At the end of June we made the annual trip to the London Business Design centre and New Designers. New Designers is always a show that we look forward to and this year was no exception as it certainly didn’t disappoint!  The sun was shining and the heat was stifling but it wasn’t just the weather that was hot, the work on show for 2018 was also hot, hot, hot! Yet again this year we were impressed by the array of talent on display, making it another challenging year to narrow down just 10 designers that we believe are ones to watch for the future.

AVA’s Customer Services Director, Debbie Buchan comments:

“In our 20th year visiting and our 5th year attending as exhibitors, we were thrilled to meet old friends and new. This year we were particularly excited by the standard of work produced, especially with regards to the diverse use of colour throughout the show. Palettes were sensitively considered with graduates demonstrating a sophisticated sense of colour. There were designs with bright clashing and contrasting colours,  we even saw vibrant pops of neon appearing in work! We saw the whole colour spectrum, all the way through to monochromatic,  and all balancing harmoniously within the designs. I have to say it was fabulous to see such variety. Seeing the majority of the UK (and some European) graduates exhibiting all at once in the same place is invaluable. You can instantly spot  trends, see who stands out, see the fabulous quality of work and skills involved and talk directly to the designers. It’s 4 days of pure pleasure and creative indulgence that we treasure and appreciate each year. We believe the show helps demonstrate what an exceptional educational system we have here in the UK, supporting and nurturing the students and helping them develop their ideas and creativity. There was such variety of skills on display, everything  from knit, print, weave and constructed, through to fashion. Its diversity certainly didn’t disappoint and this is why, in our opinion, New Designers is a must see show if you are recruiting, simply looking for creative inspiration or looking for the next big talent. With creative subjects being cut in schools across the UK, this show is a strong testament to how much talent we have in this country and to why creative subjects should not be being overlooked in the curriculum. Its a tragedy ! The UK is traditionally a world leader in arts and culture and we should be supporting and encouraging the arts instead of jeopardising young people’s choices. The Creative industries are worth 92 billion to the UK economy, so why would we even consider removing creative subjects from the curriculum – I am baffled and angry by this change. The UK creative industries are well established and admired on a global stage and you only need to visit a show like New Designers and the creative art shows to see why.”  On the subject of talent, please see listed below our Top 10 designers to look out for!

#AVACADCAMTOP10 #you’vegottalent #you’reastar #onetowatch #hotdesign #yourfutureisbright

Charlotte Munson
Loughborough University First Class BA (Hons) Textiles: Innovation and Design.

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Charlotte’s work was a real success at the show, winning both the ‘Kingfisher Design Talent Award’ and the ‘Turner Bianca Associates Prize’. It’s no surprise that Charlotte’s work immediately stood out to us. With a contemporary twist on a 70′s vibe, Charlotte showed real skill in her bold placement of pattern and use of complimentary colours. Charlotte’s final piece “Scatter of seasons,”  drew a lot of interest and had an immediate impact. Printed onto wall coverings and soft furnishing, her final collection was displayed beautifully and very professionally. Charlotte told us that her work was inspired by visiting a Josef Frank exhibition, and by her childhood memories of growing up on a flower farm. In Charlottes portfolio there were many, many hidden gems: drawing skills, textures, scaled pieces – it was a pleasure having Charlotte talk us through her portfolio of work with so much passion and enthusiasm. This young lady certainly does have a bright future, she is multi skilled and very talented, with a very good understanding of pattern, strong drawing skills and  keen eye for colour, it won’t be long before Charlotte gets snapped up! “I’m quite versatile with my drawings, I like to try something new each time to try push myself out of my comfort zone. Obviously with this being the degree show collection, you want it to be quite memorable and that’s why I chose florals as it’s something that inspired me my whole life. However, in my portfolio you’ll see I took a trip to Lisbon last year and I have done a lot of tile work and worked on geometrics and tried out different colours, including soft of blues and neutral palettes. So in my opinion being versatile is very good and that’s what my portfolio shows”

Click here to read Charlotte’s full interview from the show and to see more of her work and CV.


Cesca Hoyle 
Staffordshire University First Class BA (Hons) : Surface Pattern Design.


Cesca’s larger scale work was not only spotted by us but by many of the industry professionals, including Orla Kiely. Cesca’s work was shortlisted at the show for an award. We loved her work because it was bold and different, yet still commercial. She had played with scale and I found her scaled up abstract florals extremely powerful and very impressive – 3 large panels of sheer fabulousness!  It was clear from going through Cescas portfolio that she has a good understanding of placement and has a strong commercial eye. The simplicity of Cesca’s final design, its composition, the use of bold shapes, texture and lovely sense of colour were a great success and eye catching. This collection which is titled ‘Overlooked’ is all about finding everyday objects in our surroundings, which she then manipulates in an abstract way so that they now become noticed and no longer overlooked! This concept certainly worked as it generated a lot of interest at the show and certainly didn’t get overlooked.  We couldn’t wait to look through Cesca’s extensive portfolio. We were surprised to see such a versatile body of work and broad range of projects and skills. We wish Cesca every success in her future career whatever path she chooses to take. “I really like projects which cover a wide range of things. So, say, kitchenware it can include a lot of different products. I like seeing how my designs can work on different things rather than just designing for one thing. I really enjoyed the tile project that we did. That was something really different because it’s a hard surface you’re designing for, when everything else was a soft surface. You really had to think about it and be mindful of the differences. I actually got mine made at the factory so it was good to see how they actually look as an end product.”

Click here to read Cesca’s full interview from the show and to see more of her work and CV.


Emily Sexton
Colchester School of Art First Class BA (Hons) Fashion and textile design.

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It was Emily’s unusual subject matter and beautiful winter colour palettes that initially caught our eye. On a closer look, it was evident that Emily had a strong interest in CAD as well as her own distinct style and a fabulous eye for colour. Emily showed a real contrast in her work from subtle winter Norwegian Platte to hot fiery and bold expressive pieces. Emily’s Scandinavian inspired work helped to demonstrate her powerful use of repeat and understanding of placement. Emily is an extremely bubbly girl who is very passionate about the Norwegian culture which clearly filters through to her work in a fun manner. Emily pays close attention to detail. She explained that in her winter sport inspired pieces, all of which follow a similar theme, she considered different narratives for each scene which she explored in her research. Her work tends to originate with the technique of collaging different materials before scanning for digital manipulation. Emily considers texture in her work to be very important, she enjoys working with lots of different processes and loves to experiment either by hand or on CAD.  “I made sure that every print had a different narrative behind it and made sure that they were quite different. As well as the sport prints, I contrasted it with a floral collection which is based on a rare indigenous mountain Fauna in Norway. I got the colour palette from poisonous plants, which I found really interesting because they are so colourful, bright, vivid and beautiful and I love colour! I wanted to use that because there’s a definitive mood with the ski prints, so I wanted to show that I have a love for colour in the Floral prints and also show that I can use colour. “

Click here to read Emily’s full interview from the show and to see more of her work and CV.


Hollie Andrews
Loughborough University First Class BA (Hons) Textiles: Innovation & Design. Specialising in Woven Textiles.


Hollie is another talented student from Loughborough who caught our eye. We usually only highlight surface pattern designers in the top ten to watch but this year we couldn’t not bring Hollie’s stunning weaves to your attention.  Her use of colour and weave patterns were just glorious. In fact all of the AVA team commented on them and loved them. They were sophisticated bold and beautiful, unique patterns with feathering effects. “I love finding my inspiration in the mundane things we see everyday and using this in my art work to make it unrecognisable. You can take inspiration from anywhere and everywhere and turn it into art.”

Click here to read Hollie’s full interview from the show and to see more of her work and CV.


Diane Bresson 
Central St Martin’s BA Textile Design

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Diane’s award winning work really made an impression at the show and we loved how she dared to be bold. We were not surprised that she walked away with the Dulux UK Colour Design Award. Diane’s prints had a powerful visual impact with a retro 70s flavour and style. Her stunning display of long drapes of paper had such a strong presence and impact that it made Diane’s work impossible to walk past without noticing. Her coloured pieces almost glowed as optical mixing of primary colours produced neon effects. Surprisingly Diane’s initial project had in fact been completed entirely in black and white! The overlapping of strong geometric shapes, combined with layered halftone patterns, and incredibly bright colours made Diane’s work extremely powerful. It was interesting to see how she had experimented with traditional and digital print technologies and a combination of the two and the different effects they produced.

She explained that for this project, she found her injection of colour by experimenting with primary colours. This research developed further with her interest in working with video and projection, as she discovered a rainbow effect from her camera when filming her investigations. This interesting rainbow concept is what she intended to translate to her screen prints.

“I quite like the idea of working both digitally and traditionally because I feel like I think very differently and so when I work with both on the same type of print you come up with something unique. I’m very open to everything. I’m mainly interested in patterns but I think they can go anywhere. For this project it was on a large scale, so I see it as more suited to interiors. Overall though, I think my patterns could go anywhere.”

Click here to read Diane’s full interview from the show and to see more of her work and CV.


Aida Duarte
De Montfort University BA (Hons) Textile Design


Aida’s work is truly beautiful and unique – subtle, sophisticated and exquisite! Aida’s elegant designs were individual pieces of art in their own right. Aida’s confidence in simplicity made her individual and allowed  her  to stand out with it’s own prominent presence in style at the show. It wasn’t all about pattern and strong colours but subtle palettes created by layering and photography.  ‘Portraits’ is the name of this collection and it was evident that it was developed from a base of beautiful photographs. Aida confesses she loves a good repeat and aims to balance photography and placement in her pieces. You can see how this creates elegant and delicate pieces, using neutral colour palettes with hints of colour from her photographed fruits, flowers and other everyday objects such as buildings. Her fashion collection has a certain finesse to it, finished off by pleating giving her work a different dynamic. “For this collection I wanted to start with the identity concept, so looking at something that everyone else looks at and I like to give it a different way of seeing it. I take photos then I edit them and see if the colour works or not. Sometimes I do some drawings, collages and paintings because that always helps the designs. When I came to do textiles I originally wanted to be a fashion designer, but then I found textiles and I fell in love with it!”

Click here to read Aida’s full interview from the show and to see more of her work and CV.


Ryan Hughes
Glasgow School of Art BA (Hons) : Textile Design.

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Ryan’s bold pieces repeatedly stole our attention as we walked the Hall. Even though his display had a strong presence about it, the calm and neutral colour palette created feeling of  luxury and sophistication. It was only on further inspection that we realised that some of his work was in fact produced on different substrates and textures such as leather. This really opened up a different dynamic to his pieces, reinforcing the elegance that you can spot from a distance. With dominant monochrome vibes, yet subtle hints of colour tones, you can see that Ryan really considers the structure of his work, creating highlights of movement and fluidity with flowing lines and patterns. “My work is predominantly monochrome. In the way that I have designed, I have played with different gradients and transparencies and that’s a lot of how I get the final effect. It’s like a trick on the eye, the way that the two colours interact, and I found that when I was working with bright colours it didn’t really work as well. Also, from using tonal and pops of colour, it brought graphic elements into my work as well as giving me what I was trying to achieve with the prints.”

Click here to read Ryan’s full interview from the show and to see more of his work and CV.

Tasha Warren
Birmingham City university First Class BA (Hons) Textile design

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Tashas’s work is all about pattern, prints and bright colours. Her paper cut retro inspired florals with a neon pop certainly brought life to the show. Tasha’s award-winning interiors collection proved to be very popular at New Designers. She walked away with the new designers W’INNOVATE & WILKO AWARD. Kingfisher, Turner Bianca, Hallmark and Fashion Formula also commended Tasha on her beautiful collection. Tasha’s love of collaging is evident throughout her work. She uses this as a tool to develop pattern and placement, but also allows the collaged feel to translate into her final pieces of brightly coloured printed fabrics in simple styles. Tasha takes inspiration from Matisse and his carved cut outs, Josef Frank and his undetectable repeats, and the simplicity of Marimekko. Tasha explains her working processes and mentions that she is always conscious and mindful of visualising her work in repeat. Starting with drawing research which is often carried out outdoors, inspired by florals and her surroundings, Tasha develops her drawings to create beautiful collages, which she then scans and manipulates digitally. Once she is happy with the composition, Tasha prints most of her work digitally. She then brings in vibrant pops of neon colour to her pieces in a sensitive and contemporary way by either hand painting or screen printing into the digitally printed fabrics. Tasha tells us “I start off by researching and taking lots of photos, then I draw out a rough idea of compositions of the florals that I have researched. I’ll always have the repeat composition in the back of my mind.”

Click here to read Tasha’s full interview from the show and to see more of her work and CV.


Yingqian Wang
Nottingham Trent University MA Textile Design Innovation


Yingqian Wang not only caught the eyes of AVA, but also industry when she was named runner-up of the event’s biggest award: New Designer of the Year. Yinggian (also known as Belinda) was a very worthy runner up. her work was simply exquisite, carefully illustrated and designed and beautifully executed. I loved it all and just wanted to take it all home with me! Yingqians narrative pieces brought a fresh modern twist to East meets West contemporary Chinoiserie. The quality of Yingqian’s pieces stood out as her work was creative and innovative, whilst staying both commercial and professional. Her contemporary pieces also had an Escher like feel to them. Combining mixed asymmetrical geometrics and lines with whimsical animals and birds and contrasting scales, they had real feeling of movement through them and sensitive use of placement. Yinggian told us that: “I will focus on the elements of architecture, garden and interior design, for example, windows, arches and arcades, columns, wall covering and decorative art. The aim of my project is to create a series of luxury and contemporary interior designs, including textiles, wallpapers, cushions, etc. And the multi-cultural source will target my work to various regions.”

Click here to read Yingqian’s full interview from the show and to see more of her work and CV.


Beanie Cathro Duncan of Jordanstone DJ CAD

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Beanie was in fact one of the first to stand out to us amongst our Top 10 at the show. Beanie’s beaming smile, enthusiasm and sheer volume of work was exciting, and we were lucky to spot it as it was hidden round a corner. Beanie’s wall of samples made for an impressive display and was a collage of visual excitement echoing the layering methods she used in her final pieces. Displaying her research in detail, she presented pages from her sketch book, her working methods, and creatively displayed her inspiration and thought processes. One wall displayed a complex looking print, almost simulating a tapestry, while the other was an insight into Beanie’s working methods. It was simply stunning and became a stand alone piece and work of art in its own right. You could see that Beanie had been working night and day to achieve these creative effects, as well as the extensive body of experimental work on display. Her contemporary abstract designs fused many different processes and experimental techniques. Beanie’s beautiful interior pieces and printed samples were unique; apparently simple, yet complex, layering shapes onto various different substrates. Hand drawn shapes and forms, cut out into motifs used as templates, allowed Beanie to make masks of specific areas, creating designs from designs. Beanie plays with positive and negative spaces, light and shade creating contemporary, abstract designs which are then printed using analogue and digital techniques. She combines this as an effective tool, creating luxurious prints which look like rich tapestries or woven fabrics.

“I am heavily influenced by the Modernists who brought an aesthetic of revolutionary character and I want my textiles to be distinctive for their own peculiarities, to emulate such a strong identity and to leave an emotive mark”.

Click here to read Beanie’s full interview.


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