacy and softness to his beautiful depictions of exotic flowers, combining both screen printing and hand painting to translate design to fabric.
Fergus Dowling’s distinctive work is currently inspired by decorative heraldic imagery. Fergus is drawn to the Rococo and Baroque periods; he is inspired by the highly detailed design and imagery of family crests which he deconstructs and then reinvents to create newly contemporary and personal patterns. These, plus his use of reinvented traditional tartans, vibrant colour, and luxurious fabrics, gives his work an elegant gentleman-like mood.
Laura Barnes’ love of drawing and the decorative arts is very apparent in her richly coloured and elegant work. Her wonderfully vibrant sketches and designs are inspired by travel, especially recent trips to Morocco and Spain, and reveal her passion for colour and story-telling. She previously won a scholarship, which enabled her to undertake an exciting and visually stimulating cultural exchange visit to South Korea.
Trinity Mitchell’s fresh, quirky and slightly retro designs were originally inspired by a YouTube video of 1950’s women trying on sunglasses. Her prints have since developed into a celebration of the small, feminine and often quietly humorous details that reflect her eclectic and light-hearted approach to fashion fabrics and headscarf design.
Alice Howard- Graham
Architecture, photography and Russian Constructivism have inspired Alice Howard-Graham’s striking and dynamic work. Using her passion for photographic manipulation yet retaining a hand-drawn quality, Alice employs motifs developed from industrial and mechanical imagery, exploring the potential of both traditional screen-printing and digital methods in her work.
Geometric patterns, maps of the world, celestial charts, strong colour, Pop Art, vintage photos and animals are just some of the eclectic starting points used by David Warner to create his individual take on contemporary fashion textiles and wallcoverings. Quirky, layered designs mix English country traditions with gay culture to create statement placements and allovers.
Amber Sambrook plays with techniques such as laser cutting, and materials such as leather to give her fashion fabrics and accessories their unique and unexpected handle and finish. Her most recent work is dramatic and powerful, inspired by the weather and its changing atmospheric conditions. Contrasts of light and dark, and richly moody patterns suggesting storm clouds are achieved using techniques such as ombre and devôré.
The variety and vibrancy of these emerging talents ensure some exciting new directions for the future of printed textile design.
Texprint London: four prize winners chosen by industry luminaries
18 July 2012 by
Texprint London - the must-see presentation of the best new graduate textile designers from the UK – took place July 11-13, 2012 at Chelsea College of Art’s Triangle Building.
Press, fashion and textile industry guests turned out in force to support and encourage the 24 successful designers.Texprint’s chairman, Barbara Kennington said: “This was undoubtedly our most successful and buzzy Texprint London show to date, the feedback overall was terrific, which bodes well for future support.”
Judges Sheree Waterson & Paul Stamper veiw the work
Four world-renowned decision makers and designers in the fields of fashion and design selected the winners of four special prizes at the event:Caroline Burstein, creative director at Browns Fashion; textile designer Neisha Crosland; Paul Stamper, senior designer at Renault Design; and Sheree Waterson, executive vice president and chief product officer for Vancouver based sportswear company Lululemon Athletica.
Selection of work by Ying Wu
Ying Wufrom the Royal College of Art scooped the Pattern prize for her highly imaginative work. Ying’s latest pieces are fantastic visual projections of a world where the environment has been polluted and almost destroyed. Her nightmare scenarios remain beautifully colourful and decorative despite their dark content, creating fascinating and thought-provoking artistic textile pieces.
Knitted structure by Carlo Volpi
Knitwear specialist Carlo Volpi, also from the RCA, was the judge’s unanimous choice to receive the Body prize. Carlo’s great sense of colour, texture and 3D structure mixed with a light-hearted sense of fun made an impression on many visitors.
Beaded textile design by Manri Kishimoto
Also commanding much attention,Manri Kishimoto from Central St Martins College of Art & Design won the Colour prize for her bold, graphic and distinctive printed and mixed media work. Manri is inspired by nature and by birds in particular. Her work is often based on stories and features striking motifs and wonderfully detailed beaded embellishment and appliqué.
Tania Knuckey embellished leather
Finally, Tania Grace Knuckey from the RCA won the Space prize, given for the best textiles for use in interiors. The judges were impressed with Tania’s versatility and the wide variety of materials she has explored in her work including many fabric bases, leather and metal.
The prize winners each win a £1,000 prize, courtesy of prize sponsors The Clothworkers’ Foundation, Liberty Art Fabrics and Pantone X-Rite.
Alice Palmer: new frontiers for knitwear
24 June 2012 by
Knitwear specialist Alice Palmer (Texprint 2007) is renowned for her desirable, sculptural womenswear. Her bold, clever shapes skim and flatter the female form – shattering the safe, cosy image of knitwear. Her pieces are sexy and youthful and perfectly suit a modern, confident clientele. Alice works from her studio in Hackney Wick, London, and shows regularly at London Fashion Week.
What drew you to specialise in knit in the beginning?
I was fascinated by making something from scratch; developing ideas for colour, pattern and form.
What particular qualities are needed to specialise in knit?
An awful lot of patience!
Alice Palmer Autumn/Winter collection 2012. Photography by Christopher Dadey.
You quickly moved into fashion after graduation and show regularly at LFW – was this always your plan?
No, it wasn’t always my plan to have a fashion business. From a young age I thought about going into architecture or fine art painting. While I was studying for an MA at the RCA I started making garments and developing innovative construction techniques. This is when I saw the potential for starting a fashion label.
What inspires you in your work?
All of my surroundings, art, architecture, films and people.
Do you have favourite materials or techniques?
I love to work with silk and viscose as they drape nicely. I use a specific knitting technique, which I love to continue developing each season.
Alice Palmer Autumn/Winter collection 2012. Photography by Christopher Dadey.
Can you describe a typical day?
Emailing, stocktaking, working on production and designing are all part of my day - with meetings here and there.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your work?
The satisfaction of a collection coming together. And seeing the garments being worn.
And the least enjoyable?
Some of the business side - such as accounts.
At Texprint in 2007 you won the Knit Prize – how did this help?
It was really encouraging and I had an incredible opportunity to exhibit in Paris and then in Hong Kong.
Alice Plamer Spring/Summer collection 2012. Photography by Christopher Dadey
Highlights of your career since then?
Showing in New York with Fashion Enter [a social enterprise organisation] and winning the Best Womenswear Award. Also being a finalist in the Fashion Fringe competition in 2010. The most recent highlight has been getting the chance to meet the Queen!This was at a recent event through the Fashion Capital organisation, celebrating 60 years of fashion at the start of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.
Soon I will be delving into knitted sculpture and have an exhibition coming up in London. I am exhibiting at Schwartz Gallery in Hackney Wick - from June 27 to August 18 2012 - in a group show called Allotments.
In the future, I plan to start a menswear line.
Anyone you’d ultimately love to work with?
I would love to collaborate with [milliner] Stephen Jones.
Any advice for those about to graduate this year?
Realise what your strengths are and try to find out specifically what you want to do and achieve with your career. Then target the right companies to arrange meetings or interviews. Keep designing, carry on learning and building up your CV and remember that perseverance is key.
In my experience: Susie Foster
16 June 2012 by
Susie Foster (Texprint 2010) is a freelance textile designer, specialising in mixed media. Drawing is the foundation of her practice and her delicate, sensitive pencil studies are often snapped up in their own right. Here Susie shares her insights into launching a career in design:
I work on a lot of different projects at one time.
I’ve created new prints for the Surtex fabric exhibition in New York. I’m developing needle punched fabrics for the spring/summer 2012/13 collection for menswear designer Manish Bansal. And I am working on accessories ideas with Sandra Murray, a Scottish designer I met at [textile design show] Indigo, Paris. I’ve also just designed a greetings card for the Barbican shop.
Susie Foster pleated textile detail
Being a freelance designer isn’t an easy option.
I feel incredibly lucky to be doing something I enjoy. Although there are some low moments, there are great days too and that’s what keeps me going. It can be tough staying positive and motivated but I was prepared for that - it’s a really competitive industry.
It’s hard to switch off.
Working as a freelancer means there can be a lot of uncertainty, which can be stressful. I’m glad I’m not on the nine to five treadmill, but it can be really difficult to switch off and take a break, especially if you live and work in one location. There’s also all the non-creative work that comes with being self-employed, dealing with tax, chasing payments etc, luckily my sister is a tax adviser, which helps.
Susie Foster: printed and pleated textile.
A typical day is a varied mix of the creative and the necessary.
I try to get a balance of the less interesting bits (invoices, emails etc) and the creative side (drawing, making, research etc). I enjoy the freedom and variety; it’s great to be in charge of your own time and to work on a range of projects. I like new challenges and working with different people, it’s exciting - and keeps you moving forward.
I’m inspired by nature, artists and the unexpected.
My inspiration can come from something quite unexpected but most frequently it’s found in nature. I find the patterns, processes and structures of the natural world are a never-ending source of inspiration. Also, the work of artists such as Antony Gormley, Bridget Riley, Mark Rothko, Eva Hesse, Andy Goldsworthy, Louise Bourgeois… it’s an endless list!
Susie Foster insect drawing
I love drawing and experimenting with materials and varied techniques.
During my MA studies at the RCA I started to explore scale, creating larger pieces, considering new ways of making and thinking a lot more broadly. I also started working with needle punching and it’s remained a favourite technique. I think it has a lot of potential still to be explored and I like that process of continual discovery. I still try to draw every day - it’s crucial to my textile work but it would be great to start exhibiting and selling pieces as an artist.
My Texprint experience in 2010 was hugely beneficial.
It was fantastic being chosen for Texprint. Just from the interview I got some great feedback and advice and made a contact that led to the sale of two large pieces from my portfolio. To show at Indigo was invaluable; I sold four pieces and met people that I continue to work with now.
Susie Foster: embroidery design for menswear designer Manish Bansal. Far right: butterfly pencil study
My plan is to keep going and keep the variety in my work.
I want to continue with my collaborative work for fashion and also to sell print designs. It would be amazing to work at couture level, where practicality is less of an issue and there’s more opportunity for elaborate and experimental textiles. I’d love to see my fabrics on a McQueen or Vivienne Westwood catwalk!
I’m working on some more of my own interior art pieces and developing my origami collages for print. I’d love to work with the Rug Company to produce designs for interiors. I’d also like to devote more time to drawing as an end in itself. I’ve been involved with teaching and community arts projects too and that’s something I also want to do more of.
Textile graduates need to persevere.
New graduates need to realise that it might take a long time to get where you want to be - but you can enjoy the journey and learn a lot along the way.
Congratulations to Dashing Tweeds - Scottish Textile Brand of the Year
13 June 2012 by Editor
Hosted by British style icon Alexa Chung, the Scottish Fashion Awards saw Dashing Tweeds win Scottish Textile Brand of the Year (sponsored by House of Fraser). Deserved recognition for this exciting and creative textile company.
Christopher Kane picked up the crown for 'Scottish Fashion Designer of the Year' at the red carpet event held at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow in association with InStyle.
Dashing Tweeds, founded by photographer Guy Hills and woven textile designer Kirsty McDougall (Texprint 2002) is rapidly making a name for itself. By using the best British mills and workshops, and designing heritage tweeds with a contemporary, colourful and often humorous spin, they have created a truly original British brand. They will be showcasing their latest collection at London Collection: Men, 15-17 June, alongside other British brands at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden.
Dashing Tweeds collaborates with a diverse range of partners from fashion and interior designers to architects and scientists.
Palvinder Nangla: decorative textile art and design
04 June 2012 by
Images above: Palvinder Nangla, Bless This Home & White Indian
Texprint alumnus and creative maverick Palvinder Nangla talks to Texprint about his decorative and distinctive approach to textiles; the creative path of his career; and some timely tips for those about to graduate.
Your approach to textiles is highly individual - what drew you to embroidery and mixed media?
I come from a Punjabi background where embroidery plays a huge social role. My grandmother and I used to stitch for hours while chatting and drinking tea. The fusion of traditional hand embroidery with the elements of mixed media has given me new ways of expression.
Are there particular qualities needed for this discipline?
I guess it is very important to be patient. Stitching requires meticulous labour and it can take a lot of time. To be open-minded and passionate about your work helps too.
Palvinder Nangla: Self Portrait. Copyright Palvinder Nangla
How have you found working as a freelance designer?
Frankly, I find it quite difficult. It is a tough market out there and it is full of sharks!
What is the focus of your current work?
I have moved on to textile art and surface design. I still make fashion illustrations but now I draw my inspiration from haute couture. I have just finished a set of fashion illustrations made of up-cycled butterfly wings and I’m starting a new surface design project in collaboration with Cor Habeo, an ethical luxury shoe brand.
What inspires you in your work?
The creative process is the most inspiring thing of all.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your work?
When I see ideas naturally grow and take shape until they are materialised and finished. I also love when others enjoy my work and it touches something inside them.
And the least enjoyable?
The financial part, I guess.
Palvinder Nangla: Freedom Pass & The Last Dance. Copyright Palvinder Nangla
You won the Texprint Chairman’s Prize in 2006 - what did this mean to you?
It felt great to have recognition from the textile industry. Texprint opens up a world of opportunities - but as I mentioned before, it is a shark’s world and I’m more of a guppy fish.
Highlights of your career since then?
I have shown with the British European Design Group at interior design shows ICFF, New York, IMM, Cologne and Maison & Objet, Paris. Through this connection, the tableware company Villeroy & Boch chose my work to exhibit at Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Milan in 2010. I also very much enjoyed collaborating with artist Hector de Gregorio who is also an RCA alumnus.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to keep on working with Cor Habeo and to apply my surface design to bags and other fashion accessories. I’m also looking into organizing an exhibition to show my textile art.Long term, I would be happy to make a living out of my art and to be involved in haute couture with someone such as Christian Lacroix.
What is your advice for those about to graduate this year?
Don’t waste your time with egocentrism and work together as a team, collaborate, support each other. Unity makes strength. Keep it real, be humble and love what you do.
Tamasyn Gambell: dynamic prints and ethical practices
27 May 2012 by
Tamasyn Gambell (Texprint 2005) has turned her passion for printed textiles into a successful, rewarding and ethical business. Her dynamic prints are strong and versatile, and are relevant for both fashion and interiors. Based in London’s Clerkenwell, she hand prints much of her work herself. Tamasyn began her career in Paris, moving there shortly after exhibiting with Texprint at Indigo, Paris, where many of her initial contacts were made.
What drew you to specialise in print?
I have always been attracted to pattern and colour. The first time I screen-printed I was hooked. I love the physicality of it, and the way you can change a surface so instantly.
Are there particular qualities needed for this discipline?
You need a good sense of scale, colour, layout and pattern. You have to be patient as the set up can be a lengthy process and things often go wrong. It’s also quite mathematical when designing the repeat.
How have you found working as a designer running your own business?
I have really enjoyed it. It’s been a fantastic challenge and you are constantly learning things. There are definite pitfalls and financial struggles at times – down sides are the long hours and the late payers. But ultimately it’s really rewarding – to know you have been responsible for everything you achieve. I love having the freedom to explore my own designs. I found working for other people very limiting – I have a very clear idea of what I want to produce.
Tamasyn Gambell scarves
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on two collaborative projects. The first is with the accessory brand Cherchbi – I am designing and printing tweed for their beautifully hand-made bags [autumn/winter 2012 menswear range]. Also I have designed and printed the fabric for a range of re-upholstered mid-century Scandinavian furniture pieces, cushions and lampshades being sold in the wonderful new shop: Forest, London.
What inspires you?
I spent some time in Sweden and I was really inspired by the clean graphic prints, bold colours and shapes found in design and architecture. Their sense of balance, and form really made an impression on me. This way of working, combined with a love for strong tribal patterns really informs my design work.
Tamasyn Gambell notebooks
Favourite materials and techniques?
Screen-printing is my favourite technique. I love working with silks, wools and linens - really rich fabrics that absorb dyes and pigments and produce lovely radiant colours.
You are very committed to ethical practices - do you think it’s still slow progress in this area for fashion and textiles?
It’s definitely gaining momentum. People are so much more informed now than they were even five years ago. It’s going to be slow to reach all areas of the market - but high- and mid-end brands are making a lot of positive changes. I believe ethical practices will continue to be adopted and gain a powerful presence over the next decade.
Can you describe a typical day?
I cycle to the print studio in south London – usually arriving at 9am. I change into my boiler suit and begin preparing the screens and the table for a day of screen-printing. There are always new designs, fabrics or products to print. The space is shared with other print designers and small businesses so it’s great to be surrounded by creativity. I work with my assistant, usually printing until about 5pm - then I will cycle back east and continue to work on emails, planning, deliveries and orders until 7 or 8pm.
Highlights of your career so far?
Getting to see my work on the Sonia Rykiel catwalk. Selling my work at the Tate was also a massive highlight for me. My father and I used to love going to exhibitions there together - it was one of our little rituals. He passed away before I set up my own business, so having my work on sale in the Tate Gallery shop was a very poignant moment for me.
Plans for the future?
I am exhibiting at Tent, London and I’m planning some new homeware accessories for this exhibition. I would like to continue to collaborate with other designers, learning from each other and sharing ideas. Longer term, I would love to work with Ercol and design prints for their beautiful furniture!
Advice for those about to graduate?
Enjoy it! Experiment and take opportunities as and when they come. I’ve learned that it can be equally valuable to learn what you don’t want to do as much as what you do.