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Texprint London judging: the thoughts, decisions and debates!

30 July 2012 by TexSelect in Sponsors, Judges & Champions

This year’s Texprint special prize judging panel comprised a group of design professionals working in diverse fields from cutting edge fashion to auto design. We feel it important to highlight their comments and views on the judging process, on the four special prize winners whom they selected with almost unanimous accord, and on the future.

Judge Caroline Burstein, the creative director at Browns Fashion and founder of Molton Brown, noted that in order to select the winners it was important to see the designers’ whole portfolios, to meet them and understand their personae and the way they present their work.

Fellow judge Sheree Waterson, executive vice president and chief product officer of active sports company Lululemon Athletica, agreed, adding: “We’re being introduced to the artist’s personality. Everyone’s work was so compelling and interesting. It’s all beautiful. The twist, the deciding factor in choosing a winner, was originality.”

Renowned interior fabric designer Neisha Crosland commented: “We had to be careful we were choosing original things that we haven’t seen before on the high street.”

The panel chose Royal College of Art graduate knitwear designer Carlo Volpi as the winner of the Body Prize. Caroline explained their decision: “We all felt the same way. His use of different yarn weights, the way he put his photo shoot together. He didn’t need to explain his work. It speaks for itself. You understood where it came from. It wasn’t just one look. His colour sense is impeccable, very bold.”

Knit/mixed media designer Sarah Burton from Nottingham Trent University was chosen as the runner up. Her work focused on garments that could be worn under clothes and the judges liked her exploration of movement.

The Pattern Prize winner Ying Wu also graduated from the RCA. Neisha explained her decision making process: “At first I thought, here we go again, digital prints. Then I did a complete U-turn, the scarves could be Hermès. It’s street and skate gone up market and done exquisitely.”

Caroline was taken with Ying’s use of imagery: “You can see the culture, you can see the symbols, you don’t know what they mean but you want to know.”

The runner up was Fergus Dowling from Leeds College of Art. Paul was impressed with the “intensity into his subject” he showed in his collection of prints for menswear.

Carlo Volpi, detail of work, winner Body prize

Ying Wu, detail of work, winner Pattern prize

The work of Sarah Burton, runner up Body prize, and Fergus Dowling, runner up Pattern prize

For the Space Prize, Tania Grace Knuckey won over the judges with her multimedia work incorporating metal, textiles and more. Judge Paul Stamper – senior designer, design perspectives, Renault Design at Renault – said: “Once we saw the portfolio, it did it for us. I could relate it to something I was doing at college. She can turn her hand and make something out of anything you throw at her. It could be translated into repeats, multimedia…. She’s the wild card and that’s why I like her.” The judges were taken with Tania’s articulate explanation of her design work.

They selected RCA graduate Lily Kamper as the Space Prize runner up. Neisha remarked: “The jewellery and use of materials is beautiful. Her work could be applied to interiors, car interiors – there is coherence.” Paul commented that he could envisage her work being used for high-level luxury concept cars.

Colour Prize winner Manri Kishimoto was a universal favourite. Caroline said: “We loved her for body, pattern, we loved her for everything.”

The judges were particularly entranced with the Cental St Martins graduate’s printed garments. Sheree Waterson described her work as “outrageous, mind-blowing”. And Paul Stamper said: “You could frame and sell the illustrations of her costumes, put them in Colette now!”

RCA graduate Lisa Bloomer was chosen as runner up for her woven design work.

Tania Knuckey, detail of sketchbook, winner of Space prize

Manri Kishimoto, graduate show, winner of Colour prize

The work of Lisa Bloomer, runner up Colour prize, and Lily Kamper, runner up Space prize

The judges noted that three of the four winners and two of the runners up are RCA MA graduates. Caroline commented: “It goes to show what that extra two years does. They stand out, what can you do? Hopefully this will inspire people to further their education.”

RCA graduates Neisha and Paul agreed: “You’re absolutely ready for the market when you leave the RCA.” The Texprint management team pointed out that six out of the 24 selected designers this year are RCA MA graduates. Texprint’s chairman Barbara Kennington said: “When interviewing the 200+ graduates put forward, the interview panels aim to assess purely on the quality of work presented, as well as the individual’s commitment to succeed, but this year it was harder – we did feel that overall the standard of BA graduates had slipped – or maybe it was that the RCA MA graduates had forged ahead! We strongly believe the standard of BA has been and can be higher and better. It’s still a three-year course and there’s time to do strong work. We need to find a way to have a debate and raise the bar.”

She added: “Texprint is trying to develop and support the highest standards of textile design and creativity. We hang on by our fingernails to keep the programme going.  Industry needs to also recognise that design is where it’s at and do their bit to support us.”

In conclusion, Sheree Waterson said: “Something I’m thinking about is, the world is shifting and we are going from the very complex to people simplifying their lives. It’s not government or churches any longer, it’s business and creatives that are actually changing the world. That’s who’s going to be changing the world. It’s the creative muscle that has to be exercised for everyone. These guys are paving the way for the future. They are all hugely important.”

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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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