Material World

At the SDC, we are excited to be holding our first ever event at the Houses of Parliament in London.  Entitled Material World, it takes place on 17th June and is essential for everyone involved in the UK textile industry.  It is particularly special as the event will host the UK final of the SDC International Design Competition, which is our annual flagship competition for students, and therefore it has a strong focus on young people.

huizhou universityNow in its twelfth year the design competition continues to grow, with entries from the 11 participating countries globally.  Heats are held in each of the participating countries, with the finalists coming together for the grand final.  The students compete for the coveted Veronica Bell Trophy, £1000 cash prize and a trip to the grand final, a prestigious event which this year will be held at Huizhou University in China.

So what is the design competition all about?  Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

The aim of this year’s brief is to create a design that is both useable and has a function. Living in a world where textiles surround us on a daily basis, it is important to push the boundaries of textile design in new directions for the future taking into consideration industry’s working methods and limitations. It is particularly important to be aware of the environmental impact of a design. Understanding different fibres and their qualities will enhance this process.  We’ve asked the students to think about how sustainable their choice of yarn is or any other processes that are used. They also need to consider:

  • What is their final product?  Will it be used to dress the body or to furnish the home?
  • The colour, texture, pattern, weight and handle.
  • The context in which it will appear and why it is ultimately a good piece of design in terms of industry’s commercial value and sustainability.
  • Where it will be sold

The UK final at the Houses of Parliament will bring together representatives from industry, students, tutors and parliament to present a showcase of UK manufacturers and talented young designers and to discuss the challenges and opportunities for the textile industry in the UK.Malcolm_29.CR2.p

The event forms part of a larger initiative with Parliament, thanks to the launch of an Associate Parliamentary Group for Textile Manufacturing.  The SDC will act as the secretariat with a key role of ensuring industry engagement.

We have a number of keynote speakers, including SDC member Malcolm Campbell, with a presentation entitled Noble and Natural British Cloths – the Cloth of Kings.

Malcolm explains: ‘Today we must fanfare the importance and the value of Scottish and English textile provenance, heritage, quality, and innovation, to develop, market and sell British cloths and clothes to a global luxury market.  We must also recognise and understand the critical threat of foreign counterfeit, undercutting and fleecing.’

Malcolm Campbell began his long career in textiles in 1970, as apprentice weaver and textile designer for A&J Macnab in Scotland.  He is currently working for Retail & Textile Co, on projects in China, Europe and USA, and he has also launched a luxury collection of Harris Tweed textile products under The Cloth of Kings brand.

He has lectured on wool globally, to Australian farmers, various industry sectors, and to textile design students.  His enthusiasm for textiles, and for colour, remains as strong today as ever.

Malcolm believes that textile education is crucial to the future of our industry, not only to the technicians, but to the retailers, the retail sales staff, and the consumer, to stop price depreciation, and the move to less expensive, expendable cloths, and to re-establish the versatility and the outstanding value of Nature’s wonderful luxury natural fibres.

He is now introducing the next generation to colour.  Malcolm has made an educational children’s film on textiles and colour for CBeebies, and written a book on the history and influence of colour for 4 to 8 year old children.  More on this in a future blog, as the SDC has been closely involved in this exciting initiative.

We will bring you news on the other speakers in future blogs, but if you are interested in booking for Material World, we suggest you do so quickly – at time of writing and with over three months to go, the event is well over 50% booked!  The great news is that we have some bursaries available to enable students to attend, and also a special rate for tutors, please email for details.

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