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Beyond the Bale : February 2010
A new generation embraces wool Take a close look at the names behind famous designers on the catwalks of Milan Fashion Week or Paris Haute Couture Week, and one could not fail to notice how many hail from fashion schools across the UK. AWI recognises the UK as one of the centres of creative excellence and collaborates closely with British students through design projects that highlight the natural and versatile qualities of wool. In 2009, AWI joined Marks & Spencer, Burberry, Jaeger and Diane von Furstenberg as a major sponsor of the country's leading textile graduate design prize Texprint. Texprint's ethos is to celebrate and mentor the best new graduating talent, bringing them together to network and present their work to some of the most important names in the industry both in the UK and abroad. The 24 winning graduates were rigorously selected by panels of professional designers, from more than 200 applicants whose colleges nominated them as the best from the nearly 1500 graduating each year. Martha Steadman, a BA Textile Design graduate from Central St Martin's College of Art and Design in London, was the winner of the 'Weave Special Prize' donated by AWI. AWI CEO Brenda McGahan says AWI supported Texprint as part of its strategy to educate early career designers about the benefits of working with wool. "We see this sponsorship as a way to encourage emerging designers to use more wool in the creative process," Ms McGahan says. "We hope the competition cements a long-term relationship between them and this wonderful natural fibre that will see wool become part of their design signature now and into the future." The 2009 Texprint design winners received more commissions and freelance work than ever before, following successful exhibitions of their work in London, Paris and Hong Kong. Major names visiting and buying at Texprint included Diane von Furstenberg (who attended personally with her team), Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Guy Laroche, Liberty Art Fabrics, WWD, Custo Barcelona, H&M, New Look, Next, Victoria's Secret, Oscar de la Renta, Missoni and Jaeger. Group design director at prominent British high street chain New Look, Barbara Horspool, commented: "Texprint is an absolutely invaluable showcase bringing fresh and inspirational talent to the attention of the fashion world. It affords these young designers a platform to unleash their creativity, but also hone an element of commerciality as they enter the global marketplace." More information: www.texprint.org.uk www.wool.com/design 12 SELLING MORE WOOL February 2010 BEYOND THE BALE FAST FACTS l Texprint is the UK's leading textile graduate design prize. l The competition introduces the best students to some of most important names in the textile industry. l AWI supported Texprint in 2009 as part of its strategy to educate early career designers about the benefits of working with wool. Judges and the 24 winning designers of the Texprint design competition. The judges in the front row are (from left) Ronald Weisbrod (Swiss Textile Federation), Zandra Rhodes, Grayson Perry, Barbara Horspool (New Look), Giles Deacon and John Tate (Lyle & Scott). The winner of the 'Weave Special Prize' donated by AWI, Martha Steadman, is at the far right of the students. PHOTO : JAMES McCAULEY © TEXPRINT 2009
September November 2009