Fabrics for Fashion: Part 1

Without fabric there would be no fashion. Whether woven, knitted, printed, embroidered or bejewelled, textiles are crucial to the eloquence of apparel and fundamental to the fashion design process. We are presenting very few textile designers who work mostly in the fashion industry. Their designs can be seen on the catwalks of all major worldwide fashion shows and fashion showrooms.

Furphy Simpson

Val Furphy and Ian Simpson met while studying at the Royal College of Art in London and set up Furphy Simpson after graduating in 1976. Initially designing and printing exclusive lengths of fabric for London-based fashion designers, the design duo then started to sell their designs internationally to all levels of the market, including couture.

Furphy Simpson

Exhibiting regularly at trade fairs in Paris, Frankfurt and Como, the company is mentioned frequently in many publications and trade journals. Furphy Simpson has remained exclusive and the two founders carry out all the design work themselves. in 2012 they ceased to producing print designs to concentrate on a unique luxury scarf collection.

Furphy Simpson scarfs

Many of the scarfs are limited edition ‘works of art’ and the fabrics are created using the discharge technique because the designers prefer this traditional skill and the enhanced quality that can be achieved with the process. Furphy Simson has been the leading exponent of the handcrafted discharge-printing process since the early 1990s. Usually using dark coloured dischargeable grounds, which are the feature of the Furphy Simpson aesthetic, they have used brighter coloured grounds for spring/summer scarfs.

James Long

Initially established as a maker of menswear, British-born James Long added womenswear to his repertoire in a collection for Autumn/Winter 2011 presented by Fashion East, the nonprofit initiative established to nurture young designers.

James Long

Long completed a master’s degree in menswear and accessories at London’s Royal College of Art in 2007, after which he worked for Virginia Bates before launching own label in 2010. His collections are stocked in Harvey Nichols and in stores in New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Milan.

James won the Fashion Forward Award, a British Fashion Council initiative set up to promote emerging design talent and provide funding to talented British designers. In 2016 Long was hired as the creative director of Iceberg’s menswear line – and this season, he’s bringing the Italian brand to the UK for the very first time.

Louise Gray

Renowned for the wit and whimsy of her fashion aesthetic, Scottish-born Louise Gray studied at Glasgow School of Art and London’s Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design before founding her eponymous label in 2007. Having successfully shown as part of the Fashion East line-up for the first three seasons, Gray launched her debut solo presentation for Autumn/Winter 2009.

She has worked with Marques’ Almeida at London Fashion Week, Topshop, Brora, Judy Blame and Lane Crawford as well as individual artists. Together with UK accessories label Tatty Devine, Gray created a limited-edition jewellery collection, first seen on the catwalk at her Spring/Summer 2013 show at London Fashion Week.

Gray has made a few years break in her career and moved out of the fashion industry, but she’s back now and for  Spring/Summer 19, she made her welcome off-schedule return with a performance that showcased her art, design and the community of strong women that inspire her.

Louise Gray design detail

Peter Jensen

Danish designer Peter Jansen utilises an extensive visual vocabulary, often inspired by idiosyncratic source material and reference to popular culture. He also works in collaborations with various artists and photographers. In 2009 Jensen designed a capsule collection for an installation with British fashion photographer Tim Walker, before going to create a highly acclaimed collection in 2010 based on his collaboration with US artist and photographer Laurie Simmons.

Many of Peter Jensen’s prints exploit the ease with which digital montage can be used to construct complex scenic microcosms that engage the eye with detail and humour, both in colour and in monochrome.

Peter Jensen has worked with brands such as Topshop, Topman, Fred Perry, Weekday… For spring/summer 2014, Jensen worked with the artist illustrator Julie Verhoeven on a series of print inspired by the iconic American singer Diana Ross. Since 2001 Jensen is head of Menswear, MA Fashion at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London.

NUNO Corporation

With a family heritage of traditional Japanese textile manufacture , Junichi Arai had already established himself as a significant inventor in his field by 1966, with intellectual property rights granted to him in relation to thirty-six separate textile processes. His research and development drew further on the textiles of other cultures, such as those of Central America, which led to a characteristic hybridization of both inspiration and technology.

Since their start in 1984, Nuno has worked exclusively with weavers and dyers in Japan, combining old practices with new technologies to create textiles that are original, distinctive, and fresh. That year Arai opened the original Nuno store in Tokyo, together with Reiko Sudo.

Koinobori Now! installation by Reiko Sudo

Reiko Sudo and her design team, together with the company’s skilled weavers and dyers, have greatly broadened the parameters of contemporary design in the industry, experimenting with an eclectic array of materials, ranging from silk, cotton and polyester to hand-made paper and aluminum, and finishing methods that include salt-shrinking, rust-dyeing and caustic burning.

NunoWorks was launched in 2002 as a showcase for hand-printed textiles—silk-screened, stamped, or stenciled—that are bold and modern. As we go forward, our energies are focused on taking the next step for Nuno.

From The Fashion Swatch Book by Marnie Fogg

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