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ComOn: creativity week and internships

8 November 2012 by TexSelect in Sponsors, Judges & Champions

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.

ComOn’s mission to be a hub of creativity in Europe fits with Texprint’s own ethos to support and showcase the best emerging UK-trained textile designers.  www.comon-co.it

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TexSelect is a registered charity, entirely funded by the generous sponsorship of industry, by British charitable foundations, and by individuals connected to the industry. All believe wholeheartedly in supporting the next generation of textile design talent and in encouraging innovation and excellence.

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