Double-sided woven wool wins prestigious award

24 May 2017

Royal College of Art textiles postgraduate student Samantha Yang has won the 2017 Woolmark Company Award as part of the Bradford Textile Society Awards. The award invites entrants to create a woven or knitted fashion fabric containing a minimum of 60% Merino wool and reaffirms The Woolmark Company’s commitment to nurturing emerging designers.

Samantha Yang’s winning woven wool design.

The winning double-sided heavyweight fabric has been designed for outerwear, and was finished by washing, pressing and brushing to bring out the luxurious softness of Merino wool.

“As a woven textile designer, I am always interested in the geometry repetitions,” explained Samantha. “The winning fabric took inspirations from the organic shapes found on urban architecture. I created the artwork using Adobe programs, and developed it further using jacquard software. The design was then finalised through experimentation with the scales, weave structures, and colour combinations.

“Wool is a strong yet versatile material with wide applications among fashion and interior design. The fibre from different sheep breeds can be created into entirely different looking yarns, which I find is truly magical and it is sustainable, breathable and water repellent along with many other benefits. I would definitely like to continue working with wool not only because of its positive qualities but also its versatility: you can achieve countless effects with it through printing, felting, brushing, embossing and embellishing.”

As part of the prize, Samantha has the opportunity to complete one week’s work experience with London-based fashion designer Sadie Williams.

“I am very excited for this internship; it will be a great opportunity for me as a textile designer to see the end use of fabrics, how fashion studios are run on a daily basis and what the concerns and priorities are for fashion designers when it comes to fabrics.”

The Bradford Textile Society, established in 1893, is the oldest of its kind in Britain and continues to open doors to the next generation of designers and technicians. Its annual design competition provides encouragement and inspiration to textile students and practicing textile designers to stimulate new developments in textile design and construction.

The awards offer an excellent opportunity for future textile designers to have their work recognised by the most important people within the industry. They also are crucial in ensuring the textiles industry remains strong and relevant by supporting the education of emerging designers.

“This competition is a valuable experience to practice delivering works at an industry professional level. It is also a great opportunity to make connections with leading companies in the textile industry and provide great exposure and recognition to your work.”