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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: general (45), business (46), champions of texprint (33), woolmark (19), texprint london (17), sponsors (23), indigo (12), texprint 2013 (19), shanghai (3), como (3), judges 2013 (12), indigo paris (10)

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 (45), champions of texprint (33), sponsors (23), texprint 2013 (19), como (3)

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 (21), general (45), business (46), champions of texprint (33), woolmark (19), sponsors (23), texprint 2013 (19), judges 2013 (12), indigo paris (10)

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: general (45), champions of texprint (33), woolmark (19), sponsors (23), texprint 2013 (19), judges 2013 (12), indigo paris (10)

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: general (45), business (46), champions of texprint (33), woolmark (19), sponsors (23), special events (10), texprint 2013 (19), indigo paris (10)

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: general (45), business (46), champions of texprint (33), woolmark (19), sponsors (23), texprint 2013 (19), judges 2013 (12), indigo paris (10)

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 (33), sponsors (23), texprint 2013 (19)

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 (45), business (46), champions of texprint (33), texprint london (17), sponsors (23), texprint 2013 (19), judges 2013 (12)

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 (33), general (45), business (46), champions of texprint (33), sponsors (23), texprint 2013 (19)

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 (33), general (45), business (46), champions of texprint (33), paris (4), sponsors (23), texprint 2013 (19)

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 (29), alumni (42), general (45), business (46), champions of texprint (33), sponsors (23), 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 (26), alumni (42), texprint 2012 (27), fashion (33), general (45), business (46), champions of texprint (33), woolmark (19), sponsors (23), special events (10)

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 (21), home & interiors (26), exhibition (24), fashion (33), general (45), accessories (15), woolmark (19), sponsors (23), special events (10)

WSA magazine: Build inner strength with the talent of tomorrow

23 January 2013 by Editor

Sheree Waterson of Lululemon Athletica with Sophie Reeves and Manri Kishimoto

The January issue of WSA magazine features an interview with Sheree Waterson executive vice president and chief product officer of Lululemon Athletica (Texprint foundation sponsors) focused on the thinking behind Lululemon’s support for Texprint and, in Sheree's words, the importance of infusing “the organisation with new talent that sees the world in new ways.”

The inaugural Lululemon Texprint Award was won by Texprint 2012 designers Manri Kishimoto and Sophie Reeves who each received £1,000 and a prestigious 3-month paid internship at Lululemon’s Vancouver headquarters which started this January.

The article offers insight not only into the ethos of this rapidly growing North American business, but also highlights the cultural philosophy and yogic principles that Lululemon encourages in its work force and that feeds into its success.

In the article Sheree says: “In terms of leadership, the interns are going to be immersed in our culture of vision, goal-setting and personal accountability.  Additionally they will learn our design principles at Lululemon; combining fashion and function, West Coast lifestyle with European styling and creating their designs through those filters.”

Personal mentoring and well-managed internships are the cornerstones on which graduates can build and fast track their experience gathering.  The Texprint programme has long had mentoring at its core and with its sponsor-partners is planning to further develop this aspect of the programme through 2013.

WSA (World Sports Activewear) is a widely recognised, award-winning international publication for material development in the performance wear market.  Published six times a year it provides an up-to-date analysis of technical developments, commercial trends and offers valuable business management information. To subscribe to WSA go to www.sportstextiles.com

Article tags: texprint 2012 (27), business (46), champions of texprint (33), sponsors (23), collaboration (8), judges 2012 (13)

ComOn: creativity week and internships

08 November 2012 by Editor

More than ever supporting graduate designers through properly structured internships is invaluable in helping them fast track their experience and commercial understanding.

The Italian trade organisation Confindustria Como represents a core of 300 Como-based textile companies and is responsible for organizing ComOn, a unique multi-disciplinary enterprise aimed at supporting promising young talent in the areas of fashion, design and art by offering real work experience in industry in the Lake Como area of Italy.

Their continued sponsorship of Texprint has this year provided an invaluable and unforgettable experience for six talented Texprint 2012 designers selected to participate in the ComOn creativity week, held October 15 to 20. Alice Howard-Graham, Manri Kishimoto, Sophie Manners, Israel Parra-Zanabria, Sophie Reeves and Amber Sambrook travelled to Como for a series of presentations, workshops and visits to some of Italy’s most prestigious mills.   They joined a larger group of graduate designers from Europe and Brazil, 22 in total.

Israel, Alice, Manri, Sophie Manners, Sophie Reeves and Amber

The designers' experience gathering included visits to the silk museum, Centro Tessile Serico, and to Ratti (Texprint supporters) and Canepa to view their state-of-the-art production facilities and their inspiring textile archives; also to the Missoni and Ermenegildo Zegna headquarters. Trend leader Li Edelkoort introduced her s/s 2014 trends. 

The ComOn creativity-sharing workshop Last Century, Next Century Icons was a highlight.  Working in groups the designers shared their thinking and decision-making; presenting their conclusions to inspirational workshop leader David Shah, publisher of Textile View magazine, and ultimately to local industry heads on huge banners at a gala dinner at Villa Erba (once home to film producer Luchino Visconti).

Peter Ring-Lefevre, Texprint’s creative director said: “David Shah's involvement was so energizing, his fantastic interaction with the young designers got them thinking in very new ways.  Hopefully the presentations back to industry equally energised the design professionals involved.”

Sophie Manners and Israel talking with Barbara Majocchi of ComOn

Moda di Mare, the swimwear show held annually in Cannes, ran a workshop in collaboration with ComOn: the designers presenting specially created work to several swimwear manufacturers. We were delighted to hear that two out of the three winners were Texprint designers: Manri Kishimoto and Israel Parra-Zanabria.  All three winners were invited to attend the exhibition in Cannes 6-8 November and to design the Moda di Mare trend area. 

Giuseppina Shah of View Publications with Israel and Manri at Moda di Mare

The six Texprint designers have now embarked on seven-week internships with major Como-based textile companies: Alice Howard-Graham (print) with Canepa, Manri Kishimoto (print/multi-media) with Taiana, Sophie Manners (weave) with Taroni, Israel Parra-Zanabria (print) with Rotary Textiles, Sophie Reeves (weave) with Luigi Verga, and Amber Sambrook (print) with Argenti.

Our thanks to all these companies for providing the designers with this unique opportunity to experience working in textiles in Italy.

ComOn’s mission to be a hub of creativity in Europe fits with Texprint’s own ethos to support and showcase the best emerging UK-trained textile designers.  www.comon-co.it

Article tags: texprint 2012 (27), sponsors (23), special events (10), como (3)

The Texprint 24: Indigo highlights 2012

02 October 2012 by Editor

Buyers at Amber Sambrook stand

For the Texprint 24 the textile design show Indigo provided their first experience of exhibiting and selling their work alongside professional, established designers.

This prestigious showcase in Paris, September 19-21, is a fantastic platform for the emerging designers and vital to Texprint’s aim of helping to launch the careers of some of the best British graduates, the experience helping to shape the designers’ individual future plans.

 

Chairman Barbara Kennington was delighted to host this year’s event.  “British creativity has been in the spotlight this year; creativity that comes in large part from encouraging diversity, excellence and high achievement in all design fields, and especially in fashion and textiles.  Smart companies are looking to tap into this rich seam of British-trained talent and connecting with Texprint to support new textile talent.”

Overall Indigo 2012 was the best ever in terms of sales and contacts for the Texprint designers.

Sales to North America were particularly good, with Kayser-Roth Corp from North Carolina buying well; Lululemon Athletica (Texprint Foundation Sponsors), Hollister/Abercrombie & Fitch, Rachel Roy, Tracey Reese and Nike among others, also bought strongly.

Asian and European buyers were out in force too. From Europe: Tara Jarmon herself bought for junior line Mademoiselle Tara, and among others Nelly Rodi, H&M, Topshop, Boden, Custo, Desigual, Guy Laroche, White Stuff, and MD Gera, the German fashion prints manufacturer, were noted.

Buyers at Ying Wu stand

Conversations with these buyers gave the Texprint designers a unique opportunity to explain their inspiration and their work.  Aside from individual sales, many freelance opportunities arose, as well as firm job offers and commissions.

Print designer David Warner notes: “It was such an invigorating experience to meet with buyers, agents, and industry experts. Getting their insight into what they thought of my designs and explaining who I am as a designer, gaining important contacts along the way. The whole experience will live with me and help to inform my future work.”

Philippa Watkins, journalist and RCA senior tutor, at Sophia Fenlon stand

Guido Tettamanti and Marco Taiana, representing sponsors Confidustria Como and the ComON creativity week, again endorsed their support for the programme.  This year they have offered six designers an invaluable opportunity to experience working with Italian companies based in and around Como (up from two last year): Alice Howard-Graham, Manri Kishimoto, Sophie Manners, Israel Parra-Zanabria, Sophie Reeves and Amber Sambrook.

Woolmark Texprint Award judges at Lisa Bloomer stand

The Woolmark Texprint Award in Support of Campaign for Wool was judged at Indigo by James E Sugden OBE, director; James Dracup, group managing director, both of Johnstons of Elgin; and Masahiro Oono, textile design project manager of Japanese specialist wool weaver Nikke, and won by weaver Sophie Manners.

The highlight of the three-day event was the prize presentation.  This took place on 19 September within a special section of the Texprint village where Texprint chairman Barbara Kennington welcomed the esteemed fashion and trend forecaster Nelly Rodi as the guest prize presenter.

Nelly reminded the audience of buyers, press and design professionals of her passion for nurturing young talent and her long-held admiration for the British design education system: “British schools seem take a much freer approach to educating their students, mixing different approaches such as photography, art and fashion, leaving the student to express himself, without imposed rule…Freedom gives a lot of energy to fashion.”

Nelly presented the winners of the four Texprint awards with their cheques: Carlo Volpi, winner of the Body Prize; Tania Grace Knuckey, winner of the Space Prize, Manri Kishimoto, winner of the Colour Prize; and Ying Wu, winner of the Pattern Prize.

Also saying a few words at the event were Gilles Lasbordes of Indigo/ Première Vision, and Peter Ackroyd of The Woolmark Company and Sheree Waterson of Lululemon Athletica; both companies Foundation Sponsors of Texprint.

Peter emphasized The Woolmark Company’s focus on “education, education, education” and again reiterated their desire to ensure that young designers are encouraged to work in wool, and to understand both its properties and its potential for fashion and interiors markets.

Peter Ackroyd of The Woolmark Company, Sophie Manners, Rebecca Sharp of The Woolmark Company, and Nelly Rodi 

Sheree created a buzz of excitement with her no-nonsense “Texprint rocks!” accolade.  Since becoming Foundation Sponsors earlier this year, Lululemon has shown itself to be the most enthusiastic and forward thinking of companies.  Sheree’s original plan to employ one intern to work in Vancouver for three months soon became two interns - Manri Kishimoto and Sophie Reeves - as Sheree realized she could not choose between them when making her selection back in July at Texprint London.

Lululemon believe that working with Texprint and its exciting young designers is the very best way of driving innovation into their design process and of giving back and nurturing the next generation. An attitude we strongly applaud.

Buyer at Fergus Dowling stand

Print designer Trinity Mitchell sums up the designers’ appreciation for Texprint and in turn Texprint’s sponsors: “I can't express just how grateful I am to all of you at Texprint. I have had such a wonderful time and I am so thankful to have been part of it all. I never would have made the contacts I did if it weren't for Texprint, and I look forward to those contacts hopefully turning into jobs and work!”

Article tags: texprint 2012 (27), general (45), woolmark (19), sponsors (23), indigo (12), judges 2012 (13)

Weaver Sophie Manners wins Woolmark Texprint Award

27 September 2012 by Editor

Buzz of excitement as judges examine Sophie's work

Weaver Sophie Manners was selected as winner of the second Woolmark Texprint Award in support of the Campaign for Wool last week at Indigo, Paris.

Sophie, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, won the prize for her superb woven textile designs developed with 60% or more Merino wool. The prize has been created in support of the Campaign for Wool with Patron HRH The Prince of Wales and honours the inventive use of wool in textile design. 

Texprint chairman Barbara Kennington, Sophie Manners, prize presenter Nelly Rodi and Peter Ackroyd of The Woolmark Company

The prize was judged at Indigo by James E Sugden OBE, director; James Dracup, group managing director, both of Johnstons of Elgin; and Masahiro Oono, textile design project manager of Japanese specialist wool weaver Nikke.

They selected Sophie out of the 24 shortlisted designers taking part in the Texprint programme this year, all of whom presented their work at Indigo. She received £1,000 in prize money, which was presented by this year’s Texprint prize presenter, the esteemed trend forecaster Nelly Rodi, and The Woolmark Company's Peter Ackroyd. As part of her prize, Sophie will also have access to training on the benefits and uses of wool through her nearest Woolmark Company office.

Nelly Rodi selects fabrics from Sophie's collection

Sophie loves colour and texture and being playful with these two elements. It was her reinvented traditional woven pieces on the theme of hair and fur, and her experimental approach to constructing fabrics with often unexpectedly tactile surfaces, that caught the judges attention.

Sophie’s weave tutor at the RCA, Philippa Watkins, says of her work: “Sophie is a clever weaver with a good grasp of woven techniques, including a velvet technique, which she explores to great effect using a variety of yarns and materials to create some extraordinary surfaces with a sometimes very surprising touch.” 

 

Mr Sugden said the judges selected Sophie because of her technical excellence and the commerciality of her weave designs.  She has a distinctive style and Mr Oono praised her tremendous imagination.

The Woolmark judges also commended printer Israel Parra-Zanabria, a graduate of Glasgow School of Art, for his translation of ideas to commercial execution.

Article tags: weave (21), texprint 2012 (27), business (46), woolmark (19), sponsors (23), indigo (12), judges 2012 (13)

Indigo success: Texprint designers exhibit at Indigo, Paris

22 September 2012 by Editor

Texprint celebrated the achievements of the creative world's most exciting new textile design talents at last week's successful showcase at Indigo, Paris.  Legendary fashion and trend forecaster Nelly Rodi presented this year's special prizes. Texprint chairman Barbara Kennington was joined on stage by Nelly Rodi and sponsors Peter Ackroyd of The Woolmark Company, Sheree Waterson of Lululemon Athletica and Gilles Lasbordes of Indigo/Première Vision.

Chosen for their creative flair, technical skill, and individuality in knit, weave, print, stitch and mixed media design, as well as a readiness to enter their professional lives, the 24 selected designers are the best of the best from around the globe - all trained in Britain.

More reports to follow.

Article tags: texprint 2012 (27), general (45), paris (4), sponsors (23), indigo (12)

Texprint Paris special prize presenter 2012: Nelly Rodi

16 September 2012 by

“I’m delighted that Nelly Rodi has agreed to be this year’s special prize presenter at Indigo,” says Texprint’s creative director Peter Ring-Lefevre. Indeed, the entire Texprint team are thrilled to welcome the esteemed creative director and founder of the eponymous trend forecasting company to the podium of the Texprint Village at Indigo, Paris, on Thursday 20 September at 3.30pm where she will be guest of honour at the annual prize ceremony.

Mme Rodi herself has been recognised for her achievements in the world of creation, receiving the Legion of Honour in 1998 from the French President and Officer of the Legion of Honour in 2009.

She founded the NellyRodi Agency in 1985 and the company counts the cream of international fashion and beauty brands such as L’Oréal, Tommy Hilfiger, Marks & Spencer, PPR and LVMH among its clientele. The Agency is known for providing a very sophisticated forecasting service, founded on research and analysis, which considers sociological, creative and marketing influences on future trends. As well as publishing regular Trendlab® forecasting books across several markets and end users, the company works extensively on brand repositioning and bespoke consultancy projects.

Peter is full of praise for the way in which Nelly approaches creative development and design work and recalls working on a project with her in the early 1990s when he was product development manager, menswear, at the The Woolmark Company office in Paris (then called IWFO and part of IWS).

“Nelly had a wonderful way of understanding wool as a natural fibre. She stretched the imagination and technical side of what could be achieved with the fibre in the developing stages,” he says. “She had lots of new ideas, right down to the benefit for various consumer levels. She has a very thorough way of working.”

Texprint takes an equally rigorous approach to selecting the most dynamic and talented new textile designers from UK art schools and universities to take part in the annual mentoring programme.

“British schools seem take a much freer approach to educating their students, mixing different approaches such as photography, art and fashion, leaving the student to express himself, without imposed rule…Freedom gives a lot of energy to fashion,” says Nelly.

As a creative force with a deep understanding of the fashion and interiors industries, Nelly will offer a wealth of advice to the 24 selected textile designers when she visits the designers’ stands at Indigo, part of Première Vision Pluriel. She says she is interested in work that has “an artistic approach, close to an artistic concept, mixed with texture and colours. For drawing, I look for hand-drawing and motifs which are not too commercial or based on actual trends. Technology comes after...”

“Nelly understands that the industry needs to be behind young and creative textile designers,” says Peter. Indeed, Nelly says: “The younger generation brings a lot of positive energy and modernity needed by our ‘old’ textile industry. We find new approaches by looking after the work of the new generation.”

She signs off with the following advice for new graduates: “Don’t be depressed by the textile recession. Make direct contact with leading international garment brands. Keep your freshness and freedom. And dare to create what you have in your hearts.”

Thank you Mme Rodi, we look forward to seeing you in Paris.

For more information about Texprint and to arrange an interview with Nelly Rodi at Indigo, Paris, ahead of the prize presentation at 3pm on Thursday 20 September please email events@gghq.co.uk or call Delphine Thwaites on +44 (0)20 7250 0589.

Article tags: general (45), business (46), champions of texprint (33), woolmark (19), paris (4), sponsors (23), indigo (12), judges 2012 (13)

Woolmark Texprint judge: Masahiro Oono from Japanese wool specialist Nikke

11 September 2012 by

Textile designer Masahiro Oono from Japanese wool specialist Nikke joins judging panel for the 2012 Woolmark Texprint Award in support of Campaign for Wool prize.

Versatile, strong and natural: Merino wool provides textile designers with yarns and fabrics which are luxurious and sustainable, whether used in interiors or in apparel. The Woolmark Company, the not-for-profit organisation owned by over 29,000 Australian woolgrowers, invests in research, development, innovation and marketing along the global supply chain for Australian wool — the largest source of this noble fibre.

The Woolmark Company encourages new designers to explore the design possibilities and benefits of Merino wool through the sponsorship of the second annual Woolmark Texprint Award in support of Campaign for Wool. The award recognises design excellence in fabrics created with 60% or more Merino wool, whether presented as printed, woven, knitted and/or mixed media fabric.

A winner will be selected from among the 24 designers who will show their work in the Texprint village at Indigo, which is part of Première Vision Pluriel, September 19-21, 2012. The Woolmark Company and Texprint are delighted that experts in woollen textile creation will be choosing the winner.

In the first of two profile focuses on the judges, we speak with Masahiro Oono, project manager of Nikke Group’s textile design and marketing department in the Osaka-based organisation’s textile and clothing materials division – otherwise known as the Japan Wool Textile Co Ltd.

Nikke was established over 110 years ago, starting as a manufacturer of wool products and has since expanded into six different domains with the aim of providing “products and services to meet customers’ demands and make a contribution to society”. Its textile and clothing materials division includes the development, manufacture and wholesaling of products for apparel primarily incorporating wool. Like wool, Nikke’s corporate philosophy is to be “gentle and warm toward people and the planet”. ­

On meeting with Mr Oono on Nikke’s stand at textile exhibition Première Vision, Paris, he presents what he describes as the company’s signature fabric: a superfine wool chiffon gauze weighing 120g per meter which costs in the region of €35 per meter, which puts it in the realm of luxury brands. Indeed, he lists Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Jil Sander and Burberry as top customers.

The most popular colours selected by buyers in February were sky blue or mustard, however for Mr Oono, achieving technical excellence is more important than using colour in design: “Nikke has a long history and a large archive, and we do a lot of work from the archive. I try to do what other can’t or aren’t able to do.”

Mr Oono joined Nikke 25 years ago. With two generations of kimono artisans in his family, he says his parents were happy when he decided to study fashion and textiles. “Since I was a child I have liked clothing. When I was deciding what to do at university, new stylists such as Yohji Yamamoto were coming through and I wanted to do something in this field,” he explains.

To the question ‘why would you recommend that new textile designers experiment with wool?’ he replies with another question: “Maybe students think that wool is thick and not interesting? But high end wool has so much potential. It’s important to know the possibilities of wool. If you don’t know wool and wool fibres you will never become a good textile designer.”

Mr Oono is a great advocate of wool and praises its inherent nature: “It’s natural, and comes from sheep and there’s a long history of man weaving sheep’s wool. You can do so many things with it: felt, twill, crêpe... there are so many possibilities. It’s also strong.”

As a Woolmark Texprint Award judge, he says he will be looking for designs that show “something unusual, that no one else has thought of, a new way”.  As well as lending his expertise in judging the competition, Mr Oono will be a source of advice and inspiration for the 24 designers taking part in Texprint this year as he meets them and reviews their design work while looking for the winner: “We need young people – we need new ideas. Textile design is very creative work, work that gives you the possibility to realise your dreams.”

Article tags: texprint 2012 (27), general (45), business (46), champions of texprint (33), woolmark (19), sponsors (23), indigo (12), judges 2012 (13)