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Texprint in new creative skills initiative
29 July 2014 by Roger Tredre
Job opportunities for young textile and print designers look set to improve thanks to a new partnership between government and industry supported by Texprint.
The new initiative, backed by the UK government, could be hugely beneficial for young textile and print designers seeking to launch their careers.
The concept works like this: The government will provide funding for up to £183,000 to Texprint over the next two years, with roughly half of that money allocated specifically for a paid internship scheme for up to 20 designers.
For each designer, the government will contribute £4,750 on condition that the sum is matched by the employer. That means subsidised internships worth £9,500.
The concept is known as the Employer Ownership Pilot Round 2 (EOP2), a rather unwieldy title that disguises the bold and important nature of the initiative. The UK government likes to point out that the UK creative industries generate £71bn in revenue each year and support 1.71m jobs. Business Secretary Vince Cable says: "The creative industries play a key role in the UK economy."
Designer Emma J Shipley, a high-profile alumna of Texprint, says: "This is fantastic news for Texprint and means they’ll be able to offer even more support for talented textile graduates. Internships are one of the best ways of starting out in the industry and it’s also a huge opportunity for businesses to benefit from the very best in new textile design talent.”
Shipley found herself hobnobbing with government ministers at the high-profile launch at Channel 4 on July 14. The ministers were a little nervy – jumpy even. There was an explanation: Prime Minister David Cameron was in the middle of his Cabinet reshuffle. That's why Ed Vaizey, Culture Minister, and Matthew Hancock, Minister for Skills & Enterprise, were never far from their mobile phones while they waited for updates.
We learned later that both 'survived' the reshuffle – indeed, they prospered. Vaizey's role has been expanded to include digital industries, while Hancock has celebrated a promotion to Minister of State for Business, Enterprise and Energy.
That they took time out on the eve of learning about their new roles emphasised the importance of the initiative, which they have both championed. David Abrahams, chief executive of Channel 4, which is leading the project of behalf of over 400 creative industry partners in the scheme, explained that the initiative is creating internships right across the creative sector. "It's a fragmented set of industries that has [previously] struggled to speak to government with one voice... This is the largest collaboration ever achieved across the creative industries."
David Abrahams, chief executive of Channel 4
Now Texprint is reaching out to companies right across the textiles sector to support the initiative. Barbara Kennington, Texprint chairman, said: "We're very pleased that the value of textile design has been recognised by Create UK... Over the next two years up to 20 design graduates will be matched with both UK and international manufacturers and retailers to expand their hands-on experience of the industry."
At the heart of the initiative is a collective desire to see the widest diversity of young textile design graduates develop careers in the industry. Overnight success is not on offer: it's about enabling designers to gain a foothold in their chosen career. Government minister Matthew Hancock acknowledges that the first step in a career is always the toughest. The transition from university or college to work is exceptionally demanding. "It's hard to get a job without having been in a job."
British Textiles in Action
20 September 2013 by Editor
Textiles glitterati gathered at the British Embassy Paris on 17th September for a high profile reception hosted by UK Trade & Investment in partnership with UKFT and with thanks to The Woolmark Company and The Campaign For Wool. HRH Prince Charles gave a specially recorded speech in support of the evening and the British textile industry and wool.
Texprint 2013 designers Taslima Sultana, Katy Birchall, Cherica Haye, Ffion Griffith, Luise Martin, and Gillian Louise Murphy were there, mingling with many of the UK and International textile industry’s top players.
Kirsty Carey, MD of Liberty Design, with Peter Ring-Lefevre, Texprint creative director
Guests at the reception, Anne Tyrrell MBE centre
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!”
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
ComOn: creativity week and internships
08 November 2012 by Editor
More than ever supporting graduate designers through properly structured internships is invaluable in helping them fast track their experience and commercial understanding.
The Italian trade organisation Confindustria Como represents a core of 300 Como-based textile companies and is responsible for organizing ComOn, a unique multi-disciplinary enterprise aimed at supporting promising young talent in the areas of fashion, design and art by offering real work experience in industry in the Lake Como area of Italy.
Their continued sponsorship of Texprint has this year provided an invaluable and unforgettable experience for six talented Texprint 2012 designers selected to participate in the ComOn creativity week, held October 15 to 20. Alice Howard-Graham, Manri Kishimoto, Sophie Manners, Israel Parra-Zanabria, Sophie Reeves and Amber Sambrook travelled to Como for a series of presentations, workshops and visits to some of Italy’s most prestigious mills. They joined a larger group of graduate designers from Europe and Brazil, 22 in total.
Israel, Alice, Manri, Sophie Manners, Sophie Reeves and Amber
The designers' experience gathering included visits to the silk museum, Centro Tessile Serico, and to Ratti (Texprint supporters) and Canepa to view their state-of-the-art production facilities and their inspiring textile archives; also to the Missoni and Ermenegildo Zegna headquarters. Trend leader Li Edelkoort introduced her s/s 2014 trends.
The ComOn creativity-sharing workshop Last Century, Next Century Icons was a highlight. Working in groups the designers shared their thinking and decision-making; presenting their conclusions to inspirational workshop leader David Shah, publisher of Textile View magazine, and ultimately to local industry heads on huge banners at a gala dinner at Villa Erba (once home to film producer Luchino Visconti).
Peter Ring-Lefevre, Texprint’s creative director said: “David Shah's involvement was so energizing, his fantastic interaction with the young designers got them thinking in very new ways. Hopefully the presentations back to industry equally energised the design professionals involved.”
Sophie Manners and Israel talking with Barbara Majocchi of ComOn
Moda di Mare, the swimwear show held annually in Cannes, ran a workshop in collaboration with ComOn: the designers presenting specially created work to several swimwear manufacturers. We were delighted to hear that two out of the three winners were Texprint designers: Manri Kishimoto and Israel Parra-Zanabria. All three winners were invited to attend the exhibition in Cannes 6-8 November and to design the Moda di Mare trend area.
Giuseppina Shah of View Publications with Israel and Manri at Moda di Mare
The six Texprint designers have now embarked on seven-week internships with major Como-based textile companies: Alice Howard-Graham (print) with Canepa, Manri Kishimoto (print/multi-media) with Taiana, Sophie Manners (weave) with Taroni, Israel Parra-Zanabria (print) with Rotary Textiles, Sophie Reeves (weave) with Luigi Verga, and Amber Sambrook (print) with Argenti.
Our thanks to all these companies for providing the designers with this unique opportunity to experience working in textiles in Italy.
Texprint London 2012 resource seminar
24 July 2012 by
For the first time Texprint extended its Texprint London event to include a Resources Seminar held exclusively for invited tutors from the UK's leading textile design programmes. Three speakers each gave a different focus on future trends in colour, fibre and style.
Philippa Watkins, senior lecturer in weave and Honorary Fellow of the RCA, says: "The seminar I felt was a great add-on to the Texprint London show. The three presentations gave very useful insights into different aspects of the business – ultimately of great benefit to their students. Lecturers really don’t often get the opportunity to spend time taking in seasonal forecasts such as the WGSN presentation, so when the opportunity arises it’s great. I was particularly impressed by Pantone’s presentation as I had only a sketchy idea of the scope of their work and the science behind colour matching. And The Woolmark Company have done a great deal recently to raise the profile of wool, so the beautiful presentation really helps get the wool message out there."
Carola Seybold of Pantone X-Rite talked about managing colour accuracy in the digital age. Apparently 65% of all our purchasing decisions involve colour. Not surprisingly, in the fashion industry, getting the colour right has a critical impact on the bottom line of profit and much research goes into tracking and developing colour for all manner of products. She noted that although technology has changed much in our lives, the way we work with colour remains essentially the same.
As an aside, Joanna Bowring, Texprint's sponsorship director, and founder member of the British Textile Colour Group which since 1978 has represented the UK at Intercolor, the International Commission for Colour, says: "Colour communicates without language, is the most important element in buying decisions and its effective use is one of the key selection criteria for successful Texprint candidates.”
The Texprint prize for Colour is generously sponsored by Pantone X-Rite which also gives all four winners of the Texprint awards a complimentary Pantone Guide for Color & Home.
Carola Seybold, Helen Palmer and Barbara Kennington chairman of Texprint
Helen Palmer, head of materials and knit at WGSN, presented macro trends for autumn/winter 2013/14. By tracking the fast changing and influential aspects of life - art, architecture, music, technology and nature, among other elements – and analysing this intelligence, WGSN is able to confidently predict the future directions followed by many of the world’s major brands, retailers and designers.
Inspired by the natural world, WGSN’s first trend direction, Living Design, pointed to simple sculptural silhouettes that combine personality, quirkiness and humour, and that marry hard and soft materials. Creating a mood of dark drama, 21st Century Romance sees classic styling reinvented by combining new technology with traditional and often ornate decoration. Old master paintings inspire the colour palettes. Finally, Hacktivate is an exciting, casualwear trend that takes inspiration from DIY, sportswear and customisation, bolting different elements together to create seriously playful products.
WGSN is a Foundation Sponsor of Texprint and gives each of the 24 selected designers free access for one year to www.wgsn.com
Finally, Rebecca Sharp UK country manager of The Woolmark Company talked about the resurgence in the popularity of wool, noting that Merino wool with its long fibres and natural crimp is especially prized for its luxury feel and natural softness and warmth. Recent campaigns - including The Campaign for Cool Wool and successful initiatives such as the International Woolmark Prize for Young Designers and The Texprint Woolmark Prize in support of Campaign for Wool - mean the fibre is now back as a firm favourite with designers, retailers and the public. Wool's long held but newly recognised eco-credentials have helped to strengthen this popularity - it is natural, biodegradable and renewable.
The Woolmark Texprint Award in support of Campaign for Wool will be judged and presented at Indigo, Paris, in September. The Woolmark Company is a Foundation Sponsor of Texprint.
All three companies welcomed this unique opportunity to talk directly with textile tutors, and through them, to raise awareness of their brands and ethos and elevate the knowledge of textile design students.
In Kind Sponsors Arts Thread and Lectra were also on hand to talk about their services and products. Our thanks to Chelsea College of Art & Design for kindly allowing us use of the lecture theatre.
The Selection Process 2012 – in conversation with prize judge Neisha Crosland
06 July 2012 by
Neisha Crosland established her textile design label in 1994 and is best known for her wallpaper and fabric designs. She also applies her style to stationary, tiles, scarves, fine china, rugs as well as home and fashion accessories for Hankyu Department Stores in Japan. Her body of work has propelled her to the forefront of UK design, and in 2006 she was honoured with the title of Royal Designer for Industry. Open, frank and passionate about design, Neisha shares with us her route to creating an international design brand and the importance for designers to experience the world first-hand.
What and where did you study before doing an MA in printed textiles at the Royal College of Art? I took a foundation in art at Central and then two terms of graphics at Camberwell. I wanted to paint but my father didn’t understand ‘art school’ and I had to do something that would give me a qualification to get a job. I chose graphics as it was fine art-based. One project was to illustrate a Dylan Thomas story and I made a 3D build up of card. The tutor said it would be printed in 2D and I would need to translate it, think about typefaces... I lost enthusiasm.
Why did you switch to textile design? I went to see an exhibition on William Morris and the Kelmscott Press at the V&A Museum and got lost in the textile department. I saw Ottoman Empire textiles with bold tulips that were abstract and simple and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
The textile design course at Camberwell is fine art-based. Yes, there’s a lot of drawing. You mix your own dyes, crunch up beetles for red, mix up gum Arabic to glue the fabric to the print tables, make your own screens... I learned to understand the alchemy of the process which hasn’t left me. When I went to the RCA I kept experimenting.
Did you launch your own range straight after graduating from the RCA? In the first hour of my degree show I received a commission from Osborne & Little. I had printed on old velvet curtains which gave them a medieval spirit. They invited me in to do a collection with this look. I learned the whole process, from great idea to the marketplace. It’s important to know how a 2D design will translate onto cloth. It’s the step in between that makes it work. I am interested in that end look.
Which led you to create your own scarf brand? Scarves were an experiment in rectangles with cloths that didn’t need rub or colourfastness tests. There were no production minimums. I worked with velvets, playing with the design at the Belford Prints factory. I was asked by Debenhams to do diffusion line; my designs would cost £20 rather than £250 at Harrods. When pashminas came in and I started to work in cashmere but they cost a fortune to sample and were not commercially viable – I still have boxes of the prototypes.
And you decided to diversify into wallpaper and furnishing fabrics? I did not need to borrow money from a bank; my father died and I inherited a bit of money, otherwise I don’t think I could have done it. I built a brand name. Which led to a contract with the Japanese department store Hankyu, and it paid an advance royalty. Then the Rug Company came along. Everything I do now is under licence. But I had to go through that first, painful bit.
And now you design for a multitude of objects. I put 52 designs a year on different products. Some might be the same, but I do a lot of work with the right partners with the right sensitivities to translate and proportion the design for a rug or an espresso cup. It takes a lot of studio time. I just don’t hand out the designs, I mother hen them to the final product.
As a judge, what will you look for in the work of Texprint’s prize winners? I’ll be looking individuality, idiosyncrasies and an aesthetic personal to them. With digital printing you can put anything on a cloth, a million colours doesn’t cost any more. Colour separation is a skill. I’ll be looking for sensitivity, not just taking a cool image and plonking it on a cloth.
What is your advice to new designers? Don’t be influenced by the high street. People are lazy. There’s a big difference between sourcing a mountain scape on Google and going to it. Something happens with your brain when you experience things first hand rather than through a screen, you’ll get that extra something that feeds into your work. I almost want to take computer screens away. When you look at 17th century French Huguenot silks by James Leman or Anna Maria Garthwaite, you can see fantasies and brilliant drawing skills. We will never go back to that nor should we but we must not lose sight of the good things from the past and join them with the new. The act of hand drawing out these fantasies takes time we no longer can afford but the process of drawing and dreaming brings a wonderful meditative process - we must not lose sight of either.
The Selection Process 2012 – in conversation with prize judge Caroline Burstein
04 July 2012 by
Caroline Burstein is creative director at the designer clothing store Browns Fashion and founder of the luxury bath and body range Molton Brown. Founded by her parents, the legendary Joan and Sidney Burstein, over 40 years ago, Browns is renowned for discovering new talents, such as John Galliano, Comme des Garçons and Hussein Chalayan. Browns was the first store in the UK to stock some of fashion’s biggest names including Armani, Ralph Lauren and Jil Sander through its boutiques centered around London’s South Molton Street. We discuss the value of supporting the next generation of designers and what she hopes to see at Texprint London 2012.
Browns is known as a champion of new designers. Why is it important to support new textile design graduates? Talented people in all fields are born to create - it is a gift that they possess and it has to be expressed. Their talent contributes to the pleasures of life and it has to be supported, nurtured and respected. Textile graduates are no exception, their contribution to design cannot be underestimated.
Do you think textile designers are overshadowed by fashion designers because one creates a finished product and the other may be further along the supply chain? I do believe that this is so. People generally do not consider what goes into a print or a weave, the thought, the skill, the inspiration and the love. This is no doubt because we all live our lives on a fast and superficial level. In the fashion world the media always focuses on the designer and end product when often the very thing that has made the collection strong is the textile design. You see this everywhere right now as colour and print are so in evidence.
Browns has selected the work of some of Texprint’s alumni – such as Clare Tough and Emma JShipley – what do you look for when you work with new designers, do you consider business know-how as well as creative flair? I am always looking for excellence, for an individual point of view, also the energy and personality of the person behind the work is important - right energy and attitude counts for a lot. A basic business knowledge is necessary but it can be learned and if not the artist should have someone beside them that they can trust with that knowledge to guide them through.
Why do British art and design schools produce such extraordinary talents in fashion and textiles – regardless of where they come from originally? I think that our colleges in Britain have always nurtured experimentation – they are not afraid of the new, in fact they seek it and embrace it. Our tutors are all creative talents themselves and encourage students to reach out as far as they can. Today more than ever with so many foreign students the rich range of influences is even stronger with more and more diverse cultures bringing their creative force together under the umbrella of our colleges. I have noticed and experienced that a creative person living here, and in London especially, can have the 'space' to explore their own individuality without being necessarily judged and this is not to be underestimated.
What advice would you give someone graduating in fashion and textile design this year? Keep going and keep creating no matter what. The design fields are always hungry for good work. Get as much experience as you can. Be happy in yourself above all.
As a special prize judge, what are you hoping to see in the work of the 24 designers? What excites you in textile design, is it use of technology, use of colour, texture, drawing skill or...? It is all of the above. It is what speaks to me. I am hoping to be moved almost to tears, to be delighted and excited, to have an intuitive and instinctive response to a beautiful and special piece of work whether it is through an amazing technological breakthrough or simply a perfect piece of needlepoint, if the work has that X factor to make a mark and stand out then that is what I am looking for. I just don't want to be bored!
Texprint 40th anniversary dinner at Coutts
12 March 2012 by Editor
Texprint marked its 40th anniversary with a dinner courtesy of Coutts on Wednesday 8 March, 2012 at the bank’s head office on the Strand, London.
Hosted by Texprint’s chairman Barbara Kennington, the evening – the first such event held by Texprint - celebrated the Texprint programme which supports the best of British-trained textile graduates. The guests included many of Texprint’s sponsors, leading designers, educators and industry heads, including Sir Terence Conran, chairman of the BFC and Jaeger/Aquascutum Harold Tillman CBE, Caroline Burstein of legendary fashion store Browns and CEO of Whistles Jane Shepherdson.
Left: Sue Timney, Centre: Joanna Bowring (Texprint), Gill Gledhill (GGHQ), Anne Tyrrell MBE, Right: Professor Clare Johnston, Luigi Turconi (Ratti)
Following a champagne reception in Coutts’ boardroom, lined with hand-painted Chinese wallpaper c. 1793, the guests enjoyed a relaxed dinner, learning first-hand how Texprint helps launch the careers of new textile creatives from Texprint alumni including Michael Angove, Kirsty McDougall of Dashing Tweeds, William Crighton of Marks & Spencer, Natasha Muraskzo of Stella McCartney and Andrew Stevenson of Tom Ford International.
In her introduction, Barbara said: "Texprint serves to remind us how very important it is to encourage and support textile innovation and design, and that the textile is the very foundation on which so many of our design businesses are built..."
Among the supporters present were George Pulman QC of the Haberdashers’ Company, Peter Ackroyd MBE of Woolmark, Catriona Macnab of WGSN, Sean Ryan of Paul Smith, Anne Tyrrell MBE, Julius Schofield MBE, John Snowdon of Worshipful Company of Weavers, designer Sue Timney, and Luigi Turconi of Italian printer Ratti.
Left: Harold Tillman CBE, David Shah, Right: Alan Marshall (Coutts), Emma Mawston (Liberty Art Fabrics)
Textile education leaders were represented by Professors Jane Rapley OBE of Central St Martins, Clare Johnston of the Royal College of Art, and Kay Politowicz of Chelsea College of Art & Design.
David Shah, publisher of View magazine, who gave the after dinner speech, had his audience grimacing, laughing and listening in equal measure to his hold-no-punches take on the fashion market and the value of textile design as the bedrock of the industry.
Left: Jane Shepherdson, Caroline Nodder (Drapers), Scarlet Oliver (Clothworkers' Foundation), Right: David Eaton (Eyefix HK), Anne Tyrrell MBE
Barbara says: “I would particularly like to thank Harry Keogh, Alan Marshall and Maria Suckling of Coutts for their support and generosity. The evening gave us an invaluable opportunity to show our appreciation for the continued support of our sponsors. Also the chance to demonstrate Texprint’s new mindset - we are finding new ways to work with industry - innovative textile design is an important element in success and Texprint can help companies explore the possibilities.”
Guiseppina Shah (View Publications), Peter Ring-Lefevre (Texprint), Barbara Majocchi (ComON Italy), Luigi Turconi (Ratti)