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Huddersfield University has long been a bedrock of the Textile Industry with a history spanning back many generations. Recent investments, and a new “BARBARA HEPWORTH” Textile building with Fashion tech and Digital print technology has established an incredible learning resource for the next generation, we caught up with graduate designer Laura Cloughton at New Designers, London

Why did you choose Huddersfield Uni for your studies?

I chose Huddersfield University after attending an open day, my college textiles teacher recommended the University. I was really impressed with the new facilities and what the course had to offer. I was particularly sold on the fact Huddersfield is one of very few universities to offer a placement (sandwich) year in industry, to allow students to gain experience before graduating. Growing up in the very rural Yorkshire Dales, I also chose Huddersfield based on its surrounding rural areas.

Tell us about the new building and the technologies that are on offer?

Fortunately, before graduating, I was given the opportunity to have a look around the new Barbara Hepworth Building. This building has been designed with lots of open working space, which will hopefully allow and encourage students to collaborate. The new building houses some of the most advanced technologies. The textiles technologies that are on offer include; 3D printing, digital printing, UV printing, SHIMA SEIKI computerised knitting machine, Amaya Embroidery machine and the TC2 Jacquard Loom digital weaving machine. For print designers, Huddersfield University not only has the most up to date adobe computer programmes, but also gives students to opportunity to work with AVA Design software.

You specialized in Interiors, tell us why this is your chosen career path

Specialising in interiors in final year, after completing three internships in fashion during my placement year, was an interesting decision. It was exciting working on something completely different and I found myself naturally working at a much larger scale. I also felt that my final year collections, worked better for interiors. I am very open as to whether I design textiles for fashion or interiors.

What inspired your collections, tell us more….

My graduate collection 'Botanical Opulence', was inspired by the richness of nature, from flowers to animal patterns. I carried out lots of trend research on WGSN, as well as using my own initiative as to what was going on in the world of design at that moment in time. Artist and designer research also played a huge part in inspiring my collection.

What was the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge for me when creating my collection was definitely creating some more simplified two colour designs to work alongside my busy floral patterns. I very much enjoy creating intricate designs, vibrant and detailed designs.

What was the highlight of New Designers?

New Designers was a truly amazing experience. The highlight of this opportunity for me was networking and engaging with people from industry and visitors, talking about my graduate collection. I have had amazing response after exhibiting at New Designers, such as placement opportunities, job interviews and I have been featured in articles by The Print Edit, The Print Affair and Fespa. I have also been selected to exhibit in the New Talent Area at the Surface Design Show 2020.

What would your dream job be?

My dream job would be to work as a Printed Surface Designer for a company where I would have the chance to be as creative as possible, drawing and painting, then from these artworks creating designs digitally. I really enjoy working towards trends and using lots of colour where possible.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

My future goal is to work as a freelance designer or run my own printed textile business. Hopefully this will be possible once gaining some more industry experience.

How can the print Industry help new Designers?

The print industry has many opportunities for new designers, such as shows like New Designers and the Surface Design Show, which allow new talent and ideas to be seen. These kind of events open many pathways and possibilities for new designers, whether that be full-time employment or freelance work. New designers can get their names out into the design world, along with the help of social media and marketing.