Award wins for Textile Design students at New Designers 2021

13 July 2021

Three graduating BA (Hons) Textile Design students impressed the judges to pick up prizes at the New Designers Awards 2021.

The awards are held annually as part of New Designers, the UK’s leading platform for graduating design talent. With over 1,500 entries from universities across the UK this year’s awards were held virtually to open the event.

Three graduating BA (Hons) Textile Design students picked up awards at the virtual ceremony: The Mollie Makes Award for Lucy Turner; Wilko Retail Design Award for Olivia Riley and the Sanderson Design Group Award for Caitlin Stracey.

Oliva’s winning entry for Wilko featured a stationary collection which used ocean waste with the aim of creating a more sustainable product. Her design was inspired by natural rock formations, mountains and the layers of the earth. The judges commended her for excellent methodology and thinking from initial concept to final ideas. Olivia said:

“I was so happy to hear I had won the Wilko award; I feel like this is definitely the start of my career as a designer. Nature is one of my main inspirations and to incorporate this into my work and for it to be recognised as a winner, it is huge for me. I cannot wait to start my placement with Wilko’s as this is a company I have always wanted to work for and I believe it is a company that I can grow and learn more from.”

Image: Olivia Riley

Caitlin’s work won her the Sanderson Design Group Award. She focussed on using new technology combined with handmade techniques to create patterns with Arts & Craft movement philosophies at the core. She wins a twelve-month internship at the Morris and Co. studio. The judges chose Caitlin due to her inspirational portfolio and her ability to develop original artwork in new mediums and techniques. Excited by her win Caitlin told us:

“I was so delighted to win the Sanderson Group Award at New Designers, and getting the placement at Morris & Co was truly a dream. Winning with this project especially, where Arts and Crafts design was so integral to the design process, was incredible. I can't wait to start working at a company with such a beautiful legacy, and am absolutely thrilled to start my design career.”

Image: Caitlin Stracey

The Mollie Makes award was awarded for an artwork that demonstrated the positive impact craft can have on mental health. Lucy’s work impressed the judges with her playful use of colour and abstract shapes to reflect how childlike play through art has a positive impact on mental health. Lucy aimed to make her work accessible to all ages and genders, encouraging everyone to explore their childlike playfulness through art. She said:

“Winning the Mollie Makes award was so validating, they saw all the research and thought that had gone into the collection. I especially love that I won an award that is related to mental health as self-care and looking after your mental wellbeing is something that is really important to me.”

Image: Lucy Turner

Tami Stewart, BA (Hons) Textile Design Course Leader said: 

“This is a wonderful achievement for our recent graduates and a real celebration for our very strong 2021 cohort of students this year. The online set-up at New Designers meant that awards were offered as ‘live briefs’ and with our students already very experienced with live briefs offered in the course of their study this meant that they were very focused in their design response. The three graduate winners; Olivia, Lucy and Caitlin are worthy winners, who have been very committed and hardworking throughout their degree. The team and I are so proud of their fantastic achievements and wish them all the very best for the future.”

Now in its 36th year, New Designers provides a unique platform for fresh design talent to connect with design educators, professionals and consumers for creative exchange and collaboration. Due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the event took place digitally and featured the work of 3,000 graduate design talents from around the UK.

Sally Bent, Event Director, New Designers said:

“The talent we have seen from the ND Class of 21 has been incredible. After one of the hardest years, the graduates have shown immeasurable resilience and the ability to adapt under such testing circumstances. We are delighted to showcase over 3,000 designers through the online event and connect them with leading industry professionals to kick start their career. A huge thank you to our Universities, sponsors and partners for continuing to champion the future of design. We look forward to returning to the Business Design Centre in 2022.”

All the work from Leeds Arts University students exhibiting at New Designers can be see here, and their full portfolios are available here. Final year students from accross the University are currently exhibiting their work in the online end of year show, In these four walls