Graduate Textiles 2018: 5 Designers to Watch
Each summer, the latest graduate shows offer an insight into our creative future, with the next generation of talent showcasing an exciting array of new, unseen work. We scoured the shows for the emerging UK textile designers with the most promising projects and innovative use of colour and materials. Here’s our edit of the ones to watch.
- Pattern Play: In line with themes in our S/S 18 Colour Spectrum direction Perspective, Diane Bresson from Central Saint Martins (CSM) produced a striking collection of digital and screen-printed wallpapers in dynamic and intriguing patterns. Simple geometric shapes and textures were overlaid in a number of explorative colour combinations to create complex patterns that appear to play with perception. The wallpaper lengths can be hung in various ways to create multiple pattern options.
The designer also experimented with the fusion of pattern and moving colour. Digitally printed wallpapers were animated with coloured light projections, exploring how static pattern can become experiential. Be sure to watch the video here.
- Softening Hard Materials: Responding to our busy modern lives, CSM graduate Lucy Paskell similarly focused on improving wellbeing by creating textiles that engage the user through touch. Her collection of surface solutions considered how to bring the feelings of comfort experienced in domestic spaces into our everyday surroundings, by softening and adding tactility to hard surfaces.
Soft upholstery fabrics such as velvet and leather were combined with wood veneer, digital embroidery and 3D-print techniques such as embossing to create touchable relief surfaces. Suitable for a number of interior applications, the nature of the techniques allows surfaces to be personalised to suit the space and user.
- Reconnecting with Nature: In an impressive and thorough body of work, Heather Ratliff from Loughborough University explored how textiles can help us to reconnect with nature and improve mental wellbeing.
Her collection of fabrics for (slow) fashion brought together ideas of biophilic design, craftsmanship, tactility and sensory experiences through carefully considered textures, colours, pattern and scent. Crafted hand-stitching added texture for a haptic experience, patterns were inspired by natural rhythms, and scents such as jasmine and lavender infused fabrics – all in a bid to benefit the wearer.
- Sustainable Processes: A respect for sustainable materials and working methods continues to drive textile graduates. Focusing on the potential of British wool, Alison Wibmer from the Edinburgh College of Art took a considerate approach when creating her collection of inviting wool-based interior fabrics.
The designer worked with the notion of “fibre to fabric”, locally and ethically sourcing fleece that was washed, spun and felted by hand before being embroidered and dyed sustainably. Resourceful dye processes, such as batch dyeing and reusing waste water were employed to maximise resources and minimise waste. See Considered Colour and Home Ground: Colour S/S 2019 for more on responsible dye processes.
Wibmer’s bold and comforting textiles, suitable for rugs and flooring, incorporated other biodegradable fibres such as Tencel and bamboo to add surface interest through colour and material variation.
- Modernising Craftsmanship: Royal College of Art graduate Sophie Graney presented a playful collection of handwoven outdoor fabrics that combine traditional techniques such as lacework with unconventional materials like PVC, rubber-coated yarn and leather. The bold, colour-blocked pieces are waterproof and suitable for outdoor lifestyle accessories and exterior furnishings.
Contemporary takes on traditional craft and skills are a concept we explored in our recent S/S 20 Materials Focus – see Hands of Time for more.