Celebrating its 30th birthday this year, New Designers is the destination for businesses, trend spotters and design-savvy individuals to set their sights on the latest budding designers. Part one was a visual sensation with universities featuring work from their textiles & fashion, jewellery and ceramic courses to name a few. With plenty of activities to keep the creative juices flowing and the opportunity to talk to so many enthusiastic students I was in my element – pattern galore and a textural feast of materials. Here are my picks of the (very bright) bunch who are definitely ones to keep on your radar.
Rosie Shillinglaw | Printed Textiles Designer | Instagram: rosieshillinglaw
Geometric shape and structure has obviously been an influence to Rosie’s work. The collection is inspired from the close-up architectural photography of Michael Wolf. Although simple in form, colour makes an interesting asset to these pieces and the combination of a few designs could really add a statement area to any room. Rosie was also selected by the Absolut Vodka team as one of their Top 30 Favourites of New Designers - maybe we'll see her design on a bottle soon! I’m looking forward to following Rosie after New Designers as I’m currently coveting one of those yellow cushions!
Stephanie Glen | Textile Designer | Instagram: @stephanieglen_textiles
I took an instant liking to Stephanie’s simple monochromatic prints. Her stand clearly showed her process and this made all the difference when standing out from the crowd. The simplicity of her pieces was striking when compared to the clashing prints that surrounded her and I am certainly after one of those digital prints for my living room wall. Paired with her extremely likeable personality I am sure this girl will go far whether that be in fashion or continuing to push her obvious flair for graphic prints.
Emily Downer | Textile Designer | www.emilydowner.com
Emily brings a visit to the zoo to life in her fun, quirky illustrations. There was a lot of animal inspired print this year but Emily captured the zoo narrative perfectly and showed a clear target market with a strong focus on children’s interiors. She brought a sense of nostalgia to her whimsical creations and all of her work would be perfect for any young explorers’ bedroom.
Katie Alderson | Ideology Workshop | www.ideologyworkshop.co.uk
An organised student if I ever saw one, Katie has truly gone above and beyond with her Individuality Vessels and Element Lamps. Each vessel represents a star sign and different materials have been used in order to emphasise the characteristics such as peacock feathers embracing the flamboyant Leo character and white feathers showing the carefree attitude of a Sagittarius. The series makes a salient collection and I think this may perhaps be that next Bethan Gray discovery that New Designers so proudly boasts you may find. Katie was also awarded Highly Commended by The Contemporary Glass Society confirming her status as young designer to watch.
Lois Downs | Printed Textiles Designer
Lois was another stand out for me with her extremely commercial work - already fit for a shelf in any local homeware boutique. Beautifully illustrative ceramics and scarves featured on her stand with vibrant pattern and drawings of fanciful objects and animals. The playful designs highlight characters and conversations within both urban and rural environments making for a lovely collection.
Emily Ward | Printed Textiles Designer | www.artsthread.com/profile/emilyward
This collection really caught my eye. I’m not necessarily a fan of the floral, tropical theme but I found Emily’s take on this quite edgy and a little more House of Hackney in style. The collection is of course inspired by the rainforest but with a strong focus on the variety of shapes and colours found in that environment. The colour combinations give across a really strong visual identity and that is definitely what had me searching for more information.