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ComOn: the designer’s view from Como

20 November 2014 by Roger Tredre

Screen archives at Ratti

Eight Texprint designers enjoyed seven-week internships this autumn at the heart of Como with some of the finest textile companies in Italy. It's part of the ComOn Creativity Sharing initiative, now in its eighth year. We summarise what they got up to and asked one Texprint designer, Frieda Peppercorn, for her feedback.

From left: Ailis Dewar, James Skinner, Charlotte Beevor, Frieda Peppercorn, Jane Zhang and Charlotte Kidger

The Italian companies that generously invited Texprint designers included Erica, Setere Argenti, I.S.A., Canepa, Lisa, Taiana, Tiare and Boselli. Chiara Pozzi of Textra, who is on the ComOn select committee, came to Texprint London earlier this year to personally select the eight. Texprint creative director Peter Ring-Lefevre once again coordinated and supported the designers on their trip.

Enjoying an Italian gelato!

Texprint designer Frieda Peppercorn says: "My internship was at Argenti, a digital printing company which is a short bus ride away from Como. They print for everyone from high end to high street brands. It was quite a contrast to my usual work because I was designing solely on Photoshop. It was so great to see the work all printed out once I had finished. It's so fast paced – a huge factory churning out print after print."

She adds: "The work I produced may be presented to their clients in the next few weeks, so I could potentially see my designs in the shops next summer. This whole trip has opened my eyes to the textile manufacturing world as I really had no knowledge and experience of it."

Another Texprint designer, Ailis Dewar, enjoyed herself too: "I have absolutely loved my time in Como and I am very sad to be leaving. I was working with Tiare, which specialises in high-end technical woven and printed fabrics and has a star-studded clientele! I started getting to know past collections in the archives of the company and researching upcoming trends, then moved on to factory trips and fabric/yarn meetings. The last month has been spent heavily involved in the S/S16 collection, creating hand-drawn designs and colourways. The experience has given me a very structured insight into the design process at industry level."

Designers preparing for their Creativity Week presentation

One of the highlights of the interning is the Creativity Week, part of ComOn, which opened on October 6 with various workshops and launching 'Poems written on Paper Boats' on Lake Como. There were visits to Ratti and Canepa with their internationally highly regarded textile archives and printing facilities. A Streetscape3 Art project was launched involving local artists making art installations, sculptures and huge wall paintings around Como streets and buildings.

Streetscape

Frieda Peppercorn says: "Creativity Week was great fun. I loved visiting Ratti, such a fantastic place, so vast and so passionate about new and exciting printing and weaving techniques. We could see lots of drawing and painting going on in the design offices. It was so fascinating to see the vast production using more or less the same machinery and techniques that we have at university, but of course on a much larger scale and just a little more high tech!"

She notes: "I also loved visiting Curve Pericolose which was a small lingerie design studio, just a few rooms where they design and produce prototypes. Such a successful business all situated in this little house. I love the variety of textile manufacturing here, from  vast factories like Ratti to small studios like Curve Pericolose."

Cristina Vigano of Argenti, and part of the ComOn team, organised once again an exhibition of innovative fashion garments and accessories created by Como fashion schools and displayed in the Antonio Ratti Cultural Space.

With Margherita Rosina at the Antonio Ratti Foundation archives

The Creative Sharing programme for the interns included visits to the Como Silk Museum, Antonio Ratti Foundation and archives where there was a retrospective on Emilio Pucci. Other highlights included a TrendsOn presentation by Nelly Rodi's Paris office and a visit to Serico's textile lab offices.

Emilio Pucci retrospective on show at Antonio Ratti Foundation

Texprint designers also joined ComOn designers from other countries for a two-day seminar run by David Shah, publisher of Textile View magazine and a well-known industry consultant who has long supported Texprint. This year's challenge from David was 'Nostalgia'. Each designer was asked in advance to prepare and present their four chosen 'Nostalgia' subjects from 1920 to 1990. Four groups were then created across nationalities, each with a tutor steering the proceedings. David reworked these groups into four based on similar cultural backgrounds: the British, the Northern Europeans and two Italian groups. The results were later presented by David under the title, 'The Passion for Nostalgia', at a ComOn event at the Chamber of Commerce.

Working with David Shah

For Frieda, the project was another highlight of the trip. "David really got us thinking. The task was very tricky: it was a really good exercise trying to think about what the world will be like in 20 years time."

Peter Ring-Lefevre of Texprint concludes: "The Como textile industry has really set a world-class precedent in organising some 20 internships for young textile graduates. The global textile industry should take note of the success of this initiative. This kind of relationship is crucial for the industry's future, ensuring a constant flow of raw, bold and innovative textile creativity."

Archives at Canepa

Article tags: general (60), sponsors (30), como (4), texprint 2014 (16), internships (3)

Diary: Intertextile Shanghai October 2014

09 November 2014 by Roger Tredre

From left: Julie Davies (The Woolmark Company), Joanna Bowring (Texprint) and Chen Xi (Zhe Jiang Uni)

Sponsorship Director Joanna Bowring led five Texprint prize winners to exhibit at Intertextile Shanghai in October with the support of the event's organiser Messe Frankfurt (HK) and The Woolmark Company. Here's her diary of a busy few days.

Yoty and Nustar, from Zhe Jiang University of Media and Communication, with Joanna Bowring

Setting-up day – Sunday October 19

Arrived at the show around 11.30, registered myself and the Chinese student helpers. Went to the stand, put up what I could on my own and then prepared panels, ironed fabric etc. until the students arrived around 2.30. They are Yoty and Nustar, from Zhe Jiang University of Media and Communication. Their involvement had been arranged through Texprint alumna Momo Wang whose friend, Chen Xi, is Module Director of Fashion Design. I didn’t realise that they live about two hours outside Shanghai, and are staying in a hotel. Xi had asked the class who would like to do it, and they volunteered, which I told them was a very positive and professional thing to do! We finally finished around 6pm and staggered back to our respective hotels.

 

Day 1 – Monday October 20

Woke very early in a panic thinking I had overslept. From my hotel I saw people doing tai chi in the morning mist in Century Park – wonderfully calming. 

Took shuttle bus from hotel to the exhibition, joining a massive queue, or series of queues, of exhibitors penned up like sheep in lines until the official exhibitors’ opening time of 8.30am. After a mad scrum, I arrived at the stand which was still intact – none of the displays had disappeared or fallen off, and the four smiling portraits of the winners were very welcoming and comforting. The two student helpers arrived promptly, looking very smart.

The first day was invitation only and was very busy – the studios either side of us were often packed, and there were quite a few visitors to the Texprint stand. There was a lot of interest in all the fabrics, particularly Federica Tedeschi’s embroidery and Tali Furman’s pieces too, especially her new marbled effect prints on wool and her wool flocked plastic. Many of the visitors’ business cards are only in Chinese, and I fear that the winners are going to receive a torrent of emails in Chinese... There were also some visitors from South Korea, the US, India, Vietnam and Pakistan.

Friendly faces included David Shah of View Publications on a flying visit (as always), Peter Ackroyd and Julie Davies from The Woolmark Company, and Italian textile consultant Angelo Uslenghi, who was here for Milano Unica and was wonderfully enthusiastic in his greeting! He was rhapsodic about Federica Tedeschi’s embroidery – so directional for Spring/Summer 2016. Fellow exhibitors Dietmar Voegel of Circleline and Hiro, the agent for Whiston & Wright, were charming neighbours.

Intertextile is changing. There are now quite a few Italian mills which have moved out of Milano Unica’s walled city and have stands in W1, SalonEurope, the most prestigious hall for foreigners. Miroglio has a huge stand – I spoke to Pier Luigi Cassinelli there, who told me they have been in China since 1993. He also said they were very pleased with the new Miroglio Texprint Award and with the winner, Charlotte Hetheridge.

In the evening there was a lavish reception and dinner for the 20th anniversary of Intertextile. Six hundred guests had been invited to a seated dinner. There was a massive Oscars-type screen, swelling music, a glamorous TV presenter and many speeches in Chinese acknowledging important dignitaries and different categories of awards for faithful exhibitors, with each group parading onto the stage. Went back on the metro and slept very well.

Our helpful student translators, Yoty and Nustar, with Dietmar Voegel of Circleline

Day 2 – Tuesday October 21

Started the day looking out of my hotel window to see an enormous yellow rubber duck floating serenely in the distance on the misty lake in Century Park. I later learned that it was by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, and will be in the park for a month.

Even busier today, same issues. There is certainly huge interest in the fabrics. Checked the press office and at least 50 press releases in Chinese had gone, so added some more.

Angelo Uslenghi came by the stand with one of the owners of Cavalieri to show her Federica’s work. I went to Angelo’s presentation to an invited audience on Milano Unica’s trends in the afternoon and when I came back we had run out of brochures. The students had been enthusiastically topping up the pile of brochures, and didn’t understand that the ones I had held back in the cupboard were for the next two days.

Day 3 – Wednesday October 22

Spent rather a long time in taxis negotiating the city's traffic for Shanghai Fashion Week events. At the catwalk tent there were two woven textile graduates from Central Saint Martins waiting to see the next show, which was by a designer who had just graduated from CSM with them – such a small world.

Back at the exhibition, I saw David Shah, who commented that the growth in the appreciation and awareness of creativity and innovation in China over the past two years has been extraordinary, but the market needs to catch up in terms of the price it is prepared to pay for it. 

Joanna Bowring with David Shah

Day 4 – Thursday October 23

The final day started with a walk to the exhibition halls through Century Park with Jane Makower, who is also showing. As well as seeing the enormous rubber duck closer up, there were stunning life-sized patterned ceramic horses and an enormous shepherd with his dog, sheep and horses all made out of plants.

The show was less frenzied but still a lot of activity. Designer Momo Wang came by with two friends who had recently graduated from London College of Fashion, one still based in London. Her new collection is being launched on Saturday. She said so much is going on in Shanghai, young people networking with each other, sharing info – she did a big promotion with Nike who are sponsoring young Chinese fashion designers. Tomorrow is an Elle magazine event with a huge party for young Chinese designers. 

As usual, the taking down was really fast, and I crammed as much as I could into my small case and the rest into my tote bag.  The 24 ‘tiles’ of the designers’ work were too tough to tear up and I didn’t want to leave any that might be picked up to copy, so took them back to the hotel where I slashed them with a scalpel, snapped them into small pieces and binned them. Job done – time to go home!

Texprint 2011 alumna Momo Wang

Jane Makower on the M Makower & Co Ltd stand

 

 

Article tags: general (60), sponsors (30), shanghai (4), texprint 2014 (16), the woolmark company (2), intertextile shanghai (1)

Texprint 2014: Indigo, Paris

18 September 2014 by Roger Tredre

Texprint 2014: Award Winners

Texprint's 24 young designers had their first taste of the international arena in Paris at Indigo at Première Vision Pluriel. They exhibited their work in the textile industry's leading global marketplace.

© Kaila Cox

The Texprint year reaches its climax in September in Paris at Indigo, the show for creative textile designers which is a long-established part of the giant Première Vision Pluriel exhibition.

Here, Texprint's 24 designers, carefully selected after a long and intensive interview process, and all recently graduated from BA and MA courses in UK universities, exhibit their work for the international industry to view.

Indigo (September 16-18) is a must-see for PV visitors – and Texprint's decades-long association with the event ensures the young designers have a high profile. The results can be remarkable: over the years, designers have received job offers on the spot; commissions from leading international brands; and plenty of hard-cash orders.

This year was no exception. The first orders for Texprint designers were placed within the first hour of the show opening. Charlotte Beevor, a print designer who studied at Leeds College of Art, said: "I sold four designs within an hour and 12 designs in the first day. It's been amazing!"

© Aline Nakagawa de Oliveira

For obvious reasons of commercial confidentiality, we can't reveal all the details – but there were some very happy faces by the end of day one, despite the difficulties of not knowing quite how much to ask for. "The pricing is a real challenge," noted Jessica Stewart, a print designer who studied at Loughborough University Design School. "You have to learn not to be too precious about it."

In truth, selling is not the priority for the designers. The Indigo experience is much broader than that. It's about learning from the professional response to work that has often been conceived within the protective cocoon of university. This is invaluable, whether or not orders are placed.

The second day of the show concluded with the presentation of the Texprint awards by celebrated Italian textile designer Nino Cerruti, who judged the Woolmark Company Texprint Award with Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton of hot British menswear brand Agi & Sam. Mdumulla and Cotton loved judging alongside Cerruti: "Our tastes came together despite being of different generations."

© Jonny Wadland with Nino Cerruti and Agi & Sam

Cerruti, a legendary figure in the industry, was keen to pass on his experience. "The world is full of crazy artists, but we are not in the world of pure art – we are in industrial design," he said. "It is easy to have a new idea. It is very difficult to have a new idea that sells."

The newness of the idea is important. One of the reasons buyers return again and again to the Texprint stands at Indigo is to find fresh creativity – to see exciting new work not yet too watered down by the demands of the fiercely competitive commercial market. Even if the technical challenges of producing the designs might be tough.

Mixed media designer Fedrica Tedeschi, from Switzerland, who studied at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art, works with embroidery, weave and print and decided not to simply sell the work she had on display but to use it as a springboard for commissions. "A lot of my stuff is hard to reproduce in a commercial sense, so the wovens are fine but digital embroidery is still quite new in the market, so people are not quite sure how they would get it into production." So the commission approach worked? "Yes, I've been saying, how about if I design something for you instead? I got four commissions on the first day."

© James Skinner

Texprint aims to give its designers the tools and reassurance to follow their own creative paths. Jane Zhang, a Chinese designer from the Royal College of Art, who won the Texprint Award for Pattern, said: "It really does help to build my confidence. I'm very happy that the award was for pattern."

The other winners were Charlotte Beevor (Colour), Georgia Fisher (Space), and Federica Tedeschi (Body), with Tali Furman winning the Woolmark Company Texprint Award and Charlotte Hetheridge the new Miroglio Texprint Award for Digital Innovation.

And after Paris? The world awaits. Some are off to Como in Italy for internships. Others are heading to China for Intertextile Shanghai in October. The winners of the Lululemon Texprint Internship Award will be on their way to Vancouver. The next few weeks will be full of suitcase packing and visa form filling...

Although not all 24 designers could win an award, showing at Indigo was a great experience for all. As designer Francesca Stride put it: "Texprint is such a great opportunity – just being part of it is very special. There is nothing else like it."

Texprint 2014 designers with Nino Cerruti and Barbara Kennington (Texprint chairman)

Article tags: general (60), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), indigo (15), texprint 2014 (16), judges 2014 (11)

Texprint in new creative skills initiative

29 July 2014 by Roger Tredre

Alumnae Florence Colson and Emma J Shipley, Matthew Hancock MP, Joanna Bowring and Helga Goldman, Texprint

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."

Article tags: general (60), business (54), sponsors (30), texprint 2013 (23), special events (11), internships (3)

Jill Chatwood, lululemon athletica, selects internship award winners

21 July 2014 by Jainnie Cho

We talk to Jill Chatwood, Design Director of lululemon athletica, the Canadian athletic apparel company dedicated to making functional and equally beautiful clothing for proactive, optimistic modern women.

At lululemon athletica, customers are “guests” and store employees, “educators”.  Since its founding more than 15 years ago this unorthodox approach to business and fashion has helped put lululemon on the map as the ‘go to’ innovative and fashion-led athletic apparel company. “I’m passionate about bringing together art and athleticism. These aren’t areas that people generally put together but athleticism is a form of art and art can be athletic and dynamic too,” said Jill Chatwood, design director of the Canada-based company, specialising in yoga-inspired clothing.

It’s this focus on design that is both original and commercial that drew lululemon to both sponsor Texprint and create the lululemon Texprint Internship Award, acknowledging creativity and the need for industry experience; it is also what drew Chatwood to become a judge for Texprint. “[Texprint] was always the area at Indigo/PV in Paris that had the most exciting stuff… the most exciting raw work unconstrained as yet by the garment industry”, she recalled of her first brush with Texprint.

Dennis “Chip” Wilson founded lululemon in 1998, amidst the yoga boom of the late 1990s and increasing female presence in sports. Starting from one shop in Vancouver, Canada, including a design and yoga studio as well as a retail store, the business expanded rapidly. It now has around 200 stores, mostly in North America, with a new store in Covent Garden among other locations.  In 2009, the company launched a subsidiary, Ivivva Athletica, a dance and gymnastics clothing line for young girls aged six to 12.

Each lululemon store is a small universe onto itself. Store managers are much more than just managers – they decide the store’s look, from layout to colour, and control what kind of events they hold. “It’s important for us to make sure that not only are we a big brand with multiple stores but that each store is its own little micro community,” said Chatwood, who joined lululemon as a store employee in 2003.

Nurturing young design talent is another passion lululemon shares with Texprint. This winter, the company is set to launch a line of specialist cycling jerseys designed by Texprint alumna Florence Colson, one of two designers to win the lululemon Texprint Award in 2013. We sat down with Chatwood to discuss innovations in athletic wear, her interest in artful yet functional design, and the brand’s future product focus.

Jill with lululemon Texprint Internship Award selected designers; Charlotte Beevor (left) and Federica Tedeschi (right)

What drew you to become involved with Texprint?

The more I learnt about Texprint, the more it connected with what we believed in from a design perspective. Three years ago we decided to get more involved and sponsor Texprint and now we benefit, as the quality of interns we get from Texprint is unparalleled.

What is great textile design, or great design in general?

Great design is design that brings together beauty (colour and print) and function. I think both qualities have to live together in harmony, particularly in the world of modern sportswear where a garment can’t be just beautiful or useful. Form too has always been as important as function, so we can’t have something that doesn’t function for the sake of form. I think that the combination of these elements is where great design exists.

Designer Ailis Dewar shows her work to Jill and colleague judges

When did you start your relationship with lululemon?

In 2003, straight from design school - they had just opened up a store in my neighbourhood in Toronto and it was maybe only the third or fourth store at that time. I went from working in the store when I was going to school, to immediately joining the design team. It was such a good foundation - I just worked hard and did everything, from quality checks to product design, fabric and trim development.

At that time we had a tiny team of designers. Our whole company was founded on young, entrepreneurial designers, all coming together for a common goal. And this is one of the things we love about Texprint - we really love to support and nurture the energy of young, up-and-coming designers because they are the future.

What made you identify so strongly with lululemon?

The lululemon company ethos was something very original that hadn’t been created before. A modern yoga company didn’t exist before lululemon, or such a female-focused athletic brand - that was the new thing - it was really nice to see a brand emerge that was active and focused towards women. Being able to marry fashion with the active lifestyle was something that really excited me and the more I learnt about technical fabrics, the more exciting it became. To me it had so much more substance than just designing another evening gown or something like that.

What is your key focus when designing for the brand?

What excites me the most is being able to bring new ideas to the market that make people’s lives easier and better, these are also the challenges. Take safety for example - we’ve used reflective ink, yarn and fabric, all in different ways so that we can make our guests safe but in a beautiful way. Most athletic companies just put a reflective stripe down the sleeves and say, “There you go – now you’re visible”, we’ve worked hard to integrate safety and function in a more beautiful, subtle way.

Looking forward one of our goals has been creating print that feels more handmade than computer-generated - designing prints with personality and feeling, made by human beings, with love. 

Article tags: business (54), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), collaboration (9), texprint 2014 (16), judges 2014 (11), internships (3)

Texprint London 2014: platform for new textile design talent

14 July 2014 by Roger Tredre

Texprint London: 24 selected designers with judges

We look back on a memorable three days in London this July, when 24 young designers – the best of a new generation educated in the UK – attended the Texprint preview presentation in London.

After the rigorous interviews and the methodical sifting through over 200 portfolios and CVs, just 24 designers are selected. They have come from all over the globe but they were all educated in the UK and recently graduated from BA and MA programmes at colleges across the country. Weavers, knitters, printers and embroiderers – brought together for three days in London to show their work to the textile design industry.

Entrance display by Texprint 2011 alumna Emma J Shipley

The London preview presentation (July 9–10) is an important part of the process that climaxes in Paris in September at Premiere Vision, where all 24 designers show – and sell – their work to industry visitors at Indigo, the creative textile and surface design show-within-a show at PV. The excitement of the young designers in London was infectious. "I can't believe I'm here!" said Frieda Peppercorn, a designer who studied at Winchester College and whose witty prints inspired by Mrs Beeton were quick to catch the eye.

In London, the judges gathered the day before the presentation (July 8) to deliberate over the shortlist for prizes (the winners are announced in Paris). While the judges deliberated, the designers were on standby for further questioning. In London they also received their first exposure to Texprint sponsors, the press and potential employers and were given practical mentoring to prepare them for the next step of their careers. "It's fantastically helpful," said Jessica Hymas, a knit designer who recently left the Royal College of Art. "We've learned a lot about sampling and how to charge for samples."

On the afternoon of July 8th, the five judges arrived at Chelsea for four hours of intensive viewing and discussion. They represented a broad spread of expertise from across the industry, including Sarah Campbell of legendary textile design partnership Collier Campbell; Eifion Griffiths, CEO of highly regarded Welsh wool products company Melin Tregwynt; Sue Roberts, Design Director Home at leading UK department store group House of Fraser; Henry Graham, Chief Creative Officer of innovative London retailer Wolf & Badger; and Jill Chatwood, Design Director at fast-growing Vancouver-based Lululemon Athletica.

Judge Sarah Campbell examines the work of Aline Nakagawa de Oliveira

For these judges, there was an instinctive reaction to the work on display, but also a more considered response to consider and review, both individually and collectively. Peter Ring-Lefevre, Texprint Creative Director, urged them not to overlook the supplementary work: "It's often in the sketchbook that you get to know the real person."

Judge Henry Graham reveiws the work of designer Federica Tedeschi

The designers were called into the room for thorough questioning and scrutiny. They were invited to leave again. Names were tossed back and forth across the table. Excellence was celebrated, but there was a recurring complaint: Why did so many of the designers obsess about fashion? Why didn't they realise the huge potential of the interiors sector? The judges went back to the stands to review, and review again, the work. Slowly but steadily, a shortlist emerged. Names were read out and read out again. A tweak here, a plea there, a reshuffle – and another reshuffle. The debate always driven by an urgent, passionate desire from all involved that the right names should make the shortlist.

But the real pleasure of Texprint London is that everyone is a winner – because everyone is on the Eurostar to Paris in September. Hilary Scarlett, a leading textile and fashion trends consultant who regularly visits Texprint, had no doubt the designers will be well received in Paris: "The quality of work this year is stunning, really diverse, with sophisticated thought processes." Anne Smith, Dean of Fashion at Central Saint Martins, agreed: "It's one of the best years in a long time."

Designers Jonny Wadland (left image) and Ailis Dewar show their work to visitors

The judges were full of praise too. Sue Roberts of House of Fraser noted: "There are so many boundaries and restrictions in retail. It's great to see work with no boundaries." Sarah Campbell said the process of judging had been "very intense" and urged the designers to think more broadly about their work, particularly about its potential for interiors.

Judges Eifion Griffiths and Sue Roberts reviewing portfolio work

Some of the big guns of the industry showed up bright and early the next day to emphasise their interest. Karen Peacock, Head of Design at Marks & Spencer, was an early arrival. "For us, it's about keeping abreast of the talent," she said. "I consider Texprint to offer the cream of the crop in textiles and print. Not only is the standard very high but the students are also very good about talking about their work."

Texprint sponsors, such as John Snowdon, Clerk of the Worshipful Company of Weavers, agreed: "Our aim is to find the best. We always find them at Texprint." Roll on Paris!

CLICK HERE for Press Release: Texprint special prizes: the shortlist of nominees announced

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short listed designers with the judges: from left; Tali Furman, Charlotte Beevor, Jane Han Zhang, Georgia Fisher, Kaila Cox, judge Jill Chatwood, judge Eifion Griffiths, judge Sue Roberts, Jonny Wadland, judge Sarah Campbell, judge Henry Graham, Federica Tedeschi, Jessica Hymas, Beth Humes

Article tags: general (60), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), texprint 2014 (16), judges 2014 (11)

Internship Diary: Florence Angelica Colson at Lululemon Athletica

10 May 2014 by Editor

Team Specialized-Lululemon cycle kit designed by Florence Angelica Colson

Selected in 2013 by Deanne Schweitzer, SVP of Design and Creation at yoga-inspired brand Lululemon Athletica, as one of two winners of the prestigious Lululemon Texprint Award, we catch up with print designer Florence Angelica Colson and follow her internship diary (weaver Cherica Haye was the joint winner of this award).

Unfortunately due to new visa rules Flo and Cherica were unable to work in Vancouver for the 3 months originally planned.  Instead Lululemon took the creative initiative and invited the designers to Vancouver for non-working trips to find out more about the company ethos and working practices, took them to New York and Paris on inspiration trips, then set them projects to work on back in England.

Florence with Deanne Schweitzer (second left) and Lululemon design team at Indigo 2013

 

New York – 12 January 2014

The internship started with me being told on a Monday that I would be leaving for New York on the Saturday - this was crazy and so exciting! In New York I met up with Cassandra Sze (vision line lead) and Spencer Wyatt (colour designer); we shopped the city looking for new styling and colour inspiration, including visiting Soho and the new Dover Street Market store.

Joined a design meeting hosted by Cass and Spencer in the new Brooklyn store - feedback from the product users is invaluable so Lulu regularly hosts these in-store sessions.  The company also feels it’s important to ‘sweat in the community’, to experience what’s going on in terms of sports and fitness, so while in NY we took part in a few yoga and spinning classes!

While I was in New York, Cherica met up with the Lulu team in Paris to work Premiere Vision and Indigo, sourcing new fabrics and prints.

 

Vancouver (home of Lululemon headquarters) – 18 January 2014

On to Vancouver to join a Lululemon induction week with around 25 other newbies enrolling in jobs across the company.  A great opportunity to learn more about the company, what they believe in and what they still want to achieve - having and achieving goals is monumental within Lulu!

Also to be briefed by the Vision Pod team (each section of product development at Lulu is called a ‘pod’) who research the visionary colours, graphics and styling before giving them to the various design pods to be actioned.

“I was asked to be as creative as I wanted and not to worry about restrictions or the typical Lulu way of designing, but do what I liked and what I would wear. This was a great chance to experiment so I didn’t always stick to my usual design handwriting.

Worked on updating the Lululemon Manifesto – the emotive quotes, facts and opinions put together by the founder of Lululemon – phrases such as: do one thing a day that scares you, breathe deeply, creativity is maximized when you are living in the moment, friends are more important than money!I created little illustrations, pattern-filled lettering, big painterly lettering and a number of other ideas - all quite challenging as so graphics based, but it was cool and fun too!

Then was asked to create prints suitable for ‘tights’ – meaning running, yoga or other fitness leggings. I enjoyed this the most as of course print and pattern are my design passions! Although not all of the designs were my classic style, I stayed true to my design process and spent a lot of time generating work by hand, either drawing, painting or mark-making, and then manipulating and developing using Photoshop.

The final part of the brief was to look at new ways of adding reflective elements to product pieces. I found this really interesting and something I had never considered before.  I am now obsessed - I run a lot and want to be covered in cool reflective pieces!

Inspiration board for reflective ideas

 

 

London – 1 February 2014

Back in London we met with Deanne Schweitzer and shopped all the great London haunts for the spring/summer 2015 inspiration report we were due to present to the Lulu team back in Vancouver.

“I find inspiration in everything. I love fashion - I’m pretty obsessed by it if I am honest! I spend hours trawling through fashion magazines and looking at blogs, Instagram and Pinterest - following designers, models, artists, architects, galleries, magazines, shops, as well as friends - so I really get a broad view of what’s going on and what’s inspiring others! At the moment I’m loving spacial design and room set-ups, and I’m head over heels for Celine. I’ve just booked to go to the Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition at the Tate Modern and I’m so excited as I think it will be really influential!”

 

London – 1 April 2014

Lululemon’s first UK store (Covent garden) opened in April, and for a week Cherica and I worked in the store for three hours a day as shadowing educators (everyone at Lulu has to work a number of store shifts whether you are a designer, IT technician or anything else!). We were also invited to the opening party. Lululemon'snew CEO, Laurent Potdevin, was there, plus the London ambassadors, Vancouver team, store staff, press and VIPs – it was amazing to be involved.

“My project was completed working from home (at my mother’s kitchen table which she kindly allowed me to take over for the duration!). I always start by drawing, painting or mark-making by hand, taking this as far as I can before scanning and manipulating.

To keep in touch with Vancouver, I would exchange emails with Cass a few times a week plus have a weekly Skype update conversation.”

 

 

Vancouver – 5 April 2014

The final week in Vancouver presenting our projects and a trend report of our London finds (plus doing some yoga and circuit classes of course!) – and thinking about what we’d learnt and achieved.

“I know I would have learnt so much more if I’d been able to work with the team every day, but even so the experience was amazing, and by taking me out of my comfort zone helped develop my design knowledge. Designing for the sports market is more complex than I realised - everything has to be technical, and functional, and appealing to the eye.

Prior to the internship I worked on a freelance project, designing the 2014 Specialized-LululemonWomen’s Professional Cycling Team kit using intricately drawn details, baroque and rococo shapes, pearls, jewels and florals in black and white. This was quick turnaround project, and challenging, as the prints all had to be engineered to fit the garment pieces. I’ve never had to think about a product in so much detail before – it was a great exercise in balancing hand craft and time management!”

Flo wearing the Team Specialized-Lululemon cycle kit she designed!

 

Future thoughts?“My dream is to collaborate with a fashion designer, even to learn to cut patterns myself so I can start my own fashion company where beautiful prints and garments would combine!

In conclusion, Flo says: “Texprint has been invaluable, I could not be more grateful. Through Texprint I exhibited and sold under my own name at Indigo; had my designs promoted by Surface View; interned in Italy; took part in the ComON creativity week, and was selected to visit the Mare di Moda show in Cannes – all experiences I would never have experienced so soon out of university without Texprint’s guidance and financial support. People still email me after viewing my online Texprint profile.

Winning one of the places on the Lululemon Texprint Award was amazing, it enabled me to travel to Canada and New York and learn so much more about the industry.  Plus I have learnt so much from the Lululemon team, building up wonderful relationships both in and out of the internship that I really hope will continue!”

Article tags: print (31), general (60), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), texprint 2013 (23), judges 2013 (13)

Review of the year - Texprint 2013: Trained in Britain

31 December 2013 by Editor

Texprint 2013 designers with management team at Texprint London

Since early in 2013 when new initiatives were tinged with a certain financial caution, I’m delighted to confirm that Texprint made strong progress throughout the year, with some considerable success on the sponsorship front.

The Texprint mantra of ‘supporting creative futures’ has never been more true than in 2013.  Under the aegis of our Trained in Britain initiative Texprint introduced a new Hero Mentors scheme, and with sponsors The Drapers’ Company has also initiated a pilot for longer-term Trained in Britain internships in industry, the first with Pattern Prize sponsor Liberty Art Fabrics, which will take on its first Texprint Innovation Intern in January 2014.

The support shown by Texprint alumni for the Hero Mentors scheme has been outstanding - 24 new alumni matched with 24 established textile designers, passing on their wealth of personal experience and deep understanding of the textile, fashion and interiors industries to the next generation of textile talent, helping to make the period of experience gathering between graduation and eventual career even more meaningful.

All our Hero Mentors are highly regarded in the textile industry, a significant number run their own international businesses, and many already give their valuable time to join the rigorous Texprint Selection Panels.  We are extremely proud of the strong relationship Texprint has maintained with its alumni over the years and continue to feature many success stories on our website.

Back in July 2013, the Texprint London event, where the selected designers exhibit together for the very first time, was rethought through necessity to create a ‘pop-up gallery’ feel (the gallery space kindly donated by Chelsea College of Art & Design).  Having decided to forego the private view, stand build and alumni display of past years, the impact of this new approach was surprisingly positive with the invited visitors spending much more time than previously reviewing work and talking to each of the designers, who found this an invaluable experience.  The judging of the Texprint Prizes, donated by The Clothworker's Foundation, Liberty Art Fabrics and Pantone, and the second Lululemon Texprint Award, also took place at the event.  

In Paris in September, through the generous sponsorship of Première Vision SA, the Texprint designers once again exhibited at Indigo/PV alongside professional studios; the designers’ stands ranged together down a ‘street’ in Hall 5 giving visiting international buyers and press the ideal opportunity to review the diverse and highly creative work of the 24 Trained in Britain designers. The judging for the third Woolmark Texprint Award also took place at Indigo. See photo reports, here and here.

For the first time a film documenting the Texprint designers’ Indigo experience was made - this kindly funded by Dominic Lowe of the Sanderson Art in Industry Trust, and created by RA Collaborations.  Sponsors, designers and management all contributed, telling the story of the event in a new and vibrant manner.  The resulting short film can be seen on the Texprint website

2013 also saw Coutts generously hosting its second Texprint dinner at their headquarters on the Strand in London; an exciting new collaboration with interiors specialist Surface View; and for the first time, thanks to sponsor Messe Frankfurt (HK), an opportunity to exhibit the prize winners work at what is now the major Asian textile fair, Intertextile Shanghai.

Florence Angelica Colson, Texprint 2013, delightfully, sums up her experience: “Texprint for me has been the best thing I could have wanted to happen to me after graduating; it’s been an amazing opportunity. From the word go, great things have come from being part of Texprint - after the London exhibition I was selected to licence designs to Surface View, I was chosen to go to Italy to intern for 2 months, and although I did not know at the time, I won one of the Lululemon Texprint awards. 

Italy was a weird and wonderful experience and from this I also ended up exhibiting at Mare di Moda, Cannes, which without Texprint I definitely would not have done! Also being handed the means to exhibit and trade at Indigo in Paris under my own design name was amazing and something that none of us would have been able to do by ourselves without the help and support of Texprint. Texprint has been a brilliant support network, both mentally and financially, and the other Texprinters have become like a little family to me after the experiences we have shared! Anyone chosen for Texprint is very lucky and I am so grateful for everything.” 

Texprint sponsors have long understood the vital importance of reinvigorating their industry by encouraging creative young textile designers to form part of their future heritage. 

Our heartfelt thanks to all our sponsors for their support, their vision, and for their steadfast investment in the next generation of Trained in Britain textile designers - and our very best wishes for 2014.

Barbara Kennington

Chairman

Article tags: woolmark (19), general (60), business (54), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), texprint london (19), texprint 2013 (23), indigo (15), judges 2013 (13), como (4), indigo paris (13), shanghai (4)

ComON Creativity Week and industry Internships

11 November 2013 by Editor

Texprint’s ongoing relationship with the ComON Creativity Week and the prestigious Italian textile mills based in and around Como develops year-on-year. These companies have long understood the vital importance of re-investing in their cultural heritage by welcoming creative young textile designers to form part of their future.

Texprint designers with Margherita Rosina and Francina Chiara of the Antonio Ratti Foundation / Designers from left: Roozbeh Ghanadi, Kazusa Takamura, Ffion Griffith, Cherica Haye, Florence Colson and Minnan Hui

The Como textile industry is globally renowned for creating the highest quality printed silks, fine cottons and luxury weaves for the international luxury market, and more recently for the high street. Their comprehensive archives provide a rich source of historical reference and future inspiration.

More than ever supporting graduate designers through properly structured internships is invaluable in helping them fast track their experience and commercial understanding, and October 2013 saw 6 Texprint weave and print designers, selected by Marco Taiana of Tessitura Taiana Virgilio SpA and the manager of the ComON event, and invited to work 7-week internships in Como.  The Texprint designers were among 15 textile designers selected from all over Europe, also invited to participate in the invaluable ComON programme of industry visits and creative challenges.

Included in the programme were visits to the Giorgio Armani headquarters in Milan, and to the Canepa and Antonio Ratti archives at their respective company headquarters.

Texprint designers at the Antonio Ratti Foundation in Como with archive manager Francina Chiara 

 Left: Ffion Griffith at the Canepa Textile Archive / Right: Designers with Francina Chiara at the Antonio Ratti Foundation Archive

Central to the ComON week was the 2-day seminar lead by the inspirational David Shah, publisher of Textile View magazine, with support from Texprint’s creative director Peter Ring-Lefevre.  David’s keynote speech, presented at the Como Chamber of Commerce, was entitled Morality in the Pursuit of Consumerism and challenged each young designer to think about what Made-In meant to them.  The selected Made-In presentations were then presented at a gala at the Villa d'Este to the Italian industry and Trade commissioners based in Milan from Japan, USA and France.

Peter Ring-Lefevre, invited tutor for the Made In seminar, mentoring the designers

Another highlight of the Villa d'Este gala event was the special invitation extended to Emma J Shipley (Texprint 2011) to tell the story of her highly successful two-year career establishing her eponymous accessories company. In October 2011 Emma worked her internship with Ratti SpA, one of the leading Como-based companies in the international luxury textiles industry. The bulk of her production is now printed in Italy and stems from this early relationship building and experience of the production process. Earlier this November Emma won the prestigious Avery Dennison Emerging Fashion Brand Award at The WGSN Global Fashion Awards.

Left: David Shah with Emma J Shipley / Right: Michele Vigano, head of family-owned business Seterie Argenti SpA, with Florence Colson at the launch of the Instacomon graphic competition at Mitchum store Como

Three Texprint designers – Florence Angelica Colson, Minnan Hui and Roozbeh Ghanadi - were also selected by the Mare di Moda committee to attend the Mare di Moda Resort Fabric Fair in Cannes early November.

Confindustria Como/ComON and Marzotto Group/Ratti SpA are valued sponsors of Texprint. 

Article tags: general (60), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), texprint 2013 (23), como (4)

The Woolmark Texprint Award Judging Process

26 September 2013 by

Winner Signe Rand Ebbessen shows her work to the judges

“Beautiful designs!” John Walsh, managing director of Abraham Moon & Sons, said as he looked at Texprint designer Alice Preston’s neon hand-printed designs. Daliah Simble, head of sourcing & production, and Estelle Williams, collection development manager, at Roland Mouret both agreed as they continued to search for a winner of the third annual Woolmark Texprint Award.

Out of the 24 shortlisted designers taking part in the 2013 Texprint programme, all of whom presented their work at Indigo / Première Vision in Paris September 17-19, 2013, the judges looked for a designer excelling in the inventive use of wool in textile design and using 60% or more Merino wool in their designs. Needless to say the three prize judges had a tough time deciding on Wednesday 18 September 2013, prior to the presentation that afternoon.

Signe Rand Ebbesen with Peter Ackroyd of The Woolmark Company

The judges questioned the designers about the end product use and the production costs of their designs: vital knowledge for today’s textile designers. Analysing the designers’ work from both the fashion and interiors side was also a key factor in choosing the winning designer, as John said: “We started showing in interiors eight to 10 years ago and now it is 25% of our business. The interiors market is growing and becoming increasingly fashionable as fashion designers are looking at furnishings – it is a unique situation.”

The judges praised courses, noting the Royal College of Art and Central St Martins, for teaching designers about commercial imperative and the translation of textiles into garments.

After meeting with the Texprint designers and discussing their work in detail, the judges then met for a tête-à-tête to make the final decision. They highly commended weaver Cherica Haye and knit designer Phoebe Brown, both RCA graduates, for their innovative techniques and use of wool. Daliah Simble said: “I really liked Phoebe’s techniques of using plastics and plating in her knitted textiles.” Estelle Williams agreed: “Phoebe’s innovativeness is extremely important and in our role we are both constantly trying new fabrics.” The judges managed to come to a unanimous decision choosing RCA graduate Signe Rand Ebbesen as the winner out of the 24 shortlisted designers.

Phoebe Brown shows her work to the judges

Prize presenter Maurizio Galante, member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture and Woolmark’s Peter Ackroydpresented Signe her award in front of an eager audience. The prize includes £1,000 in prize money and also extensive training on the benefits and uses of wool through the nearest Woolmark International office.

John said the judges selected Signe because of her superb use of texture, her distinctive style and her understanding of the benefits of this natural sustainable fibre which she used to bring her work to life.

© Signe Rand Ebbesen

John commented: “Some of the textures were beautiful and she has also understood the commercial side to her work - she can go far with it.” Estelle agreed: “She has thought about the commerciality of her work which is really important shown by her ability to work to a brief.” Daliah added: “We both loved Signe’s innovative techniques which we at Roland Mouret look for. We would love some of those fabrics at Roland Mouret.

Barbara Kennington, chairman of Texprint, on hearing of the decision said: “We all greatly admire Signe’s work, this award is completely appropriate for her and such fantastic news.” 

Roozbeh Ghanadi shows his work to the judges

Katy Birchall shows her work to the judges

Ffion Griffith shows her work to the judges

Article tags: weave (24), woolmark (19), general (60), business (54), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), texprint 2013 (23), judges 2013 (13), indigo paris (13)

Texprint special prize winners announced at Indigo

20 September 2013 by

Signe Rand Ebbesen, Kazusa Takamura, Florence Colson, Ffion Griffith, Taslima Sultana and Cherica Haye with Maurizio Galante

Couturier Maurizio Galante presented this year's Texprint awards for design excellence to four British-trained new graduates. The six prize winners were announced at the Texprint prize ceremony, held in the Texprint area of Indigo, Première Vision Pluriel, on September 18, 2013 at 3.30pm. 

The winners for the Body, Space, Pattern and Colour prizes received £1,000, sponsored by Pantone, Liberty Art Fabrics and The Clothworkers’ Foundation. Three out of the four special winners are weave designers – working in a diverse range of patterns, fibres and textures, from traditional Welsh blanket weaves to high-tech wipe-down fabrics suitable for automotive upholstery.  They were chosen in London in July by a panel of leading creatives and influencers in fashion and design - journalist Tamsin Blanchard; designer Madeleine Press; Luigi Turconi from luxury silk printer Ratti; Emma Kidd, from the Selfridges creative team; and SVP creation at Lululemon Athletica Deanne Schweitzer. Plus Deanne selected the winner of the second annual Texprint Lululemon prize, the winner of which joins the activewear company on a three-month paid placement at its headquarters in Vancouver, Canada, plus a £1,000 prize.

At Indigo, one prize winner of the Woolmark Texprint Award was chosen by John Walsh, managing director of Abraham Moon & Sons; Daliah Simble, head of sourcing & production, and Estelle Williams, collection development manager, at Roland Mouret, the winner of which receives £1,000 in prize money and extensive training on the benefits and uses of wool through the nearest Woolmark International office.

Body - Kasuza Takamura, a Chelsea College of Art & Design graduate wins the Texprint Body Award. Kasuza uses photography to allow others to see the world through her eyes and her designs are inspired by living in an unfamiliar land; her work captures a mood of isolation, alienation and acceptance. Her print designs were unanimously praised by the judges. Designer Madeleine Press talked about the “energy behind her work, she has thought about how something will look on a garment, and on the body, there is a really nice concept and energy behind it” and said: “her subtle use of colour is very sophisticated which I could see translating into the market straight away”. Tamsin Blanchard said that Kasuza’s design concept is captured beautifully in extremely evocative designs. 

Buyers talking with Kazusa Takamura at Indigo

Space - Ffion Griffith, a Chelsea College of Art & Design graduate was chosen as winner of the Texprint Space Award. A weave graduate designer, Ffion is keen to preserve and reinterpret increasingly rare Welsh weaving skills and techniques. Using merino wool for its timeless qualities, Ffion creates high-quality interior products that are designed to become heirlooms. The judges praised her for her modern take on traditional craft. “The way she has modernised Welsh heritage is really cool, she has produced a professional product that could go across a wide range of surfaces,” said Deanne. While Madeleine added: “You can see it in a home, it’s executed well and people will love it.”

© Ffion Griffith

Colour - Taslima Sultana, a Central St Martins graduate wins the Texprint Colour Award. Her woven collection explores how living organisms use pattern, colour and texture in order to survive, protect and attract and she has used her research to create a vibrant textural collection of fabric. She was praised by Tamsin Blanchard for her “incredibly rich and vibrant designs” and how “she looks like somebody in the industry in the way she understands how fabric is used and draped, she has a great energy to her work”. Madeleine Press stated that she has taken something quite crazily creative and made it beautiful and exquisite. Madeline said: “Her colour use is just amazing, she has such an energy to her work. There’s a professional quality to her work.” 

© Taslima Sultana

Pattern - Cherica Haye, a Royal College of Art graduate was selected as winner of the Texprint Pattern Award. Weaver Cherica has created a range of fabrics that mix the sensibilities of traditional menswear suiting with performance fabrics using dobby and industrial jacquard looms. Her collection focuses on geometric weaves, and she blends fabric structure and a variety of yarns and heat-press finishes achieving sophisticated, dark and bold patterns. The judges admired Cherica’s strong woven designs, and commented that she has a great thought process, executed her designs very well and had a clear concept. She was praised for her extraordinary, gorgeous designs as Tamsin Blanchard commented: “Cherica’s work is really extraordinary.” And fellow judge Deanne Schweitzer agreed saying “instantly I just thought they were gorgeous”. 

© Cherica Haye

Texprint Lululemon Award - Cherica Haye and Florence Angelica Colson (Leeds College of Art) both win the Texprint Lululemon award. Deanne said of Cherica’s work: “I could immediately imagine Cherica’s weaves looking amazing in Lululemon's quest to make athletic apparel gorgeous. I believe what she showed was modern and timeless 'woven' together. When I look at her work the first word that comes to mind is gorgeous and that is exactly what I want someone to say when they see a Lululemon garment.”

Deanne applauded Florence’s colour scheme: “Florence’s dedication to black and white in new ways is beautiful. All of Florence's designs have playful energy and at the same time could be taken very seriously. Black and white is very important to Lululemon so this will be a very fun collaboration.”

Deanne Schweitzer, Lululemon Athletica, and team with designer Florence Angelica Colson at Indigo

Woolmark Texprint Award - Signe Rand Ebbesen, wins the second annual prize for her superb textile designs which were created with 60% or more Merino wool and honours the inventive use of wool in textile design. John Walsh said the judges selected Signe because of her superb use of texture, she has a distinctive style and her understanding of the benefits of this natural sustainable fibre which she used to bring her work to life. He said: “Some of the textures were beautiful and she has also understood the commercial side to her work - she can go far with it”. Estelle Williams agreed: “She has thought about the commerciality of her work which is really important shown by her ability to work to a brief”. Daliah Simble added: “We both loved Signe’s innovative techniques which we at Roland Mouret look for. We would love some of those fabrics at Roland Mouret”. 

Signe Rand Ebbessen with judges John Walsh, Estelle Williams and Daliah Simble at Indigo

© Signe Rand Ebbesen

Article tags: woolmark (19), general (60), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), texprint 2013 (23), judges 2013 (13), indigo paris (13)

British Textiles in Action

20 September 2013 by Editor

Texprint designers with Kara Owen, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy Paris

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

Article tags: woolmark (19), general (60), business (54), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), texprint 2013 (23), special events (11), indigo paris (13)

The Texprint Woolmark Award: Meet the Judges

13 September 2013 by

The Woolmark Company and Texprint are very pleased that two leaders of the British design industry are collaborating to select the Woolmark Texprint Award winner.

Daliah Simble, head of sourcing & production, and Estelle Williams, collection development manager, both of Roland Mouret, join John Walsh, managing director of Abraham Moon & Sons, on 18 September 2013 to select one prize winner excelling in the usage of wool and other natural fibres from among the 24 Texprint designers showcasing at Indigo, Première Vision.

For over a decade, the luxury fashion house Roland Mouret has been synonymous with covetable womenswear and iconic garments such as the Galaxy, Titanium and Moon dresses. A true style influencer, the designer Roland Mouret has changed the way pattern cutting is looked at. Focusing on structure and silhouette, Mouret flatters the female form with figure-hugging, sexy dresses which have adorned the likes of Victoria Beckham, Kate Middleton and Carey Mulligan and the house is continually expanding its collections. In 2012 the Roland Mouret brand presented its first debut bridal collection The White Collection and also unveiled its first ever shoe collection that launched in autumn/winter 2012/13. Daliah, head of sourcing & production at Roland Mouret has over 20 years’ experience in the fashion sector, and Estelle’s role as collection development manager include overseeing the womenswear collections’ product development team from design concept to the pre-production stages. Estelle also works directly with the creative director in developing the collections which involves selecting fabric and trims sourcing.

www.rolandmouret.com

Luxury brands look to mills like Abraham Moon & Sons to source and produce their fabric. Established in 1837, Abraham Moon founded his namesake company in Guiseley, England. The country’s only vertically integrated mill, the unique Yorkshire-based site currently houses blending, carding, dyeing, finishing, spinning and weaving processes. Focusing on natural fibres such as alpaca, cashmere, linen, mohair, silk and wool, the mill produces a wide variety of fabrics destined for fashion and interior use from high street to haute couture. Specialising in tweed wool fashions,the high-quality wool is imported from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Moon’s fabrics stand for heritage, high quality and luxury and so Moon counts international fashion names such as Burberry, Chanel and Ralph Lauren among its customers. John Walsh became the managing director in 1989 as the fourth generation of his family to run the company; his great-grandfather Charles Walsh bought the mill in 1920 from the Moon family.

www.moons.co.uk

John Walsh; images from heritage collection 2008

Both the design team at Roland Mouret and John Walsh are firm believers in the benefits that wool offers. Estelle says: “Wool provides both the structure and flexibility which are core features in Roland’s collections. It also has an excellent absorption of dye, is durable and sustainable. Wool is a win-win from both an aesthetic and performance point of view.” The Roland Mouret womenswear collections use a substantial amount of wool depending on the season ranging from 35% in the spring/summer collections to 65% for autumn/winter. John was chairman of the British Wool Textile Export Corporation for five years and says: “We have a generation who did not grow up with the Woolmark and the consistent advertising behind it which re-enforced the message explaining the unique qualities of wool. Attitudes are changing however and consumers are once again appreciating that wool and other natural fibres have not only inherently better qualities but also make a better ecological and sustainable choice. Well-made, great quality timeless classics are an important part of today's wardrobe.”

The luxury fashion house Roland Mouret is a firm supporter of new design talent: Chloe Hamblin - winner of the Texprint 2011 Colour Award - is now working as a print and surface designer with the company having first made contact with the designer at the Texprint Village at Indigo/Première Vision in September 2011. “Wool should be a natural choice for new designers primarily because it is a very versatile yarn whether you are using it in knitwear, jersey or woven fabric,” Daliah says.

Roland Mouret autumn/winter 2014 collection

The importance of UK-based skills and promoting made-in-Britain luxury is enthusiastically encouraged by the judges: Daliah was responsible for moving over half of the company’s production back to the UK. John adds: “As the appreciation for British quality and design in textiles results in the re-emergence of manufacturing the next generation will find new opportunities for their talents. Now is the time to seize the initiative and make sure we invest in the education and training of those who will take our industry forward.”

All three judges will be looking for innovative designs when judging the Woolmark Texprint prize. Estelle says: “Roland embraces the motto ‘think outside of the box’. This will be a strong influence in the selection process as Roland loves the unconventional.” John will be looking for “a fusion of originality with commerciality”. 

Article tags: woolmark (19), general (60), business (54), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), texprint 2013 (23), judges 2013 (13), indigo paris (13)

Texprint Talks: Andrew Mellows and Richard Winstanley of The Drapers’ Company

19 August 2013 by

Founded over 600 years ago, the Drapers’ Company is one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies in the City of London. From its origins as a trade guild, over the centuries it has moved with the times and evolved into an organisation that addresses contemporary issues through its philanthropic initiatives which range from the support of elderly people to education. 

The Drapers’ Company is a Foundation Sponsor of Texprint, meaning it has pledged significant financial support for three years. The Company also made a sizable grant to Texprint last year enabling six designers to show at Interstoff Asia Essential in Hong Kong.

Richard Winstanley (left) and Andy Mellows with Texprint chairman Barbara Kennington

Head of charities Andrew Mellows and Colonel Richard Winstanley OBE, the Company’s clerk, came to see Texprint’s London presentation, held at Chelsea College of Art in July 2013, to meet this year’s participating 24 designers and talk with Texprint:

Through your active involvement, the Texprint programme is able to continue its annual programme, launching the careers of the best new textile design graduates from British universities and colleges.

Andy: We’re just delighted to be able, in a small way, to make a contribution to getting these young people on the path to a good career.

Richard: We engage with all sorts of areas; at one end of the spectrum we look after the under privileged and give them an opportunity where they don’t have it, and at this end of the spectrum we blow on an ember of excellence and make it glow, it’s wonderful to see.

Can you tell me more about how the Drapers’ Company has moved from trade guild to supporting charities such as Texprint?

Richard: The Company will be celebrating its 650th anniversary next year. And in effect, like all liveries we were monopolies on our particular trades in order to fix price, quantity and quality. During the 16th century we effectively stopped our control of the trade. In the course of that journey we had built up a membership. In those days, there was no NHS or educational body, if you wanted to get a better place in heaven you put money into something to ease your journey. So through a combination of all those things, the Drapers’, as with many of the liveries, became benefactors of peoples’ endowments and they realised they needed to invest that to look after their own and that converted as the wealth grew into charitable giving. It was a relatively contemporary decision to go back to our threads and get involved in the textile industry.

Andy: In the early 1990s we became involved with Texprint. We did quite a lot of work supporting design students at various universities. And Texprint was a logical follow on from that in that it connects academia with the commercial world.

Which other textile-focused organisations are you involved with?

Andy: We support the Engineering Development Trust [EDT] and its work in smart materials and composites. It’s a 21st century application of textiles that’s a big area of interest and we support educational visits by school children to smart materials companies.

Why should other members of the fashion and textile industry get involved in supporting Texprint?

Andy: I think it’s important that we don’t lose the skills and training of these young people. In industry today there is almost a principle of something for nothing. And I think it’s important that these young designers are given the chance to develop further in an area they have already excelled in and as many companies as possible get involved in providing internships, works experience or ultimately employment opportunities for young people.

Richard: The reason is in this room. It’s absolutely fascinating, the sheer breadth of quality and the spectrum of work that the designers have created.

What has caught your eye today?

Andy: Gillian Murphy’s knitwear is very innovative, very stylish and obviously of extremely high quality, I thought her colour selection was very clever.

Richard: I thought Katy Birchall’s work was brilliant, a very clever a combination of old and extremely modern. But that’s not in any way to say the others are not as good, I just haven’t got around to all of them.

Andy Mellows talks with Gillian Louise Murphy

Did you receive any good advice when you were starting your working lives that you would like to share? Or do you have some good advice for those starting their careers?

Richard: I am sure like many I have received lots of advice from many people over the years, most but not all of which was helpful.  I think there are probably two bits of advice I can offer above all else which I have tried to follow both myself over the years:

When taking on a new job keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut. There will come a time when you know as much if not more than those around you but until then be wary of wading in. And never be afraid of seeking advice as people generally enjoy giving it!   

Never be afraid of making mistakes as it is the best way of learning from them. The trick of course is to make sure they are not deliberate and not to repeat them, thus demonstrating one’s own learning.

I have always tried to live by these (not sure I have always succeeded). It is a balance of tempering one’s innate (and to begin with youthful and therefore sometimes inexperienced) enthusiasm with a desire to show willing. 

Andy: I would say that they are going to have knock backs along the way; don’t take it personally and keep believing in yourself.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Article tags: champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), texprint 2013 (23)

Texprint 2013: meet the judges, Deanne Schweitzer of Lululemon

18 July 2013 by

Deanne Schweitzer is the SVP of Design and Creation at Lululemon Athletica. The yoga-inspired activewear brand is both a Texprint Foundation Sponsor as well as a Prize Sponsor: Deanne will select one Texprint designer from a short list including Gillian Louise Murphy (Glasgow School of Art), Pepe Lowe (Chelsea College of Art), Luise Martin (Royal College of Art and previously Ecole Duperré, Paris), Cherica Haye (RCA and previously Central St Martins) and Florence Angelica Colson (Leeds College of Art) as the recipient of this year’s Lululemon Athletica Award, which includes a prize of £1,000 plus a three-month paid internship at the brand’s headquarters in Vancouver.

Lululemon was founded in 1998 by Chip Wilson; and the first retail store opened in 2000 in picturesque Kitsilano, Vancouver, and shared its space with a yoga studio. Today the technologically advanced sportswear is sold worldwide online and through its 211stores. The sense of community at the heart of the brand is propelled by in-store yoga classes and by brand ambassadors who spread the Lululemon lifestyle throughout their local communities.  

How did you come to join Lululemon, please tell us about your role?

13 years ago I was the store manager of the first ever Lululemon store and I’m still working here!  Then the head office was located on the store’s top floor, and my colleagues would always find me upstairs giving feedback on what was and wasn’t working! Even though I didn’t have a design background, Lululemon could tell I was very passionate about the brand and I became the head of the product team. Today I am the SVP of Design and Creation, so I’m in charge of the whole creation side of products and this involves the design team, the merchandising team, raw materials and garment development.

Do you enjoy living in Vancouver?

Vancouver is unique, it’s a very metropolitan city with great restaurants and culture, it’s also located right next to the ocean and a 45 minute drive away are some of the world’s best skiing and hiking mountains. There aren’t many places in the world where you can do all three in one day. We absolutely love sushi here; my family and I eat it at least twice a week. I think we own the market in sushi.

Deanne with her daughter in New York

Do you do yoga in the office?

When we were building the brand we often had our meetings in yoga studios, on hikes or on runs. So I think we attracted people that were excited by that lifestyle. It’s important for our staff to do yoga, we support our staff in taking two weekly sessions at nearby studios and we have a studio in our head office.

Do you plan to open any stores in London / the UK? I can see you have a few Lululemon showrooms in London, what goes on there?

When we open a showroom somewhere we are showing that we ultimately want to open a store there. We are planning on opening a store in London in the very near future and we regularly open in key areas that attract athletic, active and (hopefully) stylish guests.

This will be the second year of the Lululemon Texprint Award, how did you find working with Texprint alumni Manri Kishimoto and Sophie Reeves in the studio?

Unbelievable, they were such a pleasure to have. I think they were both really grateful for the experience so it really was a win-win situation. Having one designer from a weave background and another coming from print was a great balance and brought different perspectives into the print team which we loved. Sophie had such a good experience working with us that she is now applying to work in the Lululemon London showroom.

Lululemon’s manifesto is full of inspirational mottos such as ‘what you do to the earth, you do to yourself’. What responsibility do you think textile designers have in using environmentally-friendly textiles and techniques?

It’s really important to design something that will live in somebody’s wardrobe for a long time. I’m not a big believer in fast fashion or buying something that will end up in the garbage heap in 12 months’ time.

Lululemon has been at the forefront of technologically advanced textiles. What should we expect to see next?

Well I think the biggest trend for us now is smart textiles, technological advances mean that we are asking our apparel to do a lot more for us. We are really excited about apparel that can take somebody from day to night seamlessly.

How important is it for you to support the next generation of textile designers?

Some new designers come out of school and enter companies where they might get stifled. The Lululemon organisation makes sure to put designers into a position to be listened to and to have an impact. We are very open to be shown new ways of doing things - we are open to fresh new ideas. I truly believe that they are the voice of the future. 

Deanne talking with knit designer Gillian Louise Murphy

Judging panel, from left: designer Madeleine Press, Emma Kidd of Selfridges, Deanne, and style journalist Tamsin Blanchard

All the designers with the judges

Article tags: general (60), business (54), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), texprint london (19), texprint 2013 (23), judges 2013 (13)

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.

wgsn.com

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.”

wgsn.com

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.”

Article tags: fashion (35), general (60), business (54), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), texprint 2013 (23)

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

Article tags: exhibition (24), fashion (35), general (60), business (54), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), paris (4), texprint 2013 (23)

Texprint talks: Emma Mawston of Liberty Art Fabrics

25 April 2013 by Editor

...from the spring summer 2013 collection

Emma Mawston, head of design for Liberty Art Fabrics, is not surprisingly passionate about prints and the Liberty heritage.  She is also a long-time supporter of Texprint and regularly gives time to participate in the Texprint interview panels that take place each June.

As a creative company focused on design excellence Liberty understands just how important it is to look to their future heritage and drive innovation by supporting the next generation of young designers; Liberty Art Fabrics sponsors the Texprint Pattern Award.

-Emma, how long have you worked at Liberty Art Fabrics and what were you doing before?

I have worked at Liberty for nearly twenty-one years – in fact the same amount of time as Alexandra Shulman has been editor at Vogue!

While at college I had a great work placement with Nina Campbell, I then won an RSA Bursary which led to a placement with Cavendish Textiles – both invaluable experiences.  On graduating I went freelance, exhibiting at numerous exhibitions, working freelance in-house at Nigel French (design consultancy), and designing for a variety of markets under my own name.

When I applied for the Liberty role, I found out that they had asked my to interview because they liked my handwriting on the letter accompanying my CV!

-Tell us about the team at Liberty Art Fabrics?

The designers at Liberty Art Fabrics are Sheona, Sally, Polly, Robin, Keighley, Laura-Maria and Carrie.  At any one time the team are working across three areas - fashion, furnishing and lifestyle art fabrics - on different briefs, and often for different seasons. We often go on drawing research trips, have drawing days and spend time hand drawing and painting original artwork.

Also in the team are Rupal who works on special projects, and Lauren who backs us all up on everything plus creates the presentation Powerpoints, keeps the fent book*, and makes sure all design and colour files are organised at the end of every season. Holly is our studio co-ordinator who keeps things running smoothly!

(NB: each design is archived in various swatch and fent books*; artwork, fabric bases, colourways, promotional and sales material are all recorded).

Spring/summer 2013 inspired by The Chelsea Flower Show

-What is the process that takes a design idea into production and retail?

At the moment we are about to start creating sketches for spring/summer 2015. 

I love coming up with the design briefs, it’s one of the most inspirational aspects of my job.  One of my favourite tasks is to thoroughly research an idea and come up with something original each season.

Liberty Art Fabrics is a design-led company, which we pride ourselves on. While we listen to feedback from customers, agents and our sales team our design briefs are created two to three years before a collection is launched at retail so it is really important that the collections are design-led and retain the heritage and originality which makes our prints so successful.

Each season the studio creates around 43 designs in 8 colourways. We then present our work at a number of selection meetings, working very closely with Kirstie (Kirstie Carey MD of Liberty Design) who reviews the new ideas.  We whittle these down to 40 designs, all of which will be printed onto Liberty’s iconic Tana Lawn.  We also create capsule collections on a number of different base fabrics using the designs most relevant to each base.

While we aim to think as creatively as possible at this stage, there may also be other considerations – it is important that our collections are successful worldwide, so we occasionally work on special projects that cater for specific design and colour requests. We also work on childrenswear design and colour. 

-Tell us about your recent travels for inspiration and research?

While researching spring/summer 2013 we went to Tresco (Scilly Isles) – in fact nearly all the best sellers in this collection were inspired by that trip - we also went to Vienna for design research, to the Chelsea Flower Show and on the trail of Guerrilla Gardeners in London!

More recently we’ve been to Glasgow and The Isle of Bute, both wonderful.  However my favourite research trip was to Iceland for autumn/winter 2013, a truly inspirational place that will stay with me forever.

Spring/summer 2013 inspired by Tresco

Spring/summer 2013 inspired by The Chelsea Flower Show

Spring/summer 2013 inspired by Vienna

-Do you ever refer back to the Liberty archives?  

Yes, the Liberty Archive is amazing.  It is hidden away in a warehouse in Bermondsey - a treasure trove of archived Liberty prints and sketches. Every design, from tana lawn to silk satin, is documented with as much information as possible and stored safely in a digital database. 

But most exciting of course are the collections themselves - oversized books bursting to the brim with swatches, piles of neatly labeled boxes and paintings as bright as the day they were painted.

The Liberty archives

-What are your favourite inspirations right now?

Gosh, almost everything inspires me, but mainly it is my daughters Mauve and Rose Xanthe who make me laugh so much and look at the world from such a variety of different and wonderful perspectives. 

-In what ways do you work with students and what would you look for in a graduate designer joining your team?

We work on an annual collaboration with the textile design students at Central Saint Martins, and have also worked with another MA course creating colour for a recent collection. We always have work experience students in the studio, working from one week to three months at a time.

I would look for the same thing in a graduate as any designer – diversity of ideas, great sketchbooks with lots of original hand drawing, and a beautiful and varied sense of colour.  Personality is important too - someone who is very lovely and very inspiring – it is so important that they spend time in the studio and for the team to bond with them. They would also need relevant computer skills!

Spring/summer 2013 inspired by Tresco

Article tags: print (31), alumni (44), general (60), business (54), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), colour (8)

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!”

Article tags: home & interiors (28), alumni (44), texprint 2012 (27), fashion (35), woolmark (19), general (60), business (54), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), special events (11)

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

 

 

 

 

Article tags: knit (16), weave (24), home & interiors (28), exhibition (24), fashion (35), woolmark (19), general (60), accessories (15), sponsors (30), special events (11)

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