Digital textile printing pioneer, Epson, has announced the two winners of its New Designers ‘Outstanding Use of Print in Textiles’ prize, awarded on the first day of the prestigious annual two-week New Designers Exhibition, held at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London (26-29 June & 3-6 July 2019).
First prize went to Molly-Mae Brissett-Haigh, a graduate from the Textile Design facility at the University of Edinburgh for her highly-innovative ‘Blessing in Disguise’ fashion collection, with Glasgow School of Art graduate, Lucy Hope, also taking away the award for her ‘Happi’ fashionwear for children and adults, inspired by a unique blending of play, imagination, creativity and colour.
Says Heather Kendle, market development manager, Epson Europe: “The standard of textile design at this year’s New Designers Exhibition was breath-taking. There was an incredible range of styles, designs and innovations on show, all proving that digital print and dye sublimation printing has opened up such a wide range of possibilities for those fashion and décor designers wishing to push the boundaries of what is possible in print. Finding just two winners was a challenging task, but the judging panel all felt both Molly-Mae and Lucy really stood out as they had each, in their own diverse way, designed highly creative, inspiring and intelligent fashion collections with great stories behind them.”
As part of the awards package, both winners will now be invited to participate in an Epson design project, creating a collection of interior décor or fashion designs using dye sublimation printing, which will then be showcased on an Epson stand at a trade exhibition over the next 12 months. Molly-Mae Brissett-Haigh and Lucy Hope will present their initial concepts to the Epson team in the UK and work them up into finished designs, with each winner then taken to Epson Europe’s design, demonstration and production facility in Paris, where they will spend two days printing the output. Each designer will also have the opportunity to use up to 20 metres of materials from this visit for their own use.
Says Molly-Mae Brissett-Haigh: “The New Designers Exhibition was a fantastic showcase for my work and I am very grateful to have been chosen as a winner of the Epson ‘Outstanding Use of Print in Textiles’ Award. The opportunity to work with a brand like Epson on a live project will be an invaluable experience, especially as my next step is to start seeking employment within the design sector. It will give me great wide ranging experience in industrial printing and manufacturing processes, something I know will aid me and my future in the industry.”
Continues Lucy Hope: “I’m overjoyed to have been given the award by Epson and very much looking forward to working with the team over the coming months. I think we are only on the cusp of understanding how far the industry can go with digital and dye sublimation textile printing so it’s great to be working with a company that has so much expertise in this area. The skills and knowledge I will take away from the partnership will be critical to the next stage of my growth as a designer.”
‘Blessing in Disguise’ fashion collection by Molly-Mae Brissett-Haigh
The idiom, ‘a blessing in disguise’ was the initial inspiration, with the fashion collection then created as a visual representation of the idiom. Research into the history of the idiom led Molly-Mae to the Rev. James Hervey’s publication, ‘Reflections on a Flower Garden: In a Letter to a Lady’ (1746) which is credited as the first time the phrase was put into print. His over-the-top descriptions of flowers, nature and religious connotations also reminded Molly-Mae of the Dutch Masters, whose influences are also seen in the designs.
Molly-Mae used various pleating methods, smocking and gathering to hide and reveal prints. They are digitally printed and engineered to be manipulated and contrasted within one piece of fabric. The samples on show at the New Designers Exhibition, a mix of large/small scale floral arrangements and parterre flourishes, were not full garments but gave an illusion of dresses, skirts and tops, which when worn, moved and showed the ‘blessing in disguise’. The samples ranged from dark to light, with the gradients also a nod to those used by the Dutch Mastershelping to represent the journey moving from inside to out.
Happi fashion collection by Lucy Hope
Happi is a collection promoting the importance of imagination through creativity and play for children and adults. The inspiration behind the project was the fascination Lucy has with how children communicate through imagination, unintimidated by the self-conscious restrictions of society. Researching the Scandinavian education system; where children start school at the age of seven, and focusing their early years on play, Lucy created a collection aimed at encouraging both children and adults to maintain their playfulness, creativity and fun.
Concludes Heather Kendle: “My time at the New Designers Exhibition confirmed to me that the UK continues to be one of the global centres of edgy, innovative and ground-breaking fashion and decor design. It’s clear this next generation of UK designers are not happy just to rest on the reputation of those who have come before them, but want to carve out their own reputation, one based on challenging convention and developing new dimensions in textile design. At Epson, we are very proud to play our part in moving this industry forward and excited to be working with Molly-Mae and Lucy Hope - two inspiring designers that signal a bright future for this industry.”