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Janet Prescott

Expert Opinion

17th November 2017, Paris

TexSelect takes over from Texprint

From next year, January 2018, Texprint will change its name. The prestigious mentoring and career support of the most accomplished and talented new textile designers trained in the UK, will be known as TexSelect. The change is in response to the fact that, since its beginnings in 1972, Texprint has expanded its reach considerably.

As well as print there are sections for weave, knit, pattern, colour, interiors, designs with Merino wool, and the advent of mixed media. To reflect this change, a name to represent a wider range of high quality, creative textiles and a more diverse selection base was picked; it is TexSelect, announced by the Honorary Chairman Barbara Kennington at Texprint 2017 in Paris.

Texprint identifies and supports the best in textile design. © Texprint

Texprint identifies and supports the best in textile design. Designers originally from all over the world, are suggested for selection by their tutors in the British university and college system where they are studying.

Run as a charity by professionals in the industry, it relies on support from industry and institutions far and wide, some of the connections being longstanding, involving internationally renowned names and brands, charitable institutions, Premiere Vision, the Woolmark Company and textile associations and major retailers.

The aim is to encourage originality, artistry and skills in textile design, always with a commercial edge. This is often first tested when the finalists have the opportunity to show their work at Premiere Vision. The international textile exhibition in Paris.

Roberto Sarti with Yuma Koshino at a booth at the Texprint village. © Texprint

2017 saw another year’s set of intriguing and exciting designs, using skills and techniques such as hand-dyeing, screen prints and embellishment. They could serve as a paradigm for what Texprint has become. The 24 finalists cited their inspiration as diverse as the sport of Formula One, rock music, nature, tribal cultures, and many reflected current eco preoccupation. They explored technical innovation such as heat treatments on various fibres, recasting patchwork and re-imagining traditional designs. Above all they explored colour and texture, starting in the designers’ own sketchbooks, paintings and detailed research - often admired by visitors to the summer exhibition in London’s Chelsea as works of art in themselves.

Each year finalists benefit from the opinion and advice of expert judges and can enlist the help of specialist mentors. Textile specialists give their time to review portfolios, talk at length to the designers, and then deliberate, before making their final decisions and announcing the short lists in an annual event in London.

2017 judges were Guy Goodfellow, eponymous luxury interior design; Elsa May, product manager fashion at Première Vision Paris; Eric Musgrave, journalist and industry commentator; and Karen Peacock, Design Director, Amazon Fashion who together chose 24 finalists.

Prize givers are a measure of the prestige of the competition. These have included Zandra Rhodes, Paul Smith, Agnes B, Nino Cerruti, Rosita Missoni, and Martin Leuthold of Jakob Schlaepfer. This year’s prizes were announced and presented at the Texprint village part of PV Designs by celebrity Japanese designer Yuma Koshino, herself from a stellar line of designers with the Koshino name. She urged the Finalists to be bold and to take advantage of the precious creative time of their life where they could choose what they do with their work.

Left to right: Rosie Moorman, winner of the Woolmark Company Texprint Award. © Texprint

The prizes are valuable in money, and perhaps even more in kind. There have been many different ways of rewarding and encouraging winners over the years.

The Woolmark Company Texprint Award, for designers working with at least 60 per cent Merino was donated in 2017 to Rosie Moorman who received £1,000, and was also sponsored by The Woolmark Company to attend Intertextile Shanghai. Her work was chosen by judges Roberto Sarti from famous Italian company Lanificio Faliero Sarti and rising star Woolmark prizewinner Charles Jeffrey.

Another example was the new prize in 2017; Marks & Spencer Texprint Fashion Textile Award. The winner received £1,000, plus a 3-month paid internship opportunity at M&S head office in central London, showing practical values.

Over the years, centres of excellence have linked with Texprint, like the silk industry in Como Italy This year a group of the selected designers was chosen and awarded an extensive experience of world famous silk mills, including demonstrations of advanced techniques of digital and conventional printing, in the company of Texprint’s Peter Ring Lefevre.

TexSelect will remain with the same entity and goals, a charity, functioning through the work of its Chairman Barbara Kennington and Council members, CEO Helga Goldman, fundraisers, mentors, officers, the vital business of raising grants and financial support headed by Joanna Bowring.

Each year finalists benefit from the opinion and advice of expert judges and can enlist the help of specialist mentors. © Texprint

TexSelect’s unique set-up will build on an enormous amount of goodwill, ranging from the textile and fashion practitioners and experts who started it, to alumni press partners and now large numbers of followers on social media notably Instagram.

Professional contact does not stop with the individual Awards but can continue way after, with mentors available for creative and business advice and encouragement to smooth and promote careers.

 Nothing can be certain in present economic times and the upheaval of trading patterns, but the international aspect looks set to continue, with designers from many countries and international support. TexSelect will continue raising the profile of textile design and promoting young designers.

The Texprint Awards 2017

  • Texprint Fashion Award: Kate Connell (Print), Charlotte Des’Ascoyne (Weave), Olivia Qi (Knit)
  • Texprint Interiors Award: Lucy Day (Print), Julia Lidell (Weave), Hayley McCrirrick (Print)
  • Texprint Colour Award: Roberta Fox (Print), Sarah Maybank (Knit), Rosie Moorman (Weave)
  • Texprint Pattern Award: Angelica Chrysanthou (Print), Sophie Harrison (Mixed Media), Helen Loft (Print)

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