Trends in Textiles & Tips for Graduates

A few weeks ago the truly lovely team at Joules invited myself and my creative blogger friend Emma along to a spot of afternoon tea and an explore around the New Designers show.  In this post I've covered my favourite trends that I noticed at the show and I've also talked about life as an art school graduate too.

I feel as though the creative graduate is in a really hard place at the moment. Many brands only offer unpaid internships or work in return for "exposure", which is so unbelievably unfair. At the end of this post I'm going to outline some of the key points to follow if you're a recent graduate in the hopes that it will help guide you through this tricky time. Leaving university can be completely confusing and difficult so I wanted to lay out some key things to think about, especially if you want to begin a career as a fresh new creative.

Design by Natalie Percival
You may have read the blog post I wrote a few months ago about a trip I took with Joules to the Badminton Horse Trials and so I was really excited when the team emailed me about another opportunity to have a day out together. Before looking around the show we met up at St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel for a catch up along with afternoon tea.

The last time I visited New Designers I was as a recent graduate myself so I was really looking forward to exploring the show and I knew that the work on display would be hugely inspirational. It was quite strange walking in the building again as over the past seven years I have completely changed and grown as a designer. It's very odd to think that not so long ago I was a creative graduate with no clue as to what I was going to do with my life.

I studied surface pattern design at university so I made a beeline for the textile work that was on display, I was completely blown away with the level of talent and creativity on show. I definitely had my favourites but sadly I didn't have enough time to walk around every single display. In this post I've chosen my favourite work and broken them down into a few different types of textile design to hopefully leave you feeling as inspired as I was. This post is definitely one for textile lovers! Please note I've tried to link to each designer's Instagram or website where available.

Rebecca Mary Ann Jones
Abi Eggett 

Chloe Scott

Jane Wolley

Woven Textiles

I just love weave and I slightly regret focussing on a print design uni course rather than a construction one. I am so interested in the weaving process and I may have to sign to a workshop in the future! It was great to see a blend of modern and traditional processes at the show, and I could envision many of the designs in my own home. My favourite designers were Rebecca Mary Ann Jones, Jane Wolley, Abi Eggett and Chloe Scott.

Danielle Amy Howard 

Meg Jones 

Claire Bell.

Abstracts and Geometrics

Personally, I am a huge fan of any abstract design as this is what forms the basis of most of my own collections. I'll always have a soft spot for slightly strange or wonky geometrics and there were so many talented students who impressed me at the show. I was immediately drawn to the designers who were inspired by Mid-Century or Japanese textiles. The designers I've featured are Danielle Amy Howard, Meg Jones and Claire Bell.

Isobel Cross

Katie Baker 


It's only been over the past few years I have begun to explore florals in my own work. I'm always so impressed with people who can effectively create something completely new with blooms. There's nothing worse than an old fashioned floral design that gets repeated over and over again so I was very happy to see some modern interpretations of the classic floral.

Isobel Cross, Katie Baker and Chloe Hills were my top picks of the show as they created work that was modern and unique. Chloe was actually awarded the New Designers Joules Award for her moody and abstract florals. Joules have offered Chloe an amazing opportunity that any budding designer would be so grateful to receive, she has won a £500 cash prize and a 2 week paid work placement with the Joules creative team. The work placement will also provide a commercial portfolio review by one of the Senior Designers and an opportunity to design a mural at their Wells Beach pop up store.

Natalie Percival

Charlotte Atkin


There was a lot of painterly and watercolour effect textiles on show and I really loved the depth and interest I spotted in this style of print. It was very impressive to see such young people creating so many interesting textures in their work to add depth, I felt really drawn to a lot of their work.

I think this was the style that impressed me most, mainly due to the sheer scale of the work. I was blown away by how these students had taken on this trend, their work felt grand and invigorating, just look at that jungle themed print! The featured designers are Natalie Percival, Charlotte Atkin and Tana Pither.

Isla Rustrick 

Lizzie Porter


Conversational prints have to be my absolute favourite in terms of what I like to see, probably because I really struggle to create them and so I admire anyone who is able to design anything conversational! There is such a sense of whimsy and fun with this sort of design. The great thing about conversational prints is that there really aren't many rules to follow, as long as you have a great time designing them. I loved Isla Rustrick's knitwear and screenprints and Lizzie Porter's embroidery was really adorable yet weird. 

My Tips for Recent Graduates

I was incredibly shocked to see that the majority of the graduates at the show didn't include any websites or social media information on their business cards. How are interested brands meant to see your beautiful work if you're not online? I find it strange that any tutor would let their graduates leave university without having an established online presence. It can be as simple as having an Instagram to showcase your portfolio.

Another really important factor is to try and make your email address look as professional as possible. Buying a domain name for this can be as cheap as £10 a year and it really is with investing in a professional looking email address. I don't want to see anything like or!

Never under any circumstance sell the rights to your work, the only thing you should do if a brand is interested in purchasing your designs is to set up a royalty free. You never want to sell the exclusive rights to your work, as once they own it you will never be able to use that design in any way ever again.

The only time where this is appropriate is if you have created a design that you absolutely hate! Read up on royalty fee payments and check the contract with a fine tooth comb before you sign anything. I had a friend at university who sold the majority of her work to a very large brand (this is understandable as it can feel incredibly exciting and exhilarating when a huge company wants to work with you). The problem was that this brand bought the exclusive rights to most of her portfolio and she was left with nothing. If you think about it, is the exclusive use for your design really only worth a few hundred pounds?

Ok that's enough nagging!

I really hope you enjoyed this New Designers round up post. Thanks so much to Joules for inviting me along and working with me on this post, I can't wait to see what Chloe comes up with in your design office!

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