Stephanie is a Scottish born Textile Designer who is now based in London. She studied Textile Design BDes(Hons) at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Dundee, Scotland in which she graduated with a First Class Hons Degree in 2016.
How did you develop into having the practice you do now – is this because of an educational background in the arts?
I have always loved art from a very young age. I was introduced to the idea of textile design at around 15 years old, I did a project at school on silk painting, where I learnt the basics of repeat pattern and decided to go on to study a degree in Textile Design.
During my time at university I interned for Timorous Beasties & Hatti Pattisson where I gained an insight into the textile industry. I then exhibited at New Designers 2016, which was an amazing experience. I was overwhelmed with the positive response to my design work. Through New Designers, I was offered a 6 month internship which lead to a full time job as a designer for a luxury furnishing fabric company based in West London.
Where do you gather your inspiration from and how do you collect this information?
I am obsessed with colour. Everywhere I go I search for interesting colour palettes and eye-catching pattern. My surroundings have always, and will continue to influence my textile design work. I would say my main source of inspiration comes from nature – my graduate collection was inspired by tropical plants of the rainforest. I visited Dundee Botanical Gardens and Kew Gardens in London to collect first-hand drawings and photographs. I take my time with this step of my process as I feel having good quality photography and drawings helps the development process greatly. It’s important to me to explore my subject in detail.
How do you develop your practice?
Once I have a bank of drawings and paintings, I usually scan all my artwork into the computer. I then extract pattern, shape and texture from each drawing. I use Photoshop to create motifs and to play around with scale. I then put my motifs into repeat and begin looking at different colourings.
What media do you prefer to work with?
I use a variety of media to create drawings, marks and textures. I usually reach for watercolours or gouache and I also enjoy using black ink to create interesting marks.
Some words of advise from a practicing Textile Designer…
I feel strongly about gaining industry experience. There is so much to learn and understand about the industry and so many valuable lessons that university can’t teach you. I would urge anyone trying to get into the industry to get as much industry experience as possible. I am by no means an expert, but since I started working within the industry I have learnt so much. No matter what degree you have, experience will always get you further, in my opinion.
What kickstarted ‘Exposed Designers’
Exposed Designers launched around 3 years ago. We felt there was a gap in the social media world for new, emerging designers to get the recognition and promotion they need to establish their names in the industry. As we know, the design industry is a hard one to conquer, so we wanted to create a community of emerging designers to share their work and gain inspiration. It is also a place to connect with others and find opportunity within the industry.
I think social media is a great marketing tool, especially for those of us in the design industry. It is an image-based platform that has so many opportunities. I studied the relationship between social media and businesses for my dissertation where I learnt a lot about social media and how to use it effectively. So, having this knowledge was definitely an advantage when I set up Exposed Designers.
How do you decide what you feature/re-post?
At the beginning there wasn’t much of a selection process, I was trying to give as many designer’s recognition as I could. 3 years later, with almost 24,000 followers, we get a lot of requests, so unfortunately it is impossible to feature everyone. I look for high quality imagery, creative design work and a well curated Instagram page.
Would you like to expand this further in anyway, if so how?
I would love to expand Exposed Designers, in fact I am currently thinking of ways to do so. I am always on the lookout for brands to collaborate with, we have done a few giveaway competitions which I would like to continue with. I have also thought about advertising relevant jobs, competitions & internships through the website to help our followers get their foot in the door of the textile industry. I would really like some feedback from our followers, so if you’re reading this, please let me know what you would like to get through Exposed Designers in the future!
Is there anything you would like to add?
Steph runs monthly competitions through the ED Instagram page where she offers each ‘Designer of the Month’ a feature page on the website which gives them a platform to be seen by industry professionals and other designers.
“Hopefully in the future I will develop more ways to help emerging designers get noticed within the industry.”