The Veronica Bell Trophy

SDC’s International Design Competition was set up in 2002. Over the last 16 years we have engaged with thousands of students around the world and are still in touch with many of them today. Each year the winner of the competition is awarded the prestigious Veronica Bell trophy. Veronica was a past President of the SDC and she was heavily involved in designing for the international fashion industry. She kindly bequeathed a sum of money to the SDC. The image shows the winner of the 2017 competition – Rosie Moorman – holding the Veronica Bell trophy, with the runners up (Mikayla Hammond and Li Shan).

We asked Marion Whitelaw, a regular judge at the Scottish heat of the competition, to tell us about her experience of working with Veronica.

“I had the privilege of working with Veronica Bell, on several occasions in Yorkshire and in particular by employing Veronica in her role as a dye chemist as we explored the process of screen printing upon upholstery weight wool. During the early days of our business, The Plan, we wanted to apply my printed design expertise to a suitable upholstery fabric substrate which would provide a combination of aesthetic and performance related standards for commercial application.

This research work in 1988 enabled us to successfully complete and produce cloth for our first significant bespoke textile project for the Inland Revenue IT Headquarters in Telford. Veronica also completed a research paper, ‘Printing on Wool’ identifying, amongst other things the importance of cloth preparation and finishing.

Screen printing on an upholstery weight wool required demanding chemistry and production management, we brought Veronica into our project to assist us, working with the then foremost UK wool printing company, Barracks of Macclesfield, so that we could be confident that our project would be a great success for all concerned.

I’m pleased to say that this multi-faceted project which included the design and supply of printed upholstery fabrics and screen fabrics was an outstanding success. We are still of the opinion that our initial research and experimentation, greatly assisted by Veronica, resulted in what was possibly the most comprehensive application of printed upholstery fabrics in any commercial interior given the demanding British Standards criteria which had to be met.

Veronica was a joy to work with and a true professional who could be unquestionably trusted to apply her immense skills, research, commitment and authority in order to achieve exactly what was required for any project.

Veronica so sadly died at the height of her career with a passion and so much more to give. A real loss to our textile industry. SDC as a legacy and in honour of Veronica Bell presents the Veronica Bell Trophy to the International winner of the SDC prestigious annual competition”.

For further details of the SDC International Design Competition, please visit the website.

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