Pioneering partnerships: alumna Emma J Shipley
13 December 2015 by TexSelect in Alumni Stories, Fashion, Sponsors, Judges & Champions
Emma J Shipley is a supreme collaborator. Following her graduation from the RCA and selection for Texprint 2012, Shipley has created a successful eponymous brand which takes her other-worldly illustrations onto scarves, clothing and accessories. She has also worked on a number of collaborations, with among others Disney, working on licensing projects including the recent Star Wars film.
A recent blog post by Emma J Shipley highlights another fascinating collaboration under the banner of WORTH, which saw her working with traditional weavers and metalworkers in Venice and showcasing the resulting accessories in London.
In Emma’s words:
“We were delighted to be selected to participate in the WORTH project back in 2014, and last week saw the showcase of the results of the project, in a private view exhibition at Rook & Raven Gallery in London. In partnership with Centre for Fashion Enterprise (CFE), Institut Français de la Mode and funded by the European Commission, WORTH was created to develop cross border designer and manufacturer collaborations. The project aimed to create innovative new products, foster new creative relationships and showcase the incredible skills in Europe.
“Each designer and manufacturer pairing was given €10,000 to develop and create completely new products. We were lucky enough to collaborate with Tessitura Luigi Bevilacqua, an incredible Italian fabric manufacturer specialising in silk jacquards. Together, along with 34 other designer/manufacturer partnerships involved, we explored the boundaries where art and craftsmanship meet.
“Based in Venice, Tessitura Luigi Bevilacqua is one of the oldest family-run weavers in Italy, using 18th century looms to create their handcrafted fabrics. Using traditional techniques, each stage in production is carried out by hand. Their fabrics are refined works of art and have been created to furnish royal palaces and theatres around the world.
“Making the most of Bevilacqua's excellence in weaving, we wanted to combine this with our fantastical, modern illustrations to create something new. The sampling process took place over the course of a few months, and included a trip to Venice to see Bevilacqua's incredible workshop and original looms.
“After developing artwork from the original drawings, first samples were produced using selected silk jacquard weaving techniques, before being refined and produced in the chosen colour palettes of white, greys, blues and black. To complete the project we collaborated with MARVEN, an artisanal precious metalworker based just outside Venice, to create the sleek palladium-coated metal frames. The outcome is a capsule collection of intricate modern clutch bags and (we hope you'll agree) a true collaboration between art, design and craftsmanship.
“Other partnerships which were part of the WORTH project include: British footwear designer Joanne Stoker who collaborated with French outer sole manufacturer Reltex to develop a collection of brogues with natural soles; and womenswear designer Holly Fulton who collaborated with lace manufacturer Sophie Hallette and fabric designer Lauranne Guyomard.
“The inspiring exhibition featured a selection of creations which evolved from the unique partnerships across a range of craft and technologies, such as eyewear, footwear, jewellery, leather and textiles.
We are really grateful for the support of the European Commission and CFE on this project, and we hope to continue working with European artisans in the future to develop new and innovative products.”