Stephen Walters & Sons, we are proud of our heritage – but as well as looking back, celebrating our lengthy history as one of Britain’s foremost silk weavers, we like to look forward to a new era of beautiful fabrics designed and woven in the UK.
With this in mind, we love to work in partnership with leading design colleges, giving students a taste of what it’s like to work in the industry, and giving a chosen few the chance to see their designs come to life.
Earlier this year we were delighted to collaborate with Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, running a competition for some of the country’s brightest up-and-coming creative talent: second year weave students studying for their BA (Hons) Textile Design at the college.
The students’ brief was to create innovative Menswear Jacketing cloth for AW18, inspired by the diverse cultures and location of Spitalfields – the original home of Stephen Walters & Sons – whether historic or contemporary. They were to ensure that their designs were both fit for purpose and desired by their chosen market segment, and demonstrate a consideration of weave structures, fibre selection and post-weave finishing.
The culmination of the six-week project was an assessment & critique day, where each student had the opportunity to present their research, development and swatches to a panel of industry specialists, which included our own Managing Director, Julius Walters.
After a very difficult judging decision was made, the panel eventually chose Haruna Yamato and Henrietta Johns to visit our Sudbury mill and bring their designs to fruition. Their final fabrics can be seen in the Stephen Walters & Sons AW18 Collection at Premiere Vision, Paris 19th – 21rd September 2017, Stand 5J20.
In addition, Henrietta Johns and Harriet Eavis were awarded work placements by judge Joshua Kane, which will give them an insight into Menswear tailoring and the commercial realities of developing a fabric collection.
We would like to thank Joshua Kane and Dean Gomilsek-Cole of Turnbull & Asser for their enthusiastic participation in the project, and generosity in providing some exciting opportunities for our winners. In addition, we would like to thank Philippa Brock, Woven Textiles Pathway Leader at Central Saint Martins, who – with Andrew Stevenson of Paul Smith and Kirsty McDougall of Rare Thread – brought this project to life for the students and Stephen Walters & Sons.
“We continuously work with students and colleges because the next generation of designers are the lifeblood of the textile industry, and we want to support them in gaining the commercial awareness they need to get their foot in the door,” says Julius Walters, Managing Director and the 10th generation of the Walters family to run the mill. “That’s not the whole story, though – when you get a great team of people coming together from fashion, education and industry it’s not only great fun, but something magical happens and you often end up with outcomes that are somehow greater than the sum of their parts. It’s exciting to be at the cutting edge in this way, and we’re already looking forward to our next collaboration.”