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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
Carlo Volpi at Pitti Filati, 23-25 January
23 February 2013 by Editor
Good to hear from Carlo Volpi (Texprint 2012) following his return from Pitti Filati, Florence, where Carlo was asked to create knitted garments for the Spazio Ricerca of Pitti Filati, the central research space dedicated to future vision, design and artisanal skills.
The inspiration for Carlo’s one-off pieces came from his research into cultural festivals: music festivals, folk/religious festivals like "El Dia de Los Muertos" (Day of The Dead) in Mexico, and sagras (traditional Italian food festivals). As always, the research area provided drama and focus for those visitors looking to be excited by new ideas and creativity; the mannequins lined up on the central runway, surrounded by colourful petals strewn on the floor, and screens to each side showed videos of the various festivals.
Read more on Carlo’s blog for the Knitting Industry website where he regularly posts on anything he finds inspiring - emerging or established designer’s work, new yarns and exciting stitches.
tel : +44 (0)7983 970703
In the loop: Texprint 2012’s knitwear specialists
17 February 2013 by Editor
Knitwear continues its resurgence embraced by emerging designers who continue to transform its traditions into exciting contemporary textiles, both for fashion and interiors. Texprint 2012 revealed some wonderful work by talented newcomers.
RCA MA graduate Carlo Volpi scooped the Texprint 2012 Body prize for best fashion fabric. He describes himself as “a man who knits”, but this description downplays this imaginative designer’s clever, innovative output. His eclectic design references include the Italian Constructivists, the Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead, masks, superheroes and comic book characters. By creating bold and colourful menswear, Carlo harnesses traditional knit techniques in a fresh and eclectic manner. Alongside his freelance commissions, Carlo now writes a blog for www.knittingindustry.com
Carlo Volpi with Sarah Rutson and Ross Urwin of luxury retailer Lane Crawford HK
Japanese designer Azusa Dannohara creates dramatically colourful and sculptural knitted pieces. Her distinctive work is inspired by paganism, rituals and dance and plays with unusual colour combinations and mixed fibres such as merino wool and linen.
Azusa Dannohara on her stand at Indigo Paris
Catherine Hodgkinson’s accomplished designs are based on natural textures such as rocks and stones worn smooth through time, or gritty, earthy surfaces. Finely drawn observation work is translated into highly desirable fabrics through a sensitive selection of yarn and subtle colour. Catherine also adds devoréand discharge printing techniques to further add to the delicacy of her pieces.
Textile: ©Catherine Hodgkinson
Heriot Watt-trained knit specialist Charlotte Crombie’s work for domestic interiors was inspired by a trip to Zanzibar. Her final year collection, using lambswool and cashmere, was based on the decorative patterns and colours of Morocco.
Textile: ©Charlotte Crombie
The landscape of Guri Pedersen’s native Norway is a rich source of inspiration. References to national costume, folk traditions and the landscape are incorporated into a rich mix of textures and felting techniques that she mixes to create her highly distinctive knitted fabrics.
Sketchbook: ©Guri Pederson
Working her magic with knits for womenswear, MA graduate Sarah Burton takes a clever mixed media approach which results in rich and surprising textiles. Sarah - who has already been snapped up by textile design company Acorn Conceptual Textiles in Nottingham - incorporates decorative metal rings, hooks and buckles in her beautiful pieces created with silk, cotton and viscose.
Textile: ©Sarah Burton
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.
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.
New Horizons: Karina Klucnika
15 May 2012 by
Knitwear specialist Karina Klucnika has been very pro-active in seeking new work experience, and is currently interning for Stuart Peters Ltd, one of the UK’s leading knitwear suppliers. She says: “My current role is really varied, from creating knitwear CADs and trend boards to booking in test samples from suppliers, through to attending meetings with fashion buyers. I have learned more about how to communicate my ideas more successfully through 2D drawings, and gained invaluable knowledge of the various stages of garment production - from drawing to stitch and from yarn development to manufacturing. It is a very fast paced environment and I am always creating new pieces.
Karina Klucnika, recent work
“I really like the dynamic of my job - always doing something different, working on various collections at the same time. It has helped to keep my ideas current. In my personal work, I continue to develop my own projects - however, I want to have more time to play around, explore design possibilities and experiment more with raw materials, as this is where my passion lies.”
Looking back on her Texprint experience, Karina says: “Being selected for Texprint gave me confidence and assured me that I was doing the right thing by following my love for textiles. My work has been featured in the media and I met some really great, very talented people along the way – it’s a great honour to be part of Texprint’s alumni.”
Karina Klucnika, recent work
Karina’s advice to new graduates is clear: “Try to do as much work experience as possible. It will help you to gain and develop skills you won't gather at university, and enable you to make new contacts within the industry. You have to be pro-active, keep a positive attitude and be disciplined to pursue your goals.”
Leutton Postle: a dynamic fashion partnership
01 May 2012 by
Sam Leutton (Texprint alumna 2009) is now one half of a creative partnership formed with her long time friend Jenny Postle. Now working as Leutton Postle, the duo is currently working on their third season. Leutton Postle’s wonderfully rich and imaginative textiles define each piece in their inventive collection, and they describe their aesthetic as “awkward pretty”. They scooped the Vauxhall Fashion Scout Merit Award for their spring/summer 2012 collection during London Fashion Week in September 2011. We caught up with Sam to find out more:
Leutton Postle's creative collaboration
What made you decide to form a partnership - creating Leutton Postle? Jenny and I have been friends for ages, we both knit and we have a similar aesthetic in our work. When Jenny finished her MA (at CSM) I was freelancing and it was a natural progression for us to join forces.
You are both creative people with individual ideas – so how does the partnership work? We bring together our own personal ideas and inspirations, hash and re-hash them together and throw them in a kind of melting pot of knitting and textiles. The result is a fabric, a garment or a product that has a bit of both of us in it.
In practical terms – how do you divide up the essential non-creative tasks of running your own business? If we've got certain tasks that need doing we generally work on them together, or whoever is the most alert/least knackered takes over!
Can you describe a typical day at work? It starts with tea and lots of it. Jenny is very chirpy in the morning whereas I'm usually not human until noon. We're not massively organised, so each day is very different but usually involves a lot of emailing, the odd meeting and, if we're lucky, some making.
What inspires you in your work? Oh, all-sorts. We don't restrain ourselves by certain subjects in particular but in the end the last collection [autumn/winter 2012/13] came from a mulch of 1970s textiles and Nigerian appliqué techniques.
Leutton Postle textile detail
Do you have favourite materials that you work with? Where to start… we use anything up to 20 different yarns in a garment but I especially like a weird chenille which looks like rubber bands but feels like a Sylvanian Family character. I also love a fuzzy mohair, super shiny iridescent fabrics, and cords and tapes.
What is your vision for Leutton Postle’s future? To grow steadily and retain our creativity.
You graduated in 2009 and went to China – what were you doing and who were you working for? After graduation, I was offered the opportunity to work for Stoll, a German knitwear company. I worked in the design department developing knitted fabrics and garments.
What was it that first drew you to knitwear? I loved how I could make a whole new fabric with one continuous thread. And then be able to add in other fabrics; manipulating the knitted piece to create something new again. I did, and still do, find knitting quite amazing.
What qualities do you think are needed to be successful in knitwear design? Patience, lots of it. Learning to knit was very frustrating for me, so endurance too! But really a love for textiles and experimentation are good attributes to have.
What have been the significant moments in your career so far? Starting Leutton Postle; the emotional roller-coaster of creating a collection and the resulting shows. Also, Björk ordered pieces from our spring/summer 2012 collection. If we could choose one person in the world to wear our pieces it would be her - so for her to pick us is beyond flattering.
Harold Tillman and Texprint's Peter Ring-Lefevre with Sam Leutton at Indigo Paris 2009
What did being part of Texprint mean to you? It was flattering to be chosen to take part in Texprint. It gave me a great insight into the industry very soon after graduation. A highlight was exhibiting in Paris and being around like-minded textile designers.
Advice to new graduates? Relax, unwind and clear your head. For me, my career so far has happened very naturally but I think it's important to nurture relationships with people who are in the industry that you are in.
Advice to those just embarking on a textile or fashion degree? Be as creative as you can. On your degree you can do what you like and don’t be swayed by commerciality, so make the most of it!
What are your long-term plans? For Leutton Postle to continue and to get better and stronger. We want to continue to wow people. Other than that it would be great to open a crazy shop. I'd love to do more pieces specifically for performance. And I'd like to work on some non-fashion art work at some point.
Elena Munoz: a creative career in Paris
03 April 2012 by
Innovative knitwear designer Elena Munoz - Texprint Knit Prize winner 2010 - is now employed as an assistant knitwear designer at legendary French fashion brand Givenchy. Elena had previously gained a prestigious seven-month internship as an assistant knit designer for Balenciaga - another iconic Parisian fashion label. We catch up with Elena to find out more about these exciting developments in her career.
Congratulations on your wonderful new job as assistant knit designer at Givenchy – how did this come about? I did an internship at Balenciaga, and when this was coming to an end a designer from the company put me in contact with a Parisian headhunter who then got me the interview at Givenchy.
Elena Munoz, design from 2010
How was the interview process? After the first interview with the director of human resources at Givenchy, I was then invited for a second interview a few weeks later with the manager of womenswear. My portfolio was then shown for approval to the artistic director. The entire process took about two months.
Where are you based - and can you tell us about the studio environment? The studio is based in Paris above the Givenchy store on Avenue George V. Every department has its own distinct space: haute couture and its atelier, menswear, womenswear and accessories are divided into separate floors.
You won the Texprint Knit Prize in 2010 – what did that mean to you? Through Texprint I gained a lot of confidence in my work and in myself when liaising with buyers and networking. I think this is the best experience and the best help a textile design graduate can be given when finishing his or her studies. I am really grateful to all of the Texprint team. The advice was invaluable - how to best present your work to the industry, how to develop skills - such as creating relationships with clients, and of course valuing and pricing your work. It was an incredible opportunity to be given a stand to show and sell my work at Première Vision in Paris, and in Hong Kong.
What was the highlight of the Texprint process for you? Being selected for Texprint was a fantastic continuation of my studies because it led me directly into the professional world. I really enjoyed the Hong Kong trip. It was also great to meet and to exchange ideas with the other five Texprint special prize winners.
What did you do after Texprint? I interned for one season at Céline’s knit and jersey department in London. I was then commissioned to create some catwalk knit pieces for Guy Laroche, based on a sample they purchased from me at Première Vision. Then I was offered the internship at Balenciaga and moved to Paris.
Elena Munoz, design from 2010
What inspired you to choose knitwear as a discipline initially? I chose knit as my specialty because of the possibilities for three-dimensional creation and experimentation that the medium allows. The process of working and creating with knitting machines has always felt very natural to me.
What have been the most significant moments in your career path so far? Being accepted into Central Saint Martins to study knitwear (after business studies in my native Madrid) was really a turning point for me. It made me strive to always push boundaries within my creative field. Moving to London from Spain was a great cultural experience and was a key factor for me in deciding to combine textiles with fashion. A further significant moment was being selected for Texprint - a great showcase to present my work internationally.
After London, it just felt natural to move to Paris in order to continue to develop my passion for knitwear. I have been given great opportunities to experience the expertise of some great Parisian design studios. Today I’m very happy to be part of such a prestigious fashion house.
What is your advice to new graduates? Develop your networking skills because you need them! Get in contact with agents or headhunters to help you to find a job, and try to gain as much experience as you can as an intern or by freelancing to build a strong portfolio. Never stop doing what you like most.
And to students embarking on a degree? Work hard and enjoy these years as much as you can. Remember that it’s only by pushing yourself that you get the most interesting outcomes.
What are your plans for the future? It’s difficult to project ahead to the future, but whatever I am doing - I hope to always apply the same passion and the same energy.
Egle Vaituleviciute’s Indian inspiration
18 March 2012 by
Knitwear specialist Egle Vaituleviciute (Texprint 2011) recently exhibited her latest creative project at the Construction Gallery in Tooting Bec, London - a super-sized weave created from her knitted ‘strands’ - the ends dipped into liquid pots of vibrantly coloured dye which soaked up the colour over time.
Egle creating her exhibit at the Construction Gallery
This latest work is just one of the outcomes of a seven-week trip to India as part of an educational project organised by Chelsea College of Art & Design and the Institute of Fine Art in Modi Nagar, India.
Egle was selected as one of two textile graduates for her creativity and research skills. The graduates travelled to India to share their skills and experience with fashion & textile students at the Indian institution.
Detail of Egle's dip-dyed piece
Egle explains: “This trip has been a life changing experience for me. I found India such a fantastic place for inspiration. I gathered so many resources in seven weeks that this will sustain me for at least a year! I learned such a lot more about textile techniques – tie-dye, dip dye, block printing - and made some great contacts. This experience has inspired me to create more exciting work, pushing the boundaries of knit and incorporating processes such as block printing.
Egle creating her exhibit at the Construction Gallery
Added to this, I loved the colours, smells and the great, warm welcome I found in this fascinating place – a world away from the stresses of London. I loved the way that people in India find the time for the enjoyments in life – I got my energy back.”
In August 2012 Egle is due to start a 12-month design internship with Tan House, a company based in Hong Kong that she made contact with while exhibiting with Texprint at Spinexpo, Shanghai last year.
Quinton Chadwick; covetable contemporary knitwear
17 September 2011 by
Texprint alumna Jessica Quinton and her business partner Jane Chadwick form the successful independent knitwear brand Quinton Chadwick. Their relaxed, contemporary women’s knitwear is hand crafted and features quirky, unusual detailing that sets the brand apart. Trading successfully for 12 years, in addition to an online shop, the covetable pieces are also currently stocked in Fenwick, Heal’s and the Tate Gallery shops.
The friends, both knitwear specialists, joined forces in 1999, united in their mutual frustration of the gap they perceived between big catwalk statement pieces and dull, mass produced ‘collection fillers’. Their ethos is rooted in their desire, “to create beautiful, pieces that are full of character – to love and to keep”. All their pieces are hand knitted, using small co-operatives in the UK; the beautiful quality of their fabrics and the impeccable finish of the final garments defines their handwriting.
Fusing their talents and skills as Quinton Chadwick, the brand quickly made an impact with many independent boutiques as well as pieces being snapped up by Liberty, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. They began exporting, showing the range in Paris in 2003, and were so successful they scooped a UK Fashion Exports small business design award the following year. They exhibit at Premiere Classe, (the prestigious up-market accessories fair in Paris), and this has helped them expand and consolidate their growing Japanese market.
The partners both racked up substantial commercial experience before they set up their own venture: this accumulated knowledge has undoubtedly proved invaluable. Jessica Quinton exhibited with Texprint after graduating from the RCA in 1987. She landed a design job with Missoni, living in Italy for over two years. Returning to the UK, Jessica joined Osborne & Little and also freelanced for brands as diverse as designer Nicole Farhi and high street chain Warehouse. Jane Chadwick studied in Scotland at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art before completing an MA at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She then created her own knitwear label as well as setting up an independent forecasting consultancy. The pair met while teaching part time – something they both still enjoy and commit themselves to – Jessica at Central Saint Martins and Jane at Kingston University.
The designers have honed their working relationship, sharing the design and creative process, with Jessica involved more with finance and order processing and Jane co-ordinating production and working with their knitters. They are riding the recession, having established a core of loyal customers, and developing the strengths they have in controlling their own UK based production. They see new possibilities in developing a flexible, bespoke service.
Jessica’s advice to new graduates wishing to emulate their success is this: “I would always advise working for a company to get commercial experience before setting up on your own. And don’t do it unless you are a pretty determined person, with a very ‘can do’ attitude. Then be prepared for some late nights and even some serious knock-backs – as well as the fun and excitement of launching your own label.”
Watch out for a planned Quinton Chadwick Christmas pop-up shop and an expanded online store coming soon.
The Texprint 24: 2011’s new knit specialists
19 August 2011 by
The knitted textile designers selected to take part in this year’s Texprint programme take a thoroughly modern approach to their work using unexpected sources of inspiration and a mixture of techniques including over-printing, bleaching, appliqué and the creation of new yarns and structures to produce beautiful, innovative textiles
Catherine Tremellen (RCA MA) creates fresh, clever, contemporary knits that exude relaxed sophistication. Catherine is inspired by the random, unusual colour combinations she finds in thrift shops and in piles of stacked books and magazines. She uses a palette of soft yet bright, sketchy colour in her lovely striped knit collection, which she enhances by over-printing, bleaching and foiling. Catherine also creates scarves, shawls and throws, her work having application to both fashion and interiors. In October 2010 her knitwear was featured in a Liberty of London window display as part of the launch of the Campaign for Wool.
Chelsea College of Art graduate Egle Vaituleviciute is inspired by British heritage and architecture. Her meticulous approach entails spinning her own yarns. Her finished pieces are cleverly crafted and engineered to avoid wastage. Egle’s attitude to her work exemplifies the spirit of many designers selected for Texprint, who are blurring the boundaries between their specialist areas. She says, “I love the creative process and I am inspired to explore and experiment with different mediums and to incorporate different disciplines into my design work”.
Harri Batty from Buckinghamshire New University has an inventive approach resulting in exciting, decorative, and daring knits. Harri first creates a story rooted in fantasy and then fuses random visual elements of this together to create the ideas for her ‘hybrid’ structures. Her recent work is inspired by architecture and birds, creating unusual and imaginative structures and garment shapes.Harri’s design interests include photography, fashion and illustration. Her process has a focus on hand drawn imagery, she says, “it can be a fantastic tool for development and fashion ideas”.
Finally, Karina Klucnika creates wonderfully tactile knits that are inspired by woodland flora and fauna. Marl yarns and subtle, sophisticated textured surfaces evoke the richness of the natural world. Karina is also drawn to embroidery, and has created some impressive stitched textiles using appliqué with hand and machine embroidery. Her preferred palette encompasses sea blues, soft greys and muted earth tones inspired by the northern European landscape where she grew up. Now settled in London, Karina graduated recently from London Metropolitan University where she scooped the 2011 Martin Kemp Prize for Innovation in 3D Design, as well as a first class degree.
All four of these talented knitwear specialists were selected by SPINEXPO to showcase their work in the Pulse area of the international fibre and yarn show held in Shanghai, 6 - 8 September. Additionally, as part of the Texprint 24 they will also present their work at Indigo, Paris, part of Première Vision Pluriel, September20 – 22. While in Paris their work will be judged for the Texprint Woolmark Award, presented by the renowned designer, Agnes B.
Angela Cassidy: clean lines create a path to success
09 June 2011 by
Texprint alumna Angela Cassidy creates modern, elegant yet timeless women’s knitwear and is now into the third season with her own label. In 2010, she scooped the Scottish Fashion Award for Textile Brand of the Year, just months after launching her company.
Angela’s inspiration is drawn from a wide array of sources, particularly clean lines and architecture. She especially loves experimenting with yarn and techniques as the creation of the textiles are at the heart of her work, rather than being overly influenced by current trends and fashion.
Prior to setting up her business, Angela worked with established designers and collaborated on various projects, building up her knowledge of the industry. Today her pieces are stocked by retailers including the prestigious boutique Browns in London and she is soon to export to Japan.
Angela loves the freedom of being her own boss and the scope it allows her to develop a personal vision. However, she points out that only around 30% of her time is currently spent creatively. Being a small concern she also has to focus on sales, production, delivery, PR, marketing and essential administration. Her plans for the future are to consolidate her brand while expanding and strengthening her skills.
For new graduates Angela has this advice: “Realise your strengths and understand that nothing is really a wasted experience. You learn from both good and bad choices and the lessons you learn will shape your future. You can only make your decisions on what feels right at the time.”
Laura McPherson - new concepts in knitwear
13 May 2011 by
Laura McPherson, a Texprint alumna from 2009, recently exhibited some of her innovative knit pieces with Li Edelkoort’s Talking Textiles initiative at the Milan Furniture Fair. Laura’s work challenges perceptions of knitwear and her pieces regularly illustrate future trend forecasting publications. Most recently she has worked on concepts for spring summer 2013 for East Central Studios.
After completing her MA at the RCA, Laura worked for Missoni in Italy, before returning to the UK. She now divides her time between freelance design work and teaching. Laura says:“I love the versatility of knitting and pushing the properties of yarn and colour to create 3D forms. I’m also passionate about photography and use a lot of my own images as inspiration. My MA work began with looking at blurred and distorted images that show the breakdown of movement - the way that a moment in time is captured through photography. I explored the transcendence between solid and distorted forms, focusing on transparent layers, blurred edges and displaced pattern.”
Alongside her freelance work Laura has been a Teaching Fellow at the University of Leeds, and also teaches at Manchester Metropolitan University and Winchester School of Art, passing on her skills and insight to future knitwear designers. Her advice to new graduates is simple: “Be pro-active! Jobs will very rarely land on your lap and it is important to pursue (and follow up) all job or freelance possibilities in a confident and professional manner.”
She says: “After my BA I sent out many letters and CVs and just waited to receive responses. I regret not understanding how the industry works better and not having the confidence to pursue people. Now, I would certainly not expect a quick response from the first email or letter and I will always follow up, as many people are just genuinely too busy or have forgotten to reply. Also, having a year in industry between my BA and MA is definitely something that I would recommend. That experience made a big difference to me in way I studied and developed at the RCA. Doing an MA is a big commitment and it is very important that you do it when it’s the right time for you.”
Laura’s considerable array of accolades includes the Kay Cosserat Scholarship prize while at the RCA, as well as a trend prediction prize given by WGSN and she was a finalist of the Society of Dyers and Colourists’ colour award.
Emma Bradbury - designs for Daks at London Fashion Week
13 March 2011 by
Texprint caught up with another of 2010’s stars, Emma Bradbury, who has been madly busy working on a number of exciting projects. Most recently Emma has been working with London based brand Daks on their latest Womenswear collection which was shown at London Fashion Week last month.
This great opportunity evolved from Emma’s success in a Daks sponsored design competition, whilst at the RCA. She has designed and made a range of sweaters, scarves and other separates to fit in with Daks 'British Heritage' theme. This commission was a perfect fit for Emma, she told us,” It was a great project which brought together my love of traditional knitting techniques, British heritage, design and fashion. It was very exciting to see my work on the catwalk at Somerset House!”
Emma’s designs for Daks utilised some top quality British yarns, including Shetland and Blue Faced Leicester wool. She was able to work directly with Yorkshire based spinners, Laxons, who created a bespoke British yarn for her as part of the project. She hopes that the successful collaboration with Daks will continue, but she is also working with Orkney based design company, 'Tait and Style' on a new collection of scarves and accessories.
As part of the Texprint showcase at Indigo, Paris, Emma was also approached by New York based company, Kate Spade, who snapped up some of her designs. She says, “I’m very much looking forward to see how they use my designs in their collection”. She added, “Being chosen for Texprint 2010 has been an invaluable experience. The support, encouragement and advice given by the Texprint team has been extremely important to me in these first few months since graduating, and has provided me with professional skills regarding pricing, negotiating and invoicing”.
To contact Emma or to find out more about her recent projects