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Marie Parsons: My first year at Jaguar
10 June 2013 by Editor
Marie Parsons (Texprint 2011) writes for Texprint about her experience of working with auto manufacturer and heritage brand Jaguar:
Jaguar is synonymous with great British design, luxury, and honesty in materials. I have long felt an emotional attachment to the brand: my dad owned Jags and being driven in his car always gave me a real sense of occasion. So when I was approached at my RCA show in 2011 about a role in the company’s Advanced Design team as a Colour and Materials Designer, I was understandably delighted.
Marie Parsons, left, with Jaguar creative specialist Siobhan Hughes
‘Jaguars are a perfect blend of luxury and performance in a very contemporary and emotional product. We believe our design teams are leaders in not just car design, but also in defining the luxury experience. We endeavor to find the best design talent from across the world, not just car designers but people who have the best insight into fashion, materials and product design. More often than not these sorts of talents are found in abundance at the Royal College of Art.’ Julian Thomson Advanced Design Director-Jaguar Cars
In my experience, working in the automotive industry is rarely considered as a likely option for textile designers. I specialised in mixed media at the RCA and in stitch at Chelsea College of Art & Design. During that time I sold freelance work to the New York market; to DKNY, Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, DVF and Armani Exchange, and later to NIKE when showing at Indigo as part of Texprint.
While the fashion industry was always my target, and continues to be my richest source of inspiration, at the RCA I concluded it was materials, their capabilities, restrictions, unexpected application and combinations that really excite me. I saw the opportunity to work for Jaguar as a challenging and welcome progression, an environment in which I could continue to explore new materials and processes in a more considered, luxurious and sophisticated manner.
At the RCA, my work was about reinterpreting traditional hand embroidery techniques in innovative ways, through digital machine embroidery and laser cutting. My graduate project was a collection of digitally embroidered shoes and a luggage trunk both inspired by the depth of reverse applique and quilting, juxtaposing rigid plastics alongside tactile latex.
Left: Marie Parsons with Professor Clare Johnston RCA at Texprint Coutts dinner March 2013; Centre and right: ©Marie Parsons: RCA 2011 final collection
My work today continues to be inquisitive and innovative. In Jaguar’s advanced design department, we work five to 10 years ahead. As it takes typically four to five years to develop a car, our role is to discover and develop advanced material ideas for car interiors and exterior details. We define the colour and material strategy and design intent of pre-production and concept vehicles.
I work in a small team of three designers, all from non-automotive backgrounds, led by creative specialist Siobhan Hughes. Our diverse backgrounds make for a dynamic and well-informed team, each bringing something unique to the table - with an area of specialism and acting as project manager for our individual programme.
We explore the 'A' surface materials: these range from woods through to rubbers, flooring, specialist paints, plastics, metal, leather, fabrics and integrated technologies; and also the 'B' surface materials which take into account eco and sustainability issues, after life and lightweight material solutions. We work to recreate familiar techniques such as perforation and embossing, embroidery and quilting.
A typical day could involve anything from rendering material ideas on an interior sketch, trend and market research, analysing material lab results, presenting proposals to senior management, checking colour in the light box, or sampling new finishes and techniques with the painters and trimmers.
My favourite aspect of the job is the continual learning process. We have so much technology and expertise on one site - in a five minute walk you can observe a clay car being modelled to scale by hand, parts being 3D printed, seats being hand-stitched, and then interact with the finished product in a virtual reality pod.
I’ve had to take on board a vast amount of information to over the last 18 months. Cars are incredibly complex objects of design and engineering and there are many factors to consider when putting forward new ideas. Materials must be premium quality with the correct aesthetic values but the longevity to still look good in the vehicle in 10 years time.
Despite working in the advanced team, materials and colours must be fit for purpose. There is a skill to retaining creativity while working with restrictions and to budget. I have learnt to employ a different eye when researching, one that is Jaguar specific, and to consider feasibility, brand values and the customer in everything I do.
Being well informed and up to date with trends and technology is crucial. My role has involved a great deal of travel in the last year - visiting suppliers, trade shows, exhibitions, mills, factories and universities - with the highlight of 2012 being an extensive research trip to China.
It’s an exciting time to be at the company, Jaguar is investing in and nurturing young designers who are given real responsibility and the chance to work alongside experienced senior designers, modellers, and technicians; with exposure to the wider business, meeting with PR, marketing and purchasing, allowing for constant and fast paced development. This energy and spirit of community makes me feel integral to the future of a thriving iconic British brand.
Texprint alumnae at SIT Select, 4 May
07 April 2013 by Editor
Texprint has been invited by Lizzi Walton, artistic director and CEO of Stroud International Textiles to introduce the work of Texrint alumnae Lauren Bowker (Texprint 2011) and Lisa Bloomer (Texprint 2012) at SIT Select on Saturday 4 May.
A day of textile innovation and design excellence Introduced by Barbara Kennington; illustrated talks from Lauren Bowker and Lisa Bloomer.
Date: Saturday 4 May, start 1.00 pm – 3 pm
Tickets: £10 & £8 (Friends of SIT & Museum)
SIT Select is the exhibition arm of Stroud International Textiles, their aim to raise awareness and to increase the enjoyment of contemporary textiles and contemporary crafts. Through an extensive programme of exhibitions, talks and open studios, SIT Select challenges the public’s perception of contemporary crafts while increasing active participation in the arts for a wide range of people and abilities.
While at first glance textile art and craft may seem only loosely connected to the faster moving and commercial worlds of fashion and interiors, there’s little doubt that it can inform, guide and inspire. As fashion textiles become increasingly innovative and creative, and production challenges even greater, it is important to be open-minded and explore seemingly less walked routes to discover new directions for colour and materials.
Since leaving The Royal College of Art the routes taken by Lauren Bowker and Lisa Bloomer could not be more different although there are points of connection, particularly around sustainability and textile development to improve the world in which we live, which motivate them both.
Lauren Bowker’s vision - to See The Unseen - lies beyond the world of the traditional textile as she intertwines unexpected materials and technology for the future world of arts, fashion and wellbeing - everything from catwalks to feathers to concrete - always with the human at the heart and with the intention of providing real solutions to real problems, improving and inspiring our lives.
Lauren Bowker for Peachoo + Krejberg 2012/13
Lisa Bloomer’s work, though firmly based in weave, goes beyond the traditional textile approach as she explores dye, print and freehand techniques. Using digital technology Lisa mixes the complexity of cross-dyeing with the spontaneity of mark-making to create sustainably-produced, bespoke fabrics for interiors and fashion.
Lisa Bloomer at Indigo 2011
Textile: ©Lisa Bloomer
The main exhibitions and talks curated by SIT take place in the Museum in the Park, Stroud - check WEBSITE. Tickets must be either booked online or by sending a cheque to SIT. Details are in brochure and on the booking page.
Texprint is pleased to support this extraordinarily rich and diverse programme and applauds the excellence and innovation of UK-based designer makers who are driving textiles and contemporary crafts forward nationally and internationally. CLICK BELOW to view the full brochure onscreen:
London Fashion Week: Texprint’s textile review Part 2
04 April 2013 by Editor
In Texprint’s second report on the autumn/winter 13/14 London Fashion Week collections we look at the innovations in wool, surface finishes, jacquards - and at what’s new in technology.
“London Fashion Week has long been synonymous with innovation and the latest round of London runways shows didn’t disappoint as our internationally acclaimed young designers lead the way in exciting new textile developments,” comments Sue Evans, fashion editor of WGSN.com (Texprint sponsor).
Christopher Raeburn, Daks, J.W.Anderson / Photos: style.com
Sophistication came from those collections that showed a quiet simplicity of attitude (though not necessarily of colour), and in many cases, a continuing passion for wool, whether flat surfaced, ombred or more decorative.
Sue notes: “Print wunderkind Jonathan Saunders delivered scrolling appliques on delicate lace and felted wools in place of his signature print and pattern, an interesting move for him.”
Jonathan Saunders / Photos: style.com
"Wool was present not only at Fashion Week in London but also in New York, Milan and Paris where several collections featured full overcoats in woollen fabrics. Of note were examples of boiled wools, meltons, serges and drabs. Of particular interest in Paris was Stella McCartney's astute use of menswear fabrics, particularly pin stripes and flannels in worsted weights to add extra drape. Woolmark feels that wool has made a massive return for autumn/winter 13/14 in both men's and women's wear. Never has wool been so much at the forefront of the collections of leading designers and brands," says Peter Ackroyd, The Woolmark Company (Texprint sponsor).
Pringle of Scotland, Burberry Prorsum, John Rocha / Photos: style.com
Utilitarian looks were there too. Clare Johnston, professor of textiles at RCA, says: “The designers presented collections of men’s and women’s fashion that were modern, desirable and durable.” Not least Christopher Raeburn’s felted wool fabrics, made water resistant with Teflon, a clever and practical innovation that works to enhance his contemporary take on the sportswear aesthetic.
Mulberry / Photos: style.com
Fabrics were often toyed with, and finishes were key. Bonded double jersey, rubber, cire and wet-look coatings were all used by designers to lend an anarchic and unexpected edge.
Felder Felder, Simone Rocha, Burberry Prorsum / Photos: style.com
Refreshing colour and innovative fabrications came from Simone Rocha who showcased a delightful mix of felted wools, heavy lace, cobweb crochet, sparkly tinsel threads and tufts of petal-like texture. Her baby-pink tones, spongy bonded fabrics and classic structures were both exaggerated and assured. J.W. Anderson showed a collection that was pared down, modern and played with proportions and exaggerated details.
J.W.Anderson, Simone Rocha, Roksanda Ilincic / Photos: style.com
Jacquards found a new direction too. Used notably by Pringle of Scotland and Temperley London.
Temperley London, Pringle of Scotland, Osman / Photos: style.com
Texprint also notes British designers exploring technology in new and exciting ways.
In the case of Burberry Prorsum technology is used to emphasise the heritage and artisanal quality of the collection as the creative story behind each autumn/winter 12/13 runway Made To Order piece comes to life through smart personalisation.
Technology in each item unlocks immersive video footage, retracing its journey and celebrating its expert design and craftsmanship. On contact with a touch screen device each piece unlocks a unique video experience, charting its artisan production -- including original sketches, runway edits, craftsmanship and personalisation. Undoubtedly an incredibly expensive luxe service, but exciting and innovative nonetheless.
We also love Matthew Williamson’s low-tech Vine video campaign – snappy close-up 6-second videos shot backstage by photographer Sean Cunningham and tweeted live as the looks hit the runway. On his Facebook page Williamson also shows close-up photos of his spring/summer 2013 collection – Mathew Magnified - a clever way of highlighting the intricate workmanship and fabrics; detail that is often lost on the runway.
Texprint London 2012 resource seminar
24 July 2012 by Joyce Thornton
For the first time Texprint extended its Texprint London event to include a Resources Seminar held exclusively for invited tutors from the UK's leading textile design programmes. Three speakers each gave a different focus on future trends in colour, fibre and style.
Philippa Watkins, senior lecturer in weave and Honorary Fellow of the RCA, says: "The seminar I felt was a great add-on to the Texprint London show. The three presentations gave very useful insights into different aspects of the business – ultimately of great benefit to their students. Lecturers really don’t often get the opportunity to spend time taking in seasonal forecasts such as the WGSN presentation, so when the opportunity arises it’s great. I was particularly impressed by Pantone’s presentation as I had only a sketchy idea of the scope of their work and the science behind colour matching. And The Woolmark Company have done a great deal recently to raise the profile of wool, so the beautiful presentation really helps get the wool message out there."
Carola Seybold of Pantone X-Rite talked about managing colour accuracy in the digital age. Apparently 65% of all our purchasing decisions involve colour. Not surprisingly, in the fashion industry, getting the colour right has a critical impact on the bottom line of profit and much research goes into tracking and developing colour for all manner of products. She noted that although technology has changed much in our lives, the way we work with colour remains essentially the same.
As an aside, Joanna Bowring, Texprint's sponsorship director, and founder member of the British Textile Colour Group which since 1978 has represented the UK at Intercolor, the International Commission for Colour, says: "Colour communicates without language, is the most important element in buying decisions and its effective use is one of the key selection criteria for successful Texprint candidates.”
The Texprint prize for Colour is generously sponsored by Pantone X-Rite which also gives all four winners of the Texprint awards a complimentary Pantone Guide for Color & Home.
Carola Seybold, Helen Palmer and Barbara Kennington chairman of Texprint
Helen Palmer, head of materials and knit at WGSN, presented macro trends for autumn/winter 2013/14. By tracking the fast changing and influential aspects of life - art, architecture, music, technology and nature, among other elements – and analysing this intelligence, WGSN is able to confidently predict the future directions followed by many of the world’s major brands, retailers and designers.
Inspired by the natural world, WGSN’s first trend direction, Living Design, pointed to simple sculptural silhouettes that combine personality, quirkiness and humour, and that marry hard and soft materials. Creating a mood of dark drama, 21st Century Romance sees classic styling reinvented by combining new technology with traditional and often ornate decoration. Old master paintings inspire the colour palettes. Finally, Hacktivate is an exciting, casualwear trend that takes inspiration from DIY, sportswear and customisation, bolting different elements together to create seriously playful products.
WGSN is a Foundation Sponsor of Texprint and gives each of the 24 selected designers free access for one year to www.wgsn.com
Finally, Rebecca Sharp UK country manager of The Woolmark Company talked about the resurgence in the popularity of wool, noting that Merino wool with its long fibres and natural crimp is especially prized for its luxury feel and natural softness and warmth. Recent campaigns - including The Campaign for Cool Wool and successful initiatives such as the International Woolmark Prize for Young Designers and The Texprint Woolmark Prize in support of Campaign for Wool - mean the fibre is now back as a firm favourite with designers, retailers and the public. Wool's long held but newly recognised eco-credentials have helped to strengthen this popularity - it is natural, biodegradable and renewable.
The Woolmark Texprint Award in support of Campaign for Wool will be judged and presented at Indigo, Paris, in September. The Woolmark Company is a Foundation Sponsor of Texprint.
All three companies welcomed this unique opportunity to talk directly with textile tutors, and through them, to raise awareness of their brands and ethos and elevate the knowledge of textile design students.
In Kind Sponsors Arts Thread and Lectra were also on hand to talk about their services and products. Our thanks to Chelsea College of Art & Design for kindly allowing us use of the lecture theatre.
The Selection Process 2012 – judge Paul Stamper, lead designer Renault
04 July 2012 by GGHQ Fashion Intelligence
Texprint judge Paul Stamper has used his background in textile design to foster a career that spans multiple creative sectors, commerce and education. During his 20-plus years in the industry, he has held a range of positions including stylist and designer at the trend forecasting agency Nelly Rodi, creative director for the initial Urban Outfitters in the UK and, most recently, lead designer for French automotive giant, Renault. Paul’s international successes have earned him recognition as a respected name in the field of textiles and his various roles as a university-level educator have always worked in tandem - allowing him to give back the support that he was once received.
Paul has worked with Renault since 2000 as a designer involved in automotive fabrics and has worked with numerous international companies to develop innovative textiles in the field. As of 2010, he has been working as a lead designer - developing programmes and initiatives to nurture creativity and support innovation within the Renault design department.
“I am 100% supportive of nurturing young design talent, especially those from the UK,” says Paul. “I just love the exchange that I get from mentoring young designers. The stimulating energy and creativity is inspiring. Guiding a student and helping them to take their work in a new direction is what I love about teaching the next generation.”
Paul still recalls the great admiration and excitement that he felt for the Texprint selection process while training for his own MA in constructed textiles at the Royal College of Art. Now that the tables have turned, he is proud and excited to have the chance to inspire new talent through the Texprint programme, seeing as he attests his British education to a fruitful, well-rounded career.
“Being educated in the UK has been the biggest benefit that I could ever have wished for in my career,” says Paul. “When I visited companies abroad, I would show them my portfolio and they would always be impressed with the level of professionalism I had achieved. Being UK-trained has opened up a lot of doors for me.”
Paul now works on an international level as a key liaison between Renault and a variety of design schools around the world including the Domus Academy (Milan), Strate College of Design (Paris), the Eindhoven Design Academy (Holland) and, his alma mater, RCA. On 11 July, he will yet again have the chance to indulge his passion for discovering new design talent and giving back to the education system that served him well.
Paris Fashion Week: Lauren Bowker for Peachoo + Krejberg
02 March 2012 by Editor
When highly innovative designer Lauren Bowker (Texprint 2011) told us some while ago that she was working on a top secret project for Paris Fashion Week and that it involved working with hundreds and hundreds of feathers – we were intrigued! Now we can see the results, three amazing quill head-dresses for Paris-based Peachoo + Krejberg – a contact she made while showing with Texprint at Indigo/Première Vision in September 2011.
Lauren Bowker for Peachoo + Krejberg
This post courtesy of ARTS THREAD. See Lauren Bowker’s portfolio on ARTS THREAD with its video of the colour-changing feather structures that she created for her graduate show at the Royal College of Art.
Lauren Bowker: textiles, art, science
23 November 2011 by Joyce Thornton
Lauren Bowker is a maverick who works at the intersection of textiles, art and science. One of Texprint’s 24 from 2011 and a recent RCA MA printed textiles graduate, her practice is a world away from the conventional route of creating patterned fabrics. Her vision lies in the exciting possibilities opened up by advances in printing inks, new technology and techniques. Lauren is inspired by “making the invisible, visible” and her work has produced a number of exciting and unusual outcomes.
Lauren Bowker: cabinet detail, RCA Work in Progress exhibition 2011
Intriguing is a word that best describes much of Lauren’s work – her exhibit for the Work in Progress exhibition at the RCA in January 2011 caused many visitors to stop and ponder. Entitled ‘Several stages to show the release of a phoenix’, it was a precisely arranged curiosity cabinet, reminiscent of a Victorian pharmacy, which contained glass jars holding specimens of charred paper, fabric and tools. Lauren revealed the mysterious finished concept at her final exhibition at the RCA in the shape of a fictional creature encased in a vintage glass display case. The magic began with a flick of a hidden switch as the ‘bird’ began to move and its feathers dramatically changed colour.
Feather detail, printed with thermochromic inks
The science behind this fascinating work involves the use of thermochromic inks. Lauren’s exploration of the uses of these and other ‘smart’ inks and materials is where her true interest lies. As well as currently developing possibilities for use in the ‘theatre of fashion’ for shows and exhibitions, Lauren’s work also holds the promise of more serious applications in healthcare. For example, colour changing inks can be highly useful in creating visual alerts for medical staff as warning of physiological changes. Lauren has recently secured a position as an assistant at the Northumbria University’s London-based research hub, and will soon be working with leading academics on an exciting, on-going project called Active Materials for Living.
Lauren Bowker at London Printworks Trust
In addition, Lauren has been given studio space at Brixton-based charity London Printworks Trust; an opportunity made possible through a bursary from the Leverhulme Trust. This will give her access to facilities to be able to continue her personal creative work. James Bosley, Texprint supporter and senior printmaker at London Printworks Trust, has been instrumental in assisting Lauren in this crucial stage of her career.
Lauren in the print room at LPT
A whirlwind recent few months has seen Lauren exhibit with Texprint in London, Shanghai and Paris. This generated much interest and resulted in freelance commissions which have kept Lauren very busy, as well as travelling across the UK to speak at various universities about her pioneering work.
Lauren is pushing the boundaries of what textiles can be, and Texprint was quick to recognise and support the exciting potential of this young creative with her innovative and original approach.
To see Lauren speak about her work, visit this RCA video:
Website : http://www.phnx.co/ Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on Active Materials for Living research at Northumbria
London Printworks Trust is a registered charity, based in Brixton, South London, with impressive printing facilities. The Trust’s work spans many activities and its aims include forging stronger links between art and design, providing support for small businesses and offering educational activities within the local community and beyond. In addition, it works to provide continuing professional development and has links with larger commercial companies that also use its facilities.
Textile Futures highlights: Central Saint Martins 2011
03 July 2011 by Joyce Thornton
This year CSM’s MA Textiles Futures course celebrated a decade of forward-looking, experimental work created by its graduates, who continue to push the boundaries that define what textiles can be. The 2011 exhibition was held at the Southampton Row site in mid June and was organised into four sections: Probing the Future, Material Interrogation, Relocating Craft and Emotional Resonance.
Material Interrogation was one of the most impressive sections, with Miriam Ribul’s Air Momentum project perhaps the boldest concept. She explained: “Air manifests itself in its connection to something tangible; hence my textile outcomes are designed to allow or to shape air movement.” Her structures employ knotting and lacing techniques. This fascinating project has been documented through photography and video.
Marie Rouillon’s Daily Haptics took the form of a beautiful installation, focused on tactile qualities that she feels are much undervalued today. She used a simple white cup-shaped receptacle to explore her theme. She said: “Senses are just like muscles, if we don’t exercise them, they lose strength.” So, instead of familiar notices that warn, ‘Please do not touch’, Marie encouraged visitors to pick up and explore her pieces, creating a refreshing and surprising experience.
Using earth as a material, Hyun Jin Jeong’s quietly beautiful project was compelling in its simplicity. She undertook her research in a response to sustainability issues in the dyeing and finishing of textiles. She collected 45 different soils from varied locations in the UK and South Korea. The resulting creation was a rich palette of earth pigments which she used for dyeing and printing. She explained: “There are many natural materials that were once used but are now forgotten. I think rediscovering these materials and using them wisely is essential for a sustainable future.”
Amy Congdon’s Biological Atelier project formed part of the Probing the Future section. Imagining a world where “ethical ivory accessories or fantastical furs” can all be grown to order, she looked at “a new role for embroidery and textile design in our biological future”.
The Emotional Resonance section included the work of Wei Chen, who transformed commonplace objects and locations through textile based interventions. She described her work as “organic, unobtrusive and playful”. Ephemeral Blossom featured paper flowers that dissolve in the rain, releasing seeds.
In Craft Relocated, Laura Martinez’s Digicrafted project explored rapid manufacturing technologies, which are set to revolutionise the way products are designed and manufactured. Laura created some beautiful, decorative textiles that fused RM technology with traditional fabric manipulation techniques creating surfaces that can be used in numerous applications.
For more highlights from this inspiring and thought provoking exhibition visit
Rupert Newman - illuminating textiles
06 March 2011 by Joyce Thornton
Rupert Newman, one of Texprint’s alumni from 2006, is challenging the traditional boundaries of print, adding sound, animation and light projection to bring surface pattern to life. His mission includes not only involving the viewer in his magical pieces, but empowering them by giving control over their experience. Rupert, who graduated with an MA in Textile Design from the Royal College of Art last year, told us, “I not only aim to stimulate and bombard the senses with a variety of colours, textures, shapes and sounds, but also to provide the viewer with the ability to choose, control and manipulate this ‘palette’ with both predetermined and unpredictable material”.
Rupert’s approach is radically modern and alters the traditional artist/spectator relationship, as he explains, “I want to give the element of control back to them. I want them to explore the boundaries of my work in their individual ways”.
His recent work has clear recreational and therapeutic benefits and his installations have had great reactions from the public, having been shown at a variety of venues; at music festivals and nightclubs, as well as galleries. He created a quite a stir for a client in Chiswick, London recently, with his beautiful projection drawing attention to a showroom during a special event.
Currently in the process of planning an exciting new exhibition, to be held in Brixton, London later this spring, Rupert plans a variety of contrasting fabrics and light projections all accompanied by individual sounds, heard though wireless headphones. He is also beginning to explore how his work might be harnessed in sensory rooms, or play a role in product showrooms, or as window installations. Rupert Newman’s future looks as bright and exciting as his innovative work.