Last month was the final critique of the live project we have been working on with the Central Saint Martins 2nd Year Woven and Printed Textiles students. After 3 months of hard work on the hand looms, the students blew us away with their presentations of jacketing fabrics, tie silk designs and man bag textile designs.
I invited the British silk weaving manufacturer Vanners to accompany Stacey and I on the judging panel to offer their technical feedback to the students. They were so impressed with the high level of professionalism that they joined us in offering some prizes to the top students.
It was a very tough decision: the competition this year was fierce and after much debate we finally selected 6 students to be commended on their outstanding work. Vanners awarded two prizes for students who showed outstanding design and technical ability in the area of ties. Yusaku Asai and Nancy Thomson are each having one of their designs woven in the highest quality silk by Vanners’ team, which will then be made up into a tie.
Yusaku took inspiration from his photography of architecture and nature. His ideas were conceptual and his use of colour very sophisticated, not to mention his very neat handloom weaving! His combination of an extra weft blue stripe jacketing teamed with a check tie was very optical yet wearable. Both the 'proper' and cheeky sides of Prince Harry’s personality inspired Nancy’s designs with a stunning colour palette taken from Windsor Park. Her designs were exciting yet very commercial which is obviously important in this industry!
Our Head Designer Stacey selected 3 students to join us for internships during the year. She selected the students based on their overall presentation skills and concept development. The lucky trio who will join the TE team are Eugene McQuillan, Lucie Beauvert and Lok Ting Pau (also known as Carol).
Eugene’s story of “irregular distinction” was based on geology and an eccentric friend’s wardrobe. His use of bouclé and satin touched on retro in a modern way as did his combination of blue and orange shades. Eugene’s fabulous sketches of his fabric illustrated in the final products he envisaged them becoming were well thought-out.
French student Lucie’s concept was “The Amalgam of Elegance”. Inspired by an imaginary man, Lucie created a pop-out style book where pages could be flicked through to show different combinations of textiles and garments together. Her artistic presentation and directional fabric designs really stood out. Many of her woven designs looked like knits which is very on trend (we saw a lot of this emerging at Milano Unico for Spring/Summer 2011). Some of Lucie’s mohairs even looked like denims! I am very interested in the idea of mixing unexpected fibre contents together at the moment as well as fibres giving the appearance of being something else. I think it is an area which will really grow over the next few seasons.
Carol looked at jockeys and horse racing to inspire her for this project. Her beautiful photographs of the sport really painted a lovely picture and her colourful presentation stood out. Her profile customer was Jeff Bridges (since he acted in Sea Biscuit) and she cleverly based her designs around things which would fit in well with his wardrobe. Her fun and vibrant colour theme had a retro take. Carol really thought about the finish and the weight of her fabric designs, which is also important commercially.
Last but not least, the overall winner I selected for top prize was...(drum roll)... Karen McClorry. Karen really wowed us with her extensively researched presentation based around her ideal customer Wes Anderson. Inspired by bird wings (she had collected taxidermy bird wings with fabulous hidden colours kept in clear Perspex boxes), she looked at both the changeant iridescent nature of feathers for ties as well as the highly textured surface of the feather for her jacketing fabrics. Karen will undertake on an extended intership with us here at Timothy Everest as well as having one of her tie designs woven by Vanners.
We have really enjoyed collaborating yet again with subject leader Philippa Brock, on the live project with the students. It’s promising to know that the future of British Woven Textiles is in the hands of these young talented individuals! Watch this space for an update on the students’ ties Vanners will be making…
Email Tim: firstname.lastname@example.org