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The TexSelect Executive Team; their most memorable moments…

3 November 2019 by Roger Tredre in Features, Sponsors, Judges & Champions

The 24 2019 designers with the TexSelect management team...

As TexSelect draws to a close, the executive team share their memories from many years working with brilliant young designers and legendary names from the industry.

TexSelect closes formally in the next few weeks, passing on the baton to Première Vision Group, which is to launch the PV Awards Next Gen for young textile designers in 2020 – thus continuing the work of TexSelect in the best possible way.

We thought it would be appropriate to end by asking the long-serving members of the TexSelect team for their most memorable TexSelect/Texprint moments…

The 2018 designers celebrating their last day in Paris…

Helga Goldman, CEO

“I always remember then Chairman Terence Altham and I meeting with the Indigo management to persuade them to allow Texprint’s newly graduated designers to show at Indigo [Indigo was then the name for the creative show-within-a-show for new talent at Première Vision]. Their concern was that these young designers straight out of college were untried and had no experience of industry.

“They were finally persuaded and offered us space on a trial basis for twenty designers in 1996. Roberto Sarti of Italian fabric company Faliero Sarti e Figli opened the first show. Mr Sarti said: ‘In these highly competitive times, achieving added value through creative excellence is a major priority. Texprint helps launch some of the best.’ ”

“Twenty-three years on, creative excellence matters more than ever.  So much so that Première Vision Group has decided to sustain the vision of Texprint/TexSelect by taking over in 2020 as the champion of new graduate talent.”

The Woolmark Company Texprint Award 2017: winner Rosie Moorman, with judges Roberto Sarti and Charles Jeffrey…

Barbara Kennington, Chairman

“I’ll never forget the joy of meeting legendary Rosita Missoni, who was the prize presenter in 2015. Such a very special person. Rosita seemed to exemplify everything about the Italian label’s colour, vibrancy and passion. She was generous with her energy, time and message. ‘I’m so impressed by your work,’ she told the designers. ‘Believe in yourselves. And meet the right people!’

Barbara Kennington with Rosita Missoni…

Joanna Bowring, Barbara Kennington and Peter Ring-Lefevre with Rosita Missoni and Liz Griffiths of Missoni…

Peter Ring-Lefevre, Creative Director

“Every year, we have interviewed about 190 designers and selected 24 winners. It’s been such a pleasure to work with them – and also with the many industry greats who have given their time to judge and present to the prize winners in London and Paris, join my selection panels or become Hero Mentors. Hundreds of dedicated individuals have been involved over the years, reading like an A-to-Z of the top textile industry.

“Signore Nino Cerruti of Lanificio Cerruti 1881 joined us as prize presenter at Première Vision in Paris twice. I had the privilege of meeting the supreme gentleman of yarn, cloth and fashion at his Paris headquarters when I involved his studio in creating contemporary garments using his highly advanced ‘touch and handle’ techniques applied to Cerruti fabrics for Woolmark’s PV stand in the 1990s. My former Woolmark colleague Birgit, based in Biella, helped TexSelect secure Mr Cerruti’s presence with TexSelect in Paris in 2004 and in 2014, the second time round both as prize presenter and Woolmark prize judge. He was so elegantly dressed in a casual superior high-twist wool unlined jacket. In truth, Mr. Cerruti has been my role model in how to dress for years!

“For the 2014 Woolmark Prize judging, we also involved the young up-and-coming design duo Agi & Sam, who had won the Woolmark Designer Award that year. I’ll never forget how Mr Cerruti immediately connected with their modern vibes and angles to choose a winner. It was an amazing experience for me, my colleagues and the 24 TexSelect designers.”

Nino Cerruti with Agi & Sam, judging The Woolmark Company TexSelect Award 2014, with winner Tali Furman…

Joanna Bowring, Sponsorship Director

“My best TexSelect memory as Sponsorship Director was to secure significant funding from the Garfield Weston Foundation following the sterling efforts of Christian Dewar-Durie, from whom I took over in 2008 (I had previously been able to be a sponsor, first through Courtaulds Textiles then Marks & Spencer). The Garfield Weston Foundation have been steadfast Foundation Sponsors ever since, and had even renewed their support for the next three years at an increased level before we finally decided that TexSelect in its present form had to close. TexSelect was only able to continue its work for nearly 50 years through the foresight and generosity of its sponsors and we had many kind messages from our supporters following the announcement.

“It is impossible to choose one TexSelect memory as the best. All I can say is that the extraordinary camaraderie that developed within the TexSelect team is unlike anything else I have experienced. Although we were not together physically through much of the time we worked together, there was always the awareness of our shared goals and values, and memories and experiences of excitement, elation and hilarity, sometimes admittedly tempered with frustration, exhaustion and disappointment. Underlying it all was a huge respect for each other and the roles we all played to make it happen, and for the amazingly talented textile designers whose careers we had a hand in launching into the global marketplace.”

Peter Ring-Lefevre horsing around in the PV ‘circus ring’ 2019…

Kate Harris, International Communications

“My most enduring memories of TexSelect have been learning about, and seeing, the success of certain individuals. I will always remember the pleasure of seeing some of our less confident designers come back to visit us following ‘their’ year, brimming with positive stories for which they have given copious recognition to TexSelect.

“There was the pleasure of seeing a huge poster in Marks & Spencer, Oxford Street, of some printed clothing (a nightdress, I think) with the print designed by a Texprinter from the previous season. As I recall she was a mature student, returning to college after having children, and was still, during the Texprint process, very unconfident of her decision.

“There were also those who have gone on to do things that one could never have been able to imagine (designs for St Paul’s Cathedral vestments, decorative panels for the new National Trust headquarters, light installations on Villa Rothschild in the South of France!) or gone into seemingly unrelated fields (automobile interiors or technical keep-fit gear). Being a tiny cog in such wonderful stories will remain my best memory.”

Rupert Newman, alumnus 2010, light artist: Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera…

Cherica Haye, alumna 2013, working for Rolls-Royce…

Gilian Little, Designer Liaison

“It has always been a delight and privilege to talk to all the many designers at interview time, and then those designers who are selected each year. It’s a special delight to see them transform after they have been through the ‘TexSelect experience’. A light goes on as everything falls into place, and they see where they might fit into the textile world.”

Interview session with Emma Sewell (alumna, Wallace Sewell), designer Sophie Roet, Peter Ring-Lefevre and interviewee…

Gill Gledhill, Director, GGHQ Fashion Intelligence, former PR for TexSelect

“So many inspiring, talented, generous people gave their time to select and mentor the new designers each year. I interviewed many prize judges for publicity material. In 2012 I called Caroline Burstein, creative director of London fashion store Browns, and she was completely in synch with TexSelect’s raison d’être.

“She understood how art colleges in the UK nurture experimentation: ‘They are not afraid of the new. In fact they seek it and embrace it… The diverse mix of cultures brings new creative forces together.’ Ultimately, she said, ‘talented people in all fields are born to create  – it is a gift that they possess and it has to be expressed. Their talent contributes to the pleasures of life and it has to be supported, nurtured and respected. Textile graduates are no exception; their contribution to design cannot be underestimated.’ Amen to that.

“Another memory that really sticks is the trip to Spinexpo in Shanghai in 2011, which was extraordinary. Such a lovely group of selected designers – plus Momo Wang who came to help out. And how wonderfully they handled themselves.”

Judges at TexSelect 2012 – Caroline Burstein, creative director at Browns Fashion, and textile designer Neisha Crosland

Roger Tredre, Consultant Editor, TexSelect.com

“When Barbara Kennington asked me to help out with writing some pieces for the TexSelect website in 2014, I didn’t realise how much fun it was going to be. I started out in the very best possible way by visiting the legendary Sarah Campbell in her studio, which was a great treat. And I’ve enjoyed every interview since then with alumnae and judges, sometimes in person, sometimes by phone or email. They include Katie Greenyer at Pentland Group – such fun – as well as the brilliantly talented Emma Shipley and former Dean of Central Saint Martins Jane Rapley (another legend). Also on my list of favourites are Jayne Goulding, Charlotte Beevor, Fleet Bigwood (ok, one more legend allowed), Carlo Volpi, Charles Jeffrey, Cherica Haye, and Kirsty McDougall and Laura Miles of Rare Thread. And very many more… I also enjoyed my conversations with the TexSelect designers in the quieter moments at PV and will be so pleased to track how their careers progress.”

Jane Rapley (TexSelect Trustee) talking with designer 2019…

Alumnae Kirsty McDougall and Laura Miles on their stand at Première Vision Designs, September 2017

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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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