Royal College of Arts

Work in Progress Exhibition

Janet Best, Fashion Colourist, was invited to this recent show at the Royal College of Arts as a representative of the SDC.  She reports on the event.

The event took place in the Department of Textiles. Professor Clare Johnston is Head of Programme, and her welcome on the RCA website puts the textiles programme in context:

RCA-longTextiles students at the RCA employ traditional and innovative skills while exploring constantly-evolving materials and technology. They create diverse solutions that span many disciplines and design applications, including automotive design fashion, interiors, and gallery installation.

Personal research and an individual design philosophy are at the heart of the Textiles postgraduate programme. Students are required to apply to one of the four MA Textile specialisms of Print, Knit, Mixed Media and Weave. Textiles at the RCA has a thriving research community with 12 research students supervised by staff who are international experts in their field”.

This work in progress event highlighted how the staff at RCA once again supported their students to keep the bar high with exciting and innovative exploration of design and craft.  Where black remained a focus, newness and excitement was created through the theme of mixing of different materials and textures and 3D structures. Tactile and movement of design gave extra dimensions to exciting use of colour.

It is always a pleasure to meet the students, and I’d like to give a special mention to two in particular, whose work you can see here.

RCA - CarolineCaroline Milon already has impressive freelance and professional experience and has won a number of awards.  Caroline explained: ‘I am 29 years old, and until the start of the master at the RCA, last September, I used to live in Paris, where I grew up.  With regard to textiles, what drives me first, always, is colour. I love elaborating a colour palette, experimenting with clashing colours and overlapping patterns, to create interesting textures.  I like both digital and silkscreen process.

I have worked as a textile designer for luxury ready-to-wear companies, before studying at the RCA. This has been a great experience, which makes me focus on notions of style, and has pushed me to give a lot of attention to aesthetic and details.  I have worked for Sonia Rykiel in France as a full time employee, Lanvin, Chloé, Diane Von Furstenberg and John Galliano as an intern.

However, I decided to do a MA in printed textiles at the Royal College of Art to explore the context of “Space” (interiors, architecture, set design) where textile is required and to conceptualize my ideas. I recently have discovered the properties of e-textiles and have found it very interesting!  After my graduation, I see myself as a freelance textile designer, working for interiors companies, set design and accessories in the UK!’

CushionI also met Lucy Rainbow, and you can see some wonderful images of her cushions in this post.  Lucy explained the Story behind her cushion:  ‘The design of the cushion came from looking at how data is visualised, I took my inspiration from graph paper and bar charts.  I love the screen printing process; particularly how you can create extra colours by over printing’.

Cushion3All the students loved hearing about the new ways that the SDC was providing practical career support, especially the new Graduate Membership Scheme which is sponsored by industry and offers graduates SDC membership for one year and a host of professional support in that important first year of leaving study. Benefits include: web pages to promote their work, opportunities for internships and work visits, free educational events and access to supportive professionals in industry.

As the event was strictly no photography, the SDC would like to thank students Caroline Milon, Lucy Rainbow, Rong Jing Yu and Melanie Lewiston for providing images of their work.

We wish all the students the very best of luck and look forward to this years designers joining the ranks of the many successful RCA alumni including Zandra Rhodes, Orla Kiely, Julian MacDonald and Christopher Bailey to mention a few.


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If you’re new to SDC, we ‘educate the changing world in the science of colour’.

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