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FEATURES: Texprint 2012
One year on: Israel Parra-Zanabria is making waves in Mexico City
17 December 2013 by Editor
One year on, we talk to Texprint 2012 alumnus Israel Parra who was born in Mexico, trained in Scotland, and is now making waves back in his hometown Mexico City.
Israel’s highly distinctive design work is inspired by diverse influences – from manmade objects to nature finds, from brutalist architecture to his recollection of flowers - always altering conventional notions of what will work for fashion or interiors.
Multilingual, passionate and a highly focused textile designer, he says: “My design practice is driven by the combination of traditional silkscreen techniques and digital printing processes to ensure innovation and uniqueness.”
Do you work from home or studio? What inspires you?
I work from both at home and at a studio that I have started to build up very close to my home in Mexico City. I find inspiration in Mexico’s vibrant lifestyle as I cycle around the city with my camera and sketchbooks always on hand to document and record new inspirations.
I have been always drawn to nature and work both from life as well as from photographs to capture as much information as possible. Hence, my work is fused and digitally hand crafted to obtain best results.
What have been the key challenges?
Working on my own means everything is a challenge! From researching and exploring the creative process to developing a new collection, to then finding contacts, places to exhibit and sales points. Then of course organising and managing my accounts, social networks, making connections with national and international manufacturers etc etc.
However, as I lived in the UK and Europe for nearly 5 years, the most challenging thing has been returning to Mexico City. The entire metropolis has changed so dramatically that at the beginning I found myself immersed in a city I no longer recognized; but gradually I’ve been invited to participate in a broad range of opportunities and design platforms that are now blooming in Mexico City and feel settled here again.
What new projects have you been working on?
I have made contact with Mexican fashion companies such as Pineda Covalin http://www.pinedacovalin.com/_eng/ - whose design signature highlights Mexican culture and folklore, and received very good feedback on my latest project This City after being exhibiting at Cultura Colectiva (I’m now establishing sales points in Mexico City and possibly in San Diego, which is great).
Also I’ve worked with Richard Ward’s furniture design studio Wawa and Anne Tyrrell’s design consultancy, both based in London.
Again in Mexico I have exhibited at Zona MACO, one of Latin America’s most important platforms for Contemporary Art and Design, and have taken part Mexican Design competition Quorum 2013.
How important is your website and social media activity?
Digital media is critical as it helps me present my work to people around the world. Via my website I have been contacted by studios and clients - I know that if I don’t post or give updates then I won’t receive feedback or contacts from future clients.
What are your plans for the future?
I am currently developing new skills, in particular, tailoring, as I want to learn more about using textiles on the human body, and I’m considering returning to the UK to take an MA degree in Fashion. With that in mind, I am starting to research for funding and scholarships as international tuition fees are so expensive!
In what ways was Texprint a help to you?
Texprint helped in so many different ways, helping me to see how I could develop my work, to evaluate myself and my ambitions, and, most importantly, to always challenge myself – and thanks to Texprint I exhibited at Indigo/Première Visionin Paris and made great contacts there which was invaluable.
Israel showing his work to buyers at Indigo, Paris, October 2012
What do you love most about what you're doing, and like least?
I am always amused by how an idea evolves and it is then transformed into a physical object - an idea transformed into a drawing, then into a design, then into fabric for a fashion or interiors collection, to finally be exhibited - to follow this entire process is very rewarding. I am sometimes disappointed with myself if I make mistakes or miss details, however after each project is finished I find those mistakes have been key learning points for self-development, so I always look forward!
Below: cushions from Israel's Audubon Collection developed for a private client in Mexico City.
Sophie Manners: One Year On, now based at Cockpit Arts
29 August 2013 by Editor
Philippa Watkins, journalist, Texprint council member and recently retired RCA senior tutor specialising in weave, catches up with Texprint alumni weaver Sophie Manners.
It has been a busy year for Sophie - since showing with Texprint at Indigo September 2012 (where she was selected for the Woolmark Texprint Award), as well as showing with Texprint in Hong Kong and enjoying a two and half month internship in Italy working with Como silk weaver Taroni, she recently moved into her own studio space at Cockpit Arts Holborn in London.
Woolmark Texprint Award judges examine Sophie's work at Indigo 2013
This was for her an absolute joy. To have been selected for a studio place and bursary, which Cockpit Arts offer on their incubator programme to help talented designer-makers - just being there is a recognised benchmark of quality craftsmanship and designer excellence - has given her a huge confidence boost and a solid base from where she can further develop her own very distinctive design work.
Sophie's studio at cockpit Arts
Moving in her computerised Harris loom, her hank winder and dyeing equipment, thanks to a grant from the Worshipful Company of Weavers, Sophie is now exploring again her distinctly structured woven designs, including the velvet techniques she developed as a student at the RCA. Currently she is working on new ideas for HodgeSellers Design Consultancy, a leading textile design consultancywhich works on developing materials and ways of processing new ideas to bring a distinctive edge to fabrics for their international clients, among whom are some of Europe’s leading luxury brands.
As well as commissioned design work Sophie is producing her own woven products prompted by the opportunity offered by the Cockpit Arts Open Studios. New and distinctive designs for scarves and cushions include tie dyed warps and a novel ‘marbled’ technique which she applies to the warp before weaving, thus producing a beautiful, uniquely coloured effect for scarves. sophiemanners.tumblr.com
But none of this might have happened if it hadn’t been for Texprint. “Texprint opened up so many opportunities” she says, “it really was the best thing I could have done after graduating. And I sold quite a few designs at Texprint in Indigo, which was so gratifying - just to know people appreciated my work.”
It was through Texprint and ComOn in Italy, which set up the opportunity for six Texprint designer internships in Italy, that she was selected to work with Taroni Spa, one the oldest silk mills (founded in 1880) in Como, in the production of superb quality silks, including jacquards and prints for fashion and furnishing. The experience she says was invaluable - to observe at first hand how the industry works, as well as getting some of her own designs into work. And it has provided her with a sense of how to approach commissioned briefs for clients and how to market her work.
Cockpit Arts is an award winning social enterprise and the UK’s only creative-business incubator for designer-makers, whosemission it is to support and promote talented designer-makers from all backgrounds through all stages of their career. Their incubator studios in Holborn, WC1, close to the Hatton Garden jewellery quarter, and in Deptford SE8, are the centre of an exciting community of artists and craftspeople, both established designer-makers and those who are just starting out.
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!”
Carlo Volpi at Pitti Filati, 23-25 January
23 February 2013 by Editor
Good to hear from Carlo Volpi (Texprint 2012) following his return from Pitti Filati, Florence, where Carlo was asked to create knitted garments for the Spazio Ricerca of Pitti Filati, the central research space dedicated to future vision, design and artisanal skills.
The inspiration for Carlo’s one-off pieces came from his research into cultural festivals: music festivals, folk/religious festivals like "El Dia de Los Muertos" (Day of The Dead) in Mexico, and sagras (traditional Italian food festivals). As always, the research area provided drama and focus for those visitors looking to be excited by new ideas and creativity; the mannequins lined up on the central runway, surrounded by colourful petals strewn on the floor, and screens to each side showed videos of the various festivals.
Read more on Carlo’s blog for the Knitting Industry website where he regularly posts on anything he finds inspiring - emerging or established designer’s work, new yarns and exciting stitches.
tel : +44 (0)7983 970703
In the loop: Texprint 2012’s knitwear specialists
17 February 2013 by Editor
Knitwear continues its resurgence embraced by emerging designers who continue to transform its traditions into exciting contemporary textiles, both for fashion and interiors. Texprint 2012 revealed some wonderful work by talented newcomers.
RCA MA graduate Carlo Volpi scooped the Texprint 2012 Body prize for best fashion fabric. He describes himself as “a man who knits”, but this description downplays this imaginative designer’s clever, innovative output. His eclectic design references include the Italian Constructivists, the Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead, masks, superheroes and comic book characters. By creating bold and colourful menswear, Carlo harnesses traditional knit techniques in a fresh and eclectic manner. Alongside his freelance commissions, Carlo now writes a blog for www.knittingindustry.com
Carlo Volpi with Sarah Rutson and Ross Urwin of luxury retailer Lane Crawford HK
Japanese designer Azusa Dannohara creates dramatically colourful and sculptural knitted pieces. Her distinctive work is inspired by paganism, rituals and dance and plays with unusual colour combinations and mixed fibres such as merino wool and linen.
Azusa Dannohara on her stand at Indigo Paris
Catherine Hodgkinson’s accomplished designs are based on natural textures such as rocks and stones worn smooth through time, or gritty, earthy surfaces. Finely drawn observation work is translated into highly desirable fabrics through a sensitive selection of yarn and subtle colour. Catherine also adds devoréand discharge printing techniques to further add to the delicacy of her pieces.
Textile: ©Catherine Hodgkinson
Heriot Watt-trained knit specialist Charlotte Crombie’s work for domestic interiors was inspired by a trip to Zanzibar. Her final year collection, using lambswool and cashmere, was based on the decorative patterns and colours of Morocco.
Textile: ©Charlotte Crombie
The landscape of Guri Pedersen’s native Norway is a rich source of inspiration. References to national costume, folk traditions and the landscape are incorporated into a rich mix of textures and felting techniques that she mixes to create her highly distinctive knitted fabrics.
Sketchbook: ©Guri Pederson
Working her magic with knits for womenswear, MA graduate Sarah Burton takes a clever mixed media approach which results in rich and surprising textiles. Sarah - who has already been snapped up by textile design company Acorn Conceptual Textiles in Nottingham - incorporates decorative metal rings, hooks and buckles in her beautiful pieces created with silk, cotton and viscose.
Textile: ©Sarah Burton
WSA magazine: Build inner strength with the talent of tomorrow
23 January 2013 by Editor
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
Texprint 2012: weave wizards
09 January 2013 by
Proof if needed that the ancient craft of weaving is in the ascendant: Texprint 2012 weave designers couple patience and precision with a love for the physicality and excitement of creating fabric from scratch, and their work is being snapped up by international fashion and interiors companies.
Lisa Bloomer is passionate about colour and sustainable practices, and is continually exploring new ways to succeed in her ”fight against the geometric.” Inspired by looking through windows at ever changing sky and cloud patterns above the city’s high-rise buildings, Lisa focuses on capturing transitory movement in her work. This spontaneity is tangible in all her designs, she uses colour in a fresh and dynamic way and achieves many unique effects by first hand painting on the warp.
Lisa’s jacquard designs are woven bespoke by Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen the only Irish linen damask weaver still remaining in Ireland. She aims to source local fibres such as European hemp, linen and British wool.
Textile: ©Dominique Caplan
Dominique Caplan creates quirky and energetic concepts for menswear. Fascinated by the technical process of weaving, her primary research involved creating characters and models for games to develop her ideas of fun and fantasy. By working in monochrome with added shots of bright colour, Dominique quietly references Bridget Riley’s black and white optical illusion patterns.
Textile: ©Sophia Fenlon
Sophia Fenlon’s work is inspired by ornate ecclesiastical decoration and stained glass. Catholic traditions and the Renaissance are references for Sophia’s work created for both fashion and interiors. Sophia says, she is “intrigued by the weird and wonderful, and the exploration of extreme extra weft patterning, which gives rise to intricately constructed woven designs.”
Textile: ©Jacquie Lefferts
Inspired by Indian maharajahs, brocades and heavy military embroidery, Jacquie Lefferts creates opulent fabrics using metallic yarns. Jacquie has also re-created lace effects using a Leno weave technique to great effect. Having studied at FIT in New York for two years, Jacquie then completed her BA at Chelsea College of Art & Design before being selected for Texprint.
Fantasy and surrealism are aspects that inspired Alix Massieux’s fabric collection. Although a weave specialist, Alix is driven to mix techniques and experiment with embroidery. To read more, click here.
Textile: ©Sophie Manners
Sophie Manners, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, was selected as winner of the second Woolmark Texprint Award in support of the Campaign for Wool Indigo/Première Vision in September. Sophie won the prize for her superb woven textile designs developed with 60% or more Merino wool. 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. In November Sophie completed a seven-week internship with Taroni in Como, a unique opportunity to experience working in textiles in Italy.
Textile: ©Sophie Reeves
Finally, captivated by the physicality of creating woven fabrics and inspired by 1930’s fabric design and Russian Constructivism, Sophie Reeves loves to mix graphic pattern with “random outbursts” of additions such as applied crystal decoration. In November Sophie finished a seven-week internship with Luigi Verga, Como - while there with five other Texprint designers, enjoying an invaluable experience gathering visit to the Missoni and Ermenegildo Zegna headquarters.
Sophie is one of two designers selected by Lululemon Athletica as winners of the inaugural Lululemon Texprint Award, winning not only £1,000 but also a three-month paid internship at Lululemon headquarters in Vancouver, Canada, starting this month (the other winner is Manri Kishimoto).
Breaking boundaries: Texprint 2012’s mixed media specialists
24 November 2012 by
For a unique approach to textile design, many new designers are breaking down boundaries and embracing other media in their work. Texprint’s 2012 showcase revealed four young people who are taking this path to carve out a truly individual style.
Winner of the Texprint Space prize, Tania Knuckey explores the intersection between art and design. She uses many different types of media and techniques revealing a lively and playful attitude. Tania’s painterly and experimental work is often very graphic and evolves in an organic way, encompassing both installation and work for interiors.
Tania Knuckey: chair installation
Tania recently showed some of her chair pieces at The Stables Gallery in Richmond, Surrey: her installation changed on a weekly basis through wrapping new mixed media fabrics around the pieces. She also gave a recent talk on the subject of transforming textiles into animations at the Slow Textiles Group’s studio in Hampstead, London, as well as exhibiting a concept book, created in collaboration with RCA architecture graduate Joseph Deane, at the RCA’s Sustain show.
Neckpieces by Lily Kamper
The enormous BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu temple in Neasden, North London, was one of the main inspirations for Lily Kamper’s distinctive work. The hand carved totem columns taken as a reference that she combined with softer elements in her multi-layered processes. Lily creates fresh ideas for fashion accessories, including fabulously futuristic statement jewellery pieces and bags.
Case with Perspex handle by Lily Kamper
She is fascinated by the possibilities of exploring texture and colour; a favourite theme is combining hard and soft materials to create unusual outcomes, as seen in her recent collaboration with men’s footwear designer, Tariq Mahmoud, where she created the Perspex heels. Lily also recently created the bespoke, hand-made trophies for WGSN’s recent Global Fashion Awards 2012.
Knitted textile by Sarah Burton.
Sarah Burton’s exciting contemporary pieces for fashion combine her passion for knitwear with modern embellishment. Sarah loves the process of knitting and constantly plays with construction techniques, continuing to develop her samples in unusual ways. Favourite materials include fine yet strong yarns such as viscose. Sarah’s inspirational research led her to study the traditions of the circus, looking closely at costume for performance, which demands a mix of the practical and the decorative. Sarah is taking up an exciting new position with Acorn Conceptual Textiles based in Nottingham, in addition to developing a small range of hand-made mixed media accessories.
Embellished woven textile by Alix Massieux.
Finally, fantasy and surrealism are aspects that inspired Alix Massieux’s fabric collection. Although a weave specialist, Alix is driven to mix techniques and experiment with embroidery. Targeting a high-end market, she uses fine yarns such as mercerised cotton and silk, but is also intent on injecting an element of fun into her work, using flashes of Lurex to create vibrant, light-hearted effects.
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.
Pattern Masters: Texprint 2012 print specialists
30 October 2012 by
The Texprint 2012 showcase included nine outstanding printed textile designers, reflecting the strong continuing trend for dynamic pattern, in both contemporary fashion and interiors.
Winner of the Texprint Award for Pattern,Ying Wu has entranced many people since her RCA graduation this summer with her captivatingly original prints. Her inspirations stem from her Chinese heritage and its legends, reflecting a very original and personal narrative; her most recent work imagines nightmarish future scenarios where the natural environment has been devastated, and creatures must find new ways to survive. At Texprint London in July, Ying met, and has since collaborated with, Italian company De Le Cuona; she was also invited to participate in a ‘pop-up shop’ at Paul Smiths’ flagship store in London during September’s London Fashion Week. Further exciting collaborations are emerging, in what is proving to be a dynamic start to Ying’s career.
The vibrant and colourful work of Manri Kishimoto ensured her success as winner of the Texprint Award for Colour, sponsored by Pantone, and as a joint winner of the inaugural Lululemon Texprint Award. Manri’s work is instantly striking - the bold, expressive and graphic shapes of her story-telling designs are inspired by nature, particularly bird motifs. She uses many substrates for her print and multi-media work including knit, leather, silk weave and fine silk mesh. One of the highlights of her display at Texprint London was the large scale swan motif encusted with Swarovski crystals.
Israel Parra- Zanabria
Embracing vibrant colour in a very different way, the work of Israel Parra-Zanabria is inspired by the colours and buzz of his native Mexico City. Israel uses a variety of media, including watercolour, pro markers and pencil to achieve a masterful delicacy and softness to his beautiful depictions of exotic flowers, combining both screen printing and hand painting to translate design to fabric.
Fergus Dowling’s distinctive work is currently inspired by decorative heraldic imagery. Fergus is drawn to the Rococo and Baroque periods; he is inspired by the highly detailed design and imagery of family crests which he deconstructs and then reinvents to create newly contemporary and personal patterns. These, plus his use of reinvented traditional tartans, vibrant colour, and luxurious fabrics, gives his work an elegant gentleman-like mood.
Laura Barnes’ love of drawing and the decorative arts is very apparent in her richly coloured and elegant work. Her wonderfully vibrant sketches and designs are inspired by travel, especially recent trips to Morocco and Spain, and reveal her passion for colour and story-telling. She previously won a scholarship, which enabled her to undertake an exciting and visually stimulating cultural exchange visit to South Korea.
Trinity Mitchell’s fresh, quirky and slightly retro designs were originally inspired by a YouTube video of 1950’s women trying on sunglasses. Her prints have since developed into a celebration of the small, feminine and often quietly humorous details that reflect her eclectic and light-hearted approach to fashion fabrics and headscarf design.
Alice Howard- Graham
Architecture, photography and Russian Constructivism have inspired Alice Howard-Graham’s striking and dynamic work. Using her passion for photographic manipulation yet retaining a hand-drawn quality, Alice employs motifs developed from industrial and mechanical imagery, exploring the potential of both traditional screen-printing and digital methods in her work.
Geometric patterns, maps of the world, celestial charts, strong colour, Pop Art, vintage photos and animals are just some of the eclectic starting points used by David Warner to create his individual take on contemporary fashion textiles and wallcoverings. Quirky, layered designs mix English country traditions with gay culture to create statement placements and allovers.
Amber Sambrook plays with techniques such as laser cutting, and materials such as leather to give her fashion fabrics and accessories their unique and unexpected handle and finish. Her most recent work is dramatic and powerful, inspired by the weather and its changing atmospheric conditions. Contrasts of light and dark, and richly moody patterns suggesting storm clouds are achieved using techniques such as ombre and devôré.
The variety and vibrancy of these emerging talents ensure some exciting new directions for the future of printed textile design.
Report from Hong Kong: Lane Crawford HQ visit
14 October 2012 by Editor
The 30th floor of the stunning head office of the highly creative luxury retailer Lane Crawford in Aberdeen, Hong Kong, was the setting for an invaluable mentoring session with fashion director of womenswear and menswear Sarah Rutson, and Ross Urwin, creative director of home& lifestyle.
The six Texprint 2012 prizewinners each presented their work which ranged across all textile disciplines; and drawing on their extensive market knowledge and experience, Sarah and Ross talked with and advised them on application, potential markets for their work, and discussed what the Lane Crawford customer generally looks for.
Of Sarah Burton's work, Sarah commented that there is a "lot of opportunity for added-on accessories – it is the hardest thing to find a niche as a new designer – it can recreate a basic garment, something that talks to a wider audience."
Ying Wu's fine drawn work illustrating the consequences of over-industrialisation on the environment was particularly appreciated – Sarah said her work was "very clever and relevant, as well as having a great sensibility of colour and print – something very special, and very interesting for our market". Ross added: "This is great and I can see it working on rugs and wallpapers too".
Sarah said of Tanya Grace Knuckey's work that she has a "unique standpoint – the new luxury is something that is unique but still approachable and affordable."
She also gave invaluable advice by encouraging the designers to think ‘big picture’ and look at different areas outside fashion.
Sarah said of the Texprint 2012 designers’ work that "usually at Lane Crawford we see finished products, so it was great to see textile ideas in their purest form". The visit was an amazing opportunity for the fledgling designers to receive feedback from the most innovative retailer in Asia Pacific area, and we are extremely grateful to Sarah and Ross for giving their time.
Report from Hong Kong: six 2012 winners exhibit at Interstoff Asia Essential
06 October 2012 by Editor
The six Texprint 2012 prizewinners have just returned from a highly successful visit to Hong Kong, where they showed at Interstoff Asia Essential, 3-5 October. Their visit was made possible through the sponsorship of Messe Frankfurt (HK) and the generous contribution of the Drapers’ Company and the Worshipful Company of Weavers, who gave a one-off donation to build on the momentum of the GREAT creativity week (November 5-9 2012).
Texprint has been sponsored to showcase six prizewinners each year at Interstoff Asia Essential since 2001. Wendy Wen, Director of Trade Fairs for Messe Frankfurt, said that design “is becoming more and more important for trade fairs, with designers playing a major role in exhibitions. Texprint has been positioned near the Trend Forum for many years – trend stories plus unique and innovative designers has been key for this Hong Kong show, where visitors are particularly interested in trends and original design”.
Wendy Wen meeting designers Manri Kishimoto and Sophie Manners
Kate Strutt, Senior Trade Advisor, British Consul-General, visited on the setting up day and spoke to each of the designers about their expectations. Although they had not visited Hong Kong before she found them all very professional in talking about their work - having enjoyed the experience of showcasing their work to buyers and press two weeks before at Indigo, Paris - and open to opportunities that might arise.
Eager to find out more about the market and the major brands and retailers there, the Texprint group spent a day exploring the key retail hubs on HK Island and Kowloon.
They also visited the amazing Lane Crawford head office at Wong Chuk Hang for an invaluable mentoring session with Sarah Rutson, fashion director of Lane Crawford, and Ross Urwin, creative director for home & lifestyle at Lane Crawford. And back at Interstoff Asia Essential they met with Angelia Teo, content director WGSN Asia Pacific, and representatives of The Woolmark Company (both Foundation Sponsors of Texprint).
During the exhibition the designers made many very useful contacts – they found that they were meeting people who could actually produce their designs, helping them to appreciate that they are now professionals with skills understood and wanted by the marketplace. Although they had all sold designs in Paris, the conversations they had in Hong Kong made it all the more real.
Weaver Sophie Manners noted that “at Interstoff Asia Essential the buyers seem to like a strong idea that they can then adapt and commercialise. Buyers here see the designs as a starting point, while in Paris at PV it was more about using the designs in a more literal way, here you have discussions about adapting for production”.
“I have seen a wide range of companies, from those producing for Italian brands to Russian and Hong Kong based companies,” said knitter Carlo Volpi.
Tanya Grace Knuckey, a multi-media designer, said she had also had a very good show, and that “people understood my work more than in Paris – here they like what you do and want to take it into products immediately, as opposed to expecting you to adapt and change your designs completely”.
Ying Wu, print designer, and Manri Kishimoto, print and multi-media designer, agreed: “Here they seem more interested in production rather than buying designs – they want to use the design straightaway, whereas in Paris they want you to develop the idea. It was good to see the Hong Kong market, with visitors China of course, but also from Russia and Australia.”
“It has been a really good experience, learning that British-trained designers have a very good reputation for creativity, and seeing the appreciation of original design here. Being in Hong Kong has been fantastic!” said knitter Sarah Burton, summing up what was undoubtedly an exceptional experience for these young designers to enjoy so early in their careers.
The Texprint 24: Indigo highlights 2012
02 October 2012 by Editor
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!”
Weaver Sophie Manners wins Woolmark Texprint Award
27 September 2012 by Editor
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.
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.
Woolmark Texprint Award judge: James E Sugden OBE, director of Johnstons of Elgin
13 September 2012 by
The Woolmark Texprint Award in support of Campaign for Wool will once again recognise a Texprint designer who excels in the use of Merino wool in his or her fabric design. The winner will be chosen from this year’s 24 Texprint new graduate designers who will present their designs at Indigo, part of Première Vision Pluriel, Paris, September 19-21, 2012. Texprint and Woolmark are proud to introduce James E Sugden OBE, director of Johnstons of Elgin, who will be combining his seasoned opinion with fellow judge Masahiro Oono to pick this year’s winner.
In his 20 years at Johnstons of Elgin, Mr Sugden successfully developed the company’s worldwide reputation for woven and knitted fine cashmeres and woollens. It now counts the likes of Burberry, Chanel and Louis Vuitton as esteemed clientele. He currently applies his expertise to Johnstons’ knitwear mills in Hawick; continuing to cultivate the UK’s largest independent vertical woollen manufacturer. Mr Sugden was awarded a prestigious OBE in 2011 by HM The Queen for his contributions to the textile industry and is considered an international aficionado on luxury textile manufacturing.
Mr Sugden brings over 40 years’ textile manufacturing experience to the judging panel and is keen to support the next crop of British-trained design talent: “It’s important to nurture the immense amount of talent that the UK has to offer at the earliest stages of a designer’s career. Texprint gives them a platform that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise to internationalise their talents.”
A recent resurgence of UK-based manufacturing has been led by businesses looking to support well-made product. As the Johnstons customer moves away from low added-value products, they look for ways to set themselves apart from the crowd. Mr Sugden insists that “customisation is the key to differentiating product” and has ensured that Johnstons has the capacity and technology to cope with demand.
“The technology is there, but it’s the creative spirit that drives us forward,” he says. “If we don’t push the boundaries, the industry will never progress. That’s why we need young designers with conviction and the boldness of youth.”
The design talent coming from the art colleges here in the UK is revered worldwide and Mr Sugden believes that it’s crucial to help young designers find a platform for success. He hopes to find someone with “a focused perspective and a comprehensive knowledge of colour, weave and texture” to champion the Woolmark Texprint Award.
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.”
Texprint’s Special Prizes
07 August 2012 by Editor
Encouraging and supporting British-trained talent is important to Texprint’s sponsors, however many of them go one further by awarding special prizes, experiences and internships.
Three of the four Texprint Awards - for Body, Space, Pattern and Colour - are generously sponsored by The Clothworkers’ Foundation (Space), Liberty Art Fabrics (Pattern) and Pantone X-Rite (Colour). Pantone X-Rite also gives the four winners a Pantone F+H Colour Guide.
Texprint chairman Barbara Kennington with Manri Kishimoto and Carola Seybold of prize sponsor Pantone X-Rite
The Lululemon Athletica Award was judged by Sheree Waterson, executive vice president and chief product officer of Lululemon Athletica. Although originally planning to offer one internship, Sheree was so impressed by the exciting design on offer that she simply had to invite two young designers, Manri Kishimoto and Sophie Reeves, to undertake paid 3-month internships at the Lululemon Athletica headquarters in Vancouver. Short-listed for the award were Lisa Bloomer, Dominique Caplan and Fergus Dowling.
Sophie Reeves textile, Sheree Waterson of Lululemon Athletica with Manri Kishimoto and Manri Kishimoto textile
The Woolmark Texprint Award in support of Campaign for Wool, donated by The Woolmark Company, will be judged and presented at Indigo/PremièreVision, Paris, in September. We greatly look forward to reporting on that later in the year.
The Italian trade organisation Confindustria Como represents a core of 300 Como-based textile companies. It also supports ComOn, a hub of European creativity based in Como that this year has invited six Texprint designers to participate in a week of creative sharing and interaction. The six designers selected at Texprint London by Marco Taiana for ComON are Alice Howard-Graham, Manri Kishimoto, Sophie Manners, Israel Parra-Zanabria, Sophie Reeves and Ying Wu (top image shows Body prize winner Carlo Volpi with Marco Taiana). They will visit Como in October. Reserves were Lisa Bloomer and Amber Sambrook.
Finally, and also looking ahead to October, Foundation Sponsors The Drapers’ Company, and Supporters The Worshipful Company of Weavers, are this year supporting an extraordinary opportunity for six of the designers. Sarah Burton, Manri Kishimoto, Tania Knuckey, Carlo Volpi, Ying Wu and the winner of the The Woolmark Texprint Award will travel to Hong Kong to exhibit at trade fair Interstoff Asia Essential and experience at first hand this important fashion and textile market.
All great examples of how Texprint works with all its sponsors to ensure they benefit from the relationship – knowing they are supporting British-trained talent, encouraging innovative design, and in many cases, benefiting from early access to innovative new ideas and textile concepts.
Texprint London judging: the thoughts, decisions and debates!
30 July 2012 by
This year’s Texprint special prize judging panel comprised a group of design professionals working in diverse fields from cutting edge fashion to auto design. We feel it important to highlight their comments and views on the judging process, on the four special prize winners whom they selected with almost unanimous accord, and on the future.
Judge Caroline Burstein, the creative director at Browns Fashion and founder of Molton Brown, noted that in order to select the winners it was important to see the designers’ whole portfolios, to meet them and understand their personae and the way they present their work.
Fellow judge Sheree Waterson, executive vice president and chief product officer of active sports company Lululemon Athletica, agreed, adding: “We’re being introduced to the artist’s personality. Everyone’s work was so compelling and interesting. It’s all beautiful. The twist, the deciding factor in choosing a winner, was originality.”
Renowned interior fabric designer Neisha Crosland commented: “We had to be careful we were choosing original things that we haven’t seen before on the high street.”
The panel chose Royal College of Art graduate knitwear designer Carlo Volpi as the winner of the Body Prize. Caroline explained their decision: “We all felt the same way. His use of different yarn weights, the way he put his photo shoot together. He didn’t need to explain his work. It speaks for itself. You understood where it came from. It wasn’t just one look. His colour sense is impeccable, very bold.”
Knit/mixed media designer Sarah Burton from Nottingham Trent University was chosen as the runner up. Her work focused on garments that could be worn under clothes and the judges liked her exploration of movement.
The Pattern Prize winner Ying Wu also graduated from the RCA. Neisha explained her decision making process: “At first I thought, here we go again, digital prints. Then I did a complete U-turn, the scarves could be Hermès. It’s street and skate gone up market and done exquisitely.”
Caroline was taken with Ying’s use of imagery: “You can see the culture, you can see the symbols, you don’t know what they mean but you want to know.”
The runner up was Fergus Dowling from Leeds College of Art. Paul was impressed with the “intensity into his subject” he showed in his collection of prints for menswear.
Carlo Volpi, detail of work, winner Body prize
Ying Wu, detail of work, winner Pattern prize
The work of Sarah Burton, runner up Body prize, and Fergus Dowling, runner up Pattern prize
For the Space Prize, Tania Grace Knuckey won over the judges with her multimedia work incorporating metal, textiles and more. Judge Paul Stamper – senior designer, design perspectives, Renault Design at Renault - said: “Once we saw the portfolio, it did it for us. I could relate it to something I was doing at college. She can turn her hand and make something out of anything you throw at her. It could be translated into repeats, multimedia.... She’s the wild card and that’s why I like her.” The judges were taken with Tania’s articulate explanation of her design work.
They selected RCA graduate Lily Kamper as the Space Prize runner up. Neisha remarked: “The jewellery and use of materials is beautiful. Her work could be applied to interiors, car interiors – there is coherence.” Paul commented that he could envisage her work being used for high-level luxury concept cars.
Colour Prize winner Manri Kishimoto was a universal favourite. Caroline said: “We loved her for body, pattern, we loved her for everything.”
The judges were particularly entranced with the Cental St Martins graduate’s printed garments. Sheree Waterson described her work as “outrageous, mind-blowing”. And Paul Stamper said: “You could frame and sell the illustrations of her costumes, put them in Colette now!”
RCA graduate Lisa Bloomer was chosen as runner up for her woven design work.
Tania Knuckey, detail of sketchbook, winner of Space prize
Manri Kishimoto, graduate show, winner of Colour prize
The work of Lisa Bloomer, runner up Colour prize, and Lily Kamper, runner up Space prize
The judges noted that three of the four winners and two of the runners up are RCA MA graduates. Caroline commented: “It goes to show what that extra two years does. They stand out, what can you do? Hopefully this will inspire people to further their education.”
RCA graduates Neisha and Paul agreed: “You’re absolutely ready for the market when you leave the RCA.” The Texprint management team pointed out that six out of the 24 selected designers this year are RCA MA graduates. Texprint’s chairman Barbara Kennington said: “When interviewing the 200+ graduates put forward, the interview panels aim to assess purely on the quality of work presented, as well as the individual’s commitment to succeed, but this year it was harder - we did feel that overall the standard of BA graduates had slipped – or maybe it was that the RCA MA graduates had forged ahead! We strongly believe the standard of BA has been and can be higher and better. It’s still a three-year course and there’s time to do strong work. We need to find a way to have a debate and raise the bar.”
She added: “Texprint is trying to develop and support the highest standards of textile design and creativity. We hang on by our fingernails to keep the programme going. Industry needs to also recognise that design is where it’s at and do their bit to support us.”
In conclusion, Sheree Waterson said: “Something I’m thinking about is, the world is shifting and we are going from the very complex to people simplifying their lives. It’s not government or churches any longer, it’s business and creatives that are actually changing the world. That’s who’s going to be changing the world. It’s the creative muscle that has to be exercised for everyone. These guys are paving the way for the future. They are all hugely important.”
Texprint London 2012 resource seminar
24 July 2012 by
For the first time Texprint extended its Texprint London event to include a Resources Seminar held exclusively for invited tutors from the UK's leading textile design programmes. Three speakers each gave a different focus on future trends in colour, fibre and style.
Philippa Watkins, senior lecturer in weave and Honorary Fellow of the RCA, says: "The seminar I felt was a great add-on to the Texprint London show. The three presentations gave very useful insights into different aspects of the business – ultimately of great benefit to their students. Lecturers really don’t often get the opportunity to spend time taking in seasonal forecasts such as the WGSN presentation, so when the opportunity arises it’s great. I was particularly impressed by Pantone’s presentation as I had only a sketchy idea of the scope of their work and the science behind colour matching. And The Woolmark Company have done a great deal recently to raise the profile of wool, so the beautiful presentation really helps get the wool message out there."
Carola Seybold of Pantone X-Rite talked about managing colour accuracy in the digital age. Apparently 65% of all our purchasing decisions involve colour. Not surprisingly, in the fashion industry, getting the colour right has a critical impact on the bottom line of profit and much research goes into tracking and developing colour for all manner of products. She noted that although technology has changed much in our lives, the way we work with colour remains essentially the same.
As an aside, Joanna Bowring, Texprint's sponsorship director, and founder member of the British Textile Colour Group which since 1978 has represented the UK at Intercolor, the International Commission for Colour, says: "Colour communicates without language, is the most important element in buying decisions and its effective use is one of the key selection criteria for successful Texprint candidates.”
The Texprint prize for Colour is generously sponsored by Pantone X-Rite which also gives all four winners of the Texprint awards a complimentary Pantone Guide for Color & Home.
Carola Seybold, Helen Palmer and Barbara Kennington chairman of Texprint
Helen Palmer, head of materials and knit at WGSN, presented macro trends for autumn/winter 2013/14. By tracking the fast changing and influential aspects of life - art, architecture, music, technology and nature, among other elements – and analysing this intelligence, WGSN is able to confidently predict the future directions followed by many of the world’s major brands, retailers and designers.
Inspired by the natural world, WGSN’s first trend direction, Living Design, pointed to simple sculptural silhouettes that combine personality, quirkiness and humour, and that marry hard and soft materials. Creating a mood of dark drama, 21st Century Romance sees classic styling reinvented by combining new technology with traditional and often ornate decoration. Old master paintings inspire the colour palettes. Finally, Hacktivate is an exciting, casualwear trend that takes inspiration from DIY, sportswear and customisation, bolting different elements together to create seriously playful products.
WGSN is a Foundation Sponsor of Texprint and gives each of the 24 selected designers free access for one year to www.wgsn.com
Finally, Rebecca Sharp UK country manager of The Woolmark Company talked about the resurgence in the popularity of wool, noting that Merino wool with its long fibres and natural crimp is especially prized for its luxury feel and natural softness and warmth. Recent campaigns - including The Campaign for Cool Wool and successful initiatives such as the International Woolmark Prize for Young Designers and The Texprint Woolmark Prize in support of Campaign for Wool - mean the fibre is now back as a firm favourite with designers, retailers and the public. Wool's long held but newly recognised eco-credentials have helped to strengthen this popularity - it is natural, biodegradable and renewable.
The Woolmark Texprint Award in support of Campaign for Wool will be judged and presented at Indigo, Paris, in September. The Woolmark Company is a Foundation Sponsor of Texprint.
All three companies welcomed this unique opportunity to talk directly with textile tutors, and through them, to raise awareness of their brands and ethos and elevate the knowledge of textile design students.
In Kind Sponsors Arts Thread and Lectra were also on hand to talk about their services and products. Our thanks to Chelsea College of Art & Design for kindly allowing us use of the lecture theatre.