Design New Designers

New Designers – The Textile Edit


New Designers is a fantastic show that takes the best design students from universities all over the country and showcases them to the industry at the Business Design Centre in Islington.

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I was particularly interested in week 2 because my son was showing his furniture, but thought I would check out week 1 which is print, textiles and jewellery.

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I saw some amazing designs and enjoyed speaking to so many creative, optimistic individuals that I felt very buoyant when I left. Huge congratulations to all the students showing.

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What I wasn’t optimistic about was the complete, and I mean complete, lack of hand knitting anywhere, on any stand, from any designer.  In fact, when I asked some students if they had access to hand knitting as part of their course they thought I meant a knitting machine that you work by hand! One student, who confessed to being a hand knitter and was from Shetland (the home of beautiful lace), had recreated a  traditional lace design on a machine.

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I don’t blame the students at all because they can only produce what the lecturers and technicians that support them can help them with, and they are trying to show industry what they can offer, to get a job.

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I spoke to a head of an MA course at a university known for its hand knitting and he explained he simply doesn’t have the budget for a hand knit technician if there isn’t the through put of students. Fair enough.

And also what happens when you leave uni?  Graduates are far more likely to get a job if they know how machine knitting works and what they can design for the big commercial machines.  There simply aren’t the jobs or career paths in hand knitting and that’s a real shame.

A huge dilemma for our industry, universities and students and I’m not really sure how to solve it. But you know, dear reader, my  brain will be working up some sneaky ideas to start to address it, at the very least.

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