London new textile designers

New Designers: Textile + Beyond

When it comes to inspiration, there’s nothing quite like the energy generated from design school graduates showcasing their creative work under one roof. So earlier this summer I went to check out one of the most important exhibitions in the UK for emerging textile design—aptly named, “New Designers”—at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London. It’s a wonderful opportunity for new designers to meet industry employers, buyers, the media and trend predictors.

New Designers showcase in London

I was anxious to view the work of new textile designer Olivia Slater, who is the niece of a very good friend of mine, Clare Slater. Clare, who started her own leather handbag company two years ago (and was featured in an earlier Stylebook post), showed me Olivia’s Instagram feed, and I was blown away by her talent!

New designer Olivia Slater at the London design showcase

Off I went in search of booth T60, where I met a delightful and professional group of graduate students from Leeds College of Art. As I flipped through Olivia’s binder, I found it so interesting to see how an idea began as a simple pencil sketch, before being uploaded to a computer and transformed into a digital design using software to manipulate various shapes and lines, morphing the single design into patterns, and finally printing the work of art onto various woven textile fabrics and wallpaper.

Olivia was among several talented classmates from Leeds, like Emma Parker, who designed an engaging textile design for children’s bedrooms, including magnetic butterflies and birds that could me placed anywhere on a beautiful floral wallpaper background.

New designer Emma Parker at the textile showcase

After spending most of the afternoon at the New Designers show, viewing row after row of incredible textile and fashion designs, and meeting so many talented and enthusiastic young designers like Beki Gregory…

New designer Beki Gregory at the textile show

…Abigail Eggett, Neha Gohil, Ellie Green, Molly Cummings and James Bowen, I began clicking away on my iPhone at all their gorgeous textile designs to share with our Stylebook readers back home. It was an amazing opportunity for these young talents with tremendous exposure from the press as well as the recruiting potential—a fabulous way to nurture talent, develop careers, support top design courses, and inspire new future students. I walked away truly inspired!

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