Royal College of Art graduate Jessica Leclere has won the 2015 Texprint Woolmark Company Prize at the prestigious awards held during Première Vision Designs in Paris. Making the presentations was legendary designer and long-time head of the Missoni brand, Rosita Missoni.
Each year more than 200 university graduates compete in the Texprint awards, with 24 finalists chosen to showcase their work at Première Vision.
“I am very pleased to be here to applaud the young talents coming from the UK colleges and universities,” said Signora Rosita Missoni. “Première Vision Designs is a wonderful opportunity to bring them to the attention of the industry and the fashion world, which need to invest in new fresher talents and ideas. I wish to the 24 designers to keep their curiosity, enthusiasm, passion and to transform them in wonderful careers.”
From left, Franco fabrello, signora rosita missoni, jessica leclere and kit neale
The Texprint Woolmark Company Prize was judged by Franco Fabrello, Head of Design at Marzotto, together with UK designer Kit Neale. Those eligible for this Texprint award must incorporate a minimum of 60% of Merino wool into their textiles, and demonstrate a good understanding of its qualities and potential application in fabric.
Leclere was recognised for her collection of knitted designs in Merino wool inspired by the optical illusions that come from opposing positive and negative spaces, and by the textual and optical effects created by dip-dying and hand-manipulated linking techniques.
Franco Fabrello commented that he liked Leclere's intimate work by hand, mixed with a modern feel. “She has developed her craftsmanship and technique into something contemporary and distinct,” said Fabrello.
Kit Neale felt that the Texprint designers had their own unique style and individual approach to how they worked with wool, which was of a very high standard.
Franco fabrello and Kit Neale taking a CLOSER look at Jessica Leclere's collection of knitted designs
“I'm really thrilled to win this award - wool for me creates the best knitwear; it falls beautifully and is lovely to knit with,” said Leclere upon winning the award. “I like to use Merino wool because of the way that it falls and because of its luxurious feel. Winning The Woolmark Company prize means that I will be able to investigate manufacturing and it will be invaluable in sourcing wonderful yarn. I am thrilled to win this, given the stiff competition amongst this year’s Texprint designers.”
The Woolmark Company has been a longstanding supporter of Texprint and allows the global authority of wool to nurture the future design talents of the industry.
“Texprint has been and remains one of the key programmes we support,” explains The Woolmark Company Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Rob Langtry. “It is critical to the future of fashion as textile designers are the key to matching emerging consumer demands to products that can meet those aesthetics.
"The Woolmark Company is committed to a dynamic future and youth is key to that future being sustainable and a genuine major contributor in the fashion supply chain.”