Textile Designer Lydia Beanland graduated in 2008 from BA (Hons) Textiles & Surface Pattern Design

After finishing her degree Lydia worked at Paul Smith as Print and Textile Designer for Menswear and now heads the Calvin Klein print division in Amsterdam.  We caught up with Lydia to find out more.

Lydia Beanland 1

You studied Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design at the University, how did the course help to prepare you for your career?

It was whilst studying for my BA Degree at Leeds Arts University that I first learnt how to structure my work flow from creative concept to final development and although I work with far tighter deadlines in my everyday work, this execution of ideas I think stood me in very good stead for what I do now. I also learnt to be more critical of my own work, to question whether ideas were strong enough and worth continuing and exploring or to start with something fresh, which when working commercially is vital. 

You are currently heading up the Calvin Klein print division in Amsterdam, what brought you to where you are now?

I think in short, hard graft. As a result of my interest in historical textiles and dress, after I graduated in the summer of 2008 I took on various voluntary research roles at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London within the Fashion and Textiles Dept. I combined this with an internship at Zandra Rhodes and also at a prop making company. I also worked freelance as a Print Designer for womenswear to build up my portfolio. In 2009 I got the job of Print and Textile Designer, Menswear at Paul Smith and then in 2013 was approached about the role as the Print and Graphics Designer, Menswear for Calvin Klein Europe. I was up for taking on the challenge.

Was the process of relocating an easy transition?

I had visited Amsterdam with Leeds Arts University many years ago and thought it was an amazing city. The interview process went on for months, which meant I had to be very patient with the outcome of it. I relocated for the role later that year, which was a challenge but it has been an incredible experience and I have learnt a great deal. Relocating does entail some compromise and one has to be adaptable to change but the benefits can outweigh this. 

What acts as your inspiration for your designs?

I work for an international fashion brand which has a strong aesthetic, it is my job to design into this and strengthen the brands DNA through print and graphics. As Print and Graphic Designer, I am required to work within a brief, set by my Creative Director and to align with our team in New York. I bring my own references to this and my own creative hand-writing to create something unexpected and original out of these guidelines but which is also commercial. I take a lot of photographs, gain inspiration from architecture and am always on the look for interesting textures or surfaces. I am very interested in painting, historical textiles and the decorative arts so these are all my reference points. It is also my job to keep an eye out for new printing techniques, which I can incorporate into the range.  

What are your plans for the future?

I have always been open to many different opportunities and pathways, I hold the opinion that one never knows until you try, so I would be keen for further relocation to another country to gain more experience. Eventually I aim to focus on a particular product category, as at the moment I work across all categories with in the collection. Over the years I have incorporated teaching within textiles in schools and Universitys whilst working, which I have enjoyed very much, so I would like to continue with this.