BA (Hons) Fashion Design (Part Time) student Clair Napierski has won the Silk Bureau Ltd’s annual Digital Textile Print competition beating 500 final year students nationwide.
Silk Bureau Ltd is the UK’s leading digital fabric printing company and works closely with up and coming student designers to help them realise their creativity. As a prize, Clair received £1000 and the opportunity to visit Silk Bureau Ltd for a day to learn about their digital printing techniques.
LCF News spoke to Clair about her designs, her final collection and future plans.
Tell us about how you started using digital print?
I was introduced to digital printing at LCF during the first stage of my flexible degree. I had little interest in traditional prints and repeat patterns and didn’t see myself using it in my designs up until I discovered the scope and precision involved with digital print, along with a huge element of individuality it offers. Experimentation became a really fun part of the design process for me and exploring my work in this way really opened up the possibility to bring my design ideas to life.
Sustainability is key to your work. How does digital printing impact this?
Digital printing helps to reduce chemicals and waste compared to some traditional techniques. I upcycle and resuse a lot of fabrics and am always keen to find new ways to become more sustainable. Being able to incorporate digital print into my design work helps me to maintain a certain level of quality and helps to reduce compromises I might otherwise have to make.
Congratulations on winning the Silk Bureau Ltd Digital Textile Print competition. Tell us about what you made?
I’ve previously used Silk Bureau and had always been thrilled with the quality of their print and they are a delight to work with. I saw the competition advertised on their website and thought it was a wonderful initiative on their part and such a rewarding and generous prize. I was stunned when they called to say that I had won! I’m really excited to have the opportunity to spend a day with the team and learn more about the processes, and how I can further use digital print – and of course to be able to print more of my designs!
Tell us about your final collection?
The winning designs form part of my final BA collection Believe which questions authenticity, beliefs such as superstition, magic, rituals, symbolism and religion. It also questions the workings of the human mind and looks at the parallels between sustainability and the stigma of mental health.
I took a research trip through Europe and explored some incredibly beautiful and inspiring places such as folk villages and traditional castles in Transylvania, Bone Chapels in Czech Republic, along with a concentration camp and numerous exhibitions and places of interest throughout Germany and Belgium.
Visually it is a combination of various elements of my research that illustrate the traditionalism and opulence of these slices of history, combined with the more surreal and conceptual tension between what we see, what we think we see and what we actually know that came through onto my prints and throughout the rest of my collection. The two winning prints will be made into a cape, a dress and a coat. The prints will be combined with hand embroidery, beading, laser cutting and engraving.
What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to launch my label GIKOU which combines traditional ideas and techniques with carefully considered design, innovation and sustainable practices. Incorporating digital print into this provides a lot of excitement for me and I look forward to exploring this even further.