TexSelect 2018: Notebook from Paris
22 September 2018 by Meghna Sarkar in Fashion, Features, Home, Interiors & Auto, Sponsors, Judges & Champions
Best of British textile talent came to the fore at Première Vision Paris, 19-21 September. Let’s take a quick look behind the scenes.
Twenty four young designers, three days of excitement, nervousness and upheaval and a once in a lifetime opportunity to communicate with the biggest names of the textile industry. For the talented textile stars of 2018, the TexSelect showcase at Première Vision Designs was the highlight of their career so far. “It’s such a huge opportunity,” said Grace Hartley. “In university you are still in a bubble. You are just starting up on the business side but here there are so many other companies – it shows you the vastness of the textiles industry.”
After a successful London Preview a few months back, the designers were more confident about communicating with buyers, manufacturers and textile experts from all over the world. Rosa Pearks, who sold two of her swatches to Italian fashion brand Forte Forte on day one, said, “I feel really happy. There were six women shouting at me in Italian [laughs] which was kind of fun. It’s really exciting to see how a global trade show works.” Rosa, like her peers, could strongly feel the sense of business in the air, “Everything is very professional,” she said. “It feels like everyone here is really out to make a purchase. I feel like a proper designer, showing my work to them rather than being a student at a degree show.”
However, it’s about more than just selling your work. From setting up an eye-catching stand that reflects the best of a designer’s portfolio, to making contacts for future commissions and collaborations, showcasing at Première Vision offers a steep learning curve. “I have visited PV before but as a guest and now to be actually exhibiting is just amazing,” said designer Lucy Ilsley. “For me, even though I haven’t sold anything yet it’s more about communicating with people from all over the globe. And they have all told me that they like my work so it’s great to get some positive feedback and advice from people in the industry.”
Beth Porter elaborated on how ‘new’ the entire experience was. “I have had to explain my work before, but never with this idea in my mind that someone will actually buy it,” said Beth. “It also teaches you to be patient with people who just want to look and not just buy, you have to judge who it is and how you should talk to them. You wouldn’t communicate with, say, a student the same way you would with a potential buyer.”
Guided and tutored by the TexSelect team including Creative Director Peter Ring-Lefevre, Designer Liaison Gillian Little, Sponsorship Director Joanna Bowring and International Communications Executive Kate Harris, the designers made a strong statement. Erin McQuarrie, whose bold digital prints landed her a commission with Canadian Athleisure brand Lululemon, said, “I am really happy about it. It feels great to know where your designs are going and you are onboard with the product as well. Première Vision is obviously a very big place but I feel the twenty four of us still stand out with our own unique creations.” Livia Papiernik agreed. The gifted embroidery designer had onlookers flocking to her stand, thoroughly impressed by her intricate 3-D hand embroidery. “It’s been a very positive experience,” said Livia. “Hand-embroidery is still not very common, usually seen mostly in the context of couture. Most people looking at my work are very shocked when I tell them that I have developed it all myself. There are not many embroiderers here and it’s nice to give people more options. I got a few commissions as a freelance embroidery designer and I am very excited about those.”
After a hectic first day, the second day in Paris concluded with the award presentation hosted by TexSelect chairman Barbara Kennington. There was a welcome to the TexSelect designers from PV Paris Director General, Gilles Lasbordes, then a host of eight prestigious awards to be handed out, including two that were completely new for 2018 – the WGSN TexSelect Textiles of the Future Award and the Worshipful Company of Woolmen TexSelect Design Innovation Award for Wool in Interiors. The former had three winners – Erin McQuarrie, Molly Hayden and Matthew Briggs, and while presenting the award to Erin, Charlotte Casey and Gayle Johnston from WGSN said, “We loved the haunting textural quality of Erin’s work based on Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building, following the devastating fire in 2014. Erin’s work brings together textural digital print with sculptural mixed-material prototypes, innovatively blending the digital with the crafted for sportive outcomes.”
All the winners were grateful for the acknowledgement that they received for their work and were moved by the recognition on such an international platform. MJ McKasiarz was awarded the Worshipful Company of Woolmen TexSelect Design Innovation Award for Wool in Interiors by Chris Thierry (former Master of the Worshipful Company of Woolmen), and Sam Wilde, bagged the Marks & Spencer TexSelect Fashion Textile Award, saying, “Everyone here is so talented, I feel really lucky to be chosen.”
Print designer © Sam Wilde…
Designer Erin McQuarrie was awarded the TexSelect Pattern Prize sponsored by Liberty London Fabrics and presented by Mary Ann Dunkley of Liberty; Eve Campbell was awarded the TexSelect Interiors Prize sponsored by the Clothworker’s Company and presented by the Master, John Coombe-Tennant, and former Master of the Clothworkers’ Company, Christopher McLean May. Grace Hartley picked up the TexSelect Colour Prize co-sponsored this year by mode…information and Pantone, and presented by Abigail Bruce of Pantone.
Designer © Grace Hartley with Yann Menard of mode…information…
But the star of the event was knit designer Matthew Briggs who not only received the WGSN award but was also the winner of the Woolmark Company TexSelect Award as well as the TexSelect Fashion Prize. The Fashion prize was presented by TexSelect alumna Jane Han Zhang, who Matthew will be meeting again in Shanghai 27-29 September, when he attends Intertextile Shanghai as part of his Woolmark Award. Natasha Lenart of Victoria Beckham, who co-judged the Woolmark award along with Eda Karadogan of Ipekis, was enthralled by Matthew’s creations. “He is able to apply his technical knowledge to designs that have forethought, that have production potential. He has developed a quintessential British concept which in itself is marketable for another brand or for himself. Kids these days really put us to shame! His work, objectively, doesn’t relate to my aesthetic and yet I am drooling over it.” Matthew couldn’t feel more flattered.“I am completely overwhelmed!” he said, “I didn’t actually sell anything before the prize presentation and so it’s a huge boost to my confidence. I didn’t think I was that good! I have learnt a lot, I didn’t even know what an invoice was before I was chosen by TexSelect. I need to work out what I want to do for the future and coming here has really helped with that.”