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Design Talks: Tabitha Mardle, An Indian Adventure

Tabitha Mardle is an English designer now working in India. Her adventure began just over a year ago when she applied for a position as a designer in Mumbai, India, where she now lives full-time. Seizing an incredible opportunity to experience life on another continent and one full of passion, creativity and colour. Tabitha is living the dream…Young, energetic and talented she is at the beginning of her career and we look forward to watching her creativity flourish.

I first met Tabitha, shortly after she graduated from University a couple of years ago. A talented artist and designer her work is impressive and her artistic skill undoubted. Originally she considered a career as an artist, and who knows she may well take that path at some point in the future. But today she’s enjoying all that the rich culture of India has to offer whilst learning her trade as a commercial print designer.

As a source for Textiles India has a rich history, dating back several centuries it supplies the world with both Fashion and Home Furnishings products to a value of $40 billion in textile exports. The Indian Textile industry employs approximately 40 million workers, with another 60 million indirectly. As a country steeped in textile history, the close linkage between agriculture (for raw materials such as cotton) and its ancient culture and traditions for textiles make India unique compared with other countries that manufacture Textiles across the globe.

With an internal market size of over $108 billion and growing, the Textile industry is the second largest employer after agriculture. Recently welcoming European brands to the marketplace such as Marks and Spencer, Next and Guess. Projected growth is expected to reach $220 billion by 2021, and as such unsurprisingly, the textile sector has attracted over $1.85 billion in foreign investment.

All the above offering Tabitha a unique opportunity to learn valuable design and production skills in a thriving sector of the countries economy.

One of those key skills is creating products suitable for multiple markets worldwide. This requires both an inherent, instinctive eye for global trends and an in depth skill to predict the markets bestsellers. Beyond that following a design from creation through the manufacturing process, to deliver a product to the clients wishes requires an understanding of the production process at all points, and is a critical skillset for all designers.

Across the world tastes vary by both design style and colour and if a product is to be successful it must be designed to a commercial brief. Whilst working in India for clients in America, the UK, Europe, Australia and the Middle East, Tabitha’s creative skills allow her to create unique designs, researched and focused on target markets. To do so, she hand paints her designs and then scans them utilising both Photoshop and Illustrator to create the digitised artwork for production.

Being close to production, she then samples her patterns and approves colours etc with the local mills. Saving time and resources.

Digital technology is utilized throughout the process, alongside conventional technology. Generating products in an efficient and sustainable format wherever possible.

Culturally the adventure for Tabitha continues, taking her free time to travel and explore India’s unique beauty and rich textile heritage. For the future her own designs remain close to her heart, and eventually she intends to develop her own collections. With numerous online platforms now available for millennial designers to sell their products, Tabitha intends to build her own brand, whilst utilizing digital print to sell products printed on demand for clients worldwide. We wish her well…

As a gifted designer, Tabitha will go far. Having learned her trade in India, all of those essential production skills offer a myriad of opportunities for the future.

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