New Designers with Tess Grant

New Designers is an event that provides a platform for emerging designers to showcase their talent as well as an opportunity to make new connections, collaborate and exchange ideas. It is held in two parts; Part 1 was 26-29th June and Part 2 was 3-6th July. Many great designers were discovered at New Designers, it’s an event not to be missed. We asked West Sussex based A-Level student Tess Grant, to visit New Designers and tell us about her experience.

Tess is currently studying at college and with plans to continue her studies with a focus on architecture, New Designers is the perfect place to discover the University that is right for her.

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Part 1

What were you hoping to get out of visiting New Designers Part 1?

I am currently studying A-level textiles at college and am transitioning into second year, this means I have larger projects ahead in need of inspiration and research. New Designers week one was a perfect opportunity to see new work and techniques that could inform my own work and help develop my overall creative skill set.

I hope to study a creative degree at university, most likely orientated around textiles and fashion, therefore the showcasing of the work of many universities and graduates in one place is a great opportunity to research the courses on offer across the UK.  I also wanted to grasp an idea about each universities style and working approach.

What were your highlights from New Designers Part 1 and why? 

My key highlights from New Designers week one was the huge and exciting variety of materials, many of which have been created by the graduates themselves or the use of materials uncommon in the textile industry.

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I was also really inspired by the thought that had been given to sustainability throughout, it seemed to be a factor on everyone’s mind with today’s environmental issues.

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Another personal highlight was the innovation within surface texture, structure and form. There were so many three dimensional patterns and shapes visible that was especially relevant and inspiring for me and my work.

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In particular I loved Bucks New University and Loughborough University. I felt they had an equal balance in fashion and textiles and each student had a unique and imaginative style yet somehow they were all cohesive.

Part 2

What were you hoping to get out of visiting New Designers Part 2?

At New Designers Part 2, I was hoping to find examples of new disciplines within the expanding design world, in particular new material development, interior architecture, spatial design and any product development using textiles or similar.


I am also currently studying Graphics AS and wanted to gather inspiration for the upcoming year.

What are your highlights from New Designers Part 2 and why?

My personal highlights from New Designers Part 2 were sustainable material innovation within the textile / fashion industry.


For example I spoke to one graduate who had used snake shedding in replacement for the actual skin therefore removing animal cruelty from this type of product. The products created look of very high quality which I was surprised by as the shedding was very thin. However I found out that the shedding had been layered and laminated together to create a vivid look. I think this idea is very useful as it removes the cruelty and waste that connotes snakeskin products.


Along the same lines of problem solving, one designer had made an earthquake kit which warned people 60 seconds before an earthquake to evacuate. As well as acting as a first aid kit, which is especially useful in third world countries, the kit was also very cost effective to produce, enabling it to be employed in developing countries.


Other features that caught my eye were the upcoming illustrators and visual communicators. I personally enjoyed this section a lot because it’s more explicitly creative. These graphic designers and illustrators have inspired me with my own creative A-level coursework.


A Graduate’s Perspective 

Thistle Martin has a BA (Hons) Product Design: Interior Product from Buckinghamshire New University. 


What did I get from my experience of New Designers?

New Designers was an incredible experience. It was a huge privilege to exhibit with such talented students. The opportunities to meet a range of people with such interesting skills, specialisms, experience and influence was so stimulating. As a mature student, it was great to talk with young designers about their designs, particularly those who shared my interest in sustainability, and see how they had solved similar problems. It also proved a good forum for making links with other, established designers, staff from other universities and specialist material supply contacts within the industry. In addition, I was very pleased to be nominated for a 2020 Creative Conscience award for sustainable design.


What are my future plans?

My plan had always been to work for myself, designing and making bespoke, sustainable products. The possibility of exhibiting my work in Craft and international Design Shows was discussed with a couple of visitors at New Designers. I have been offered the opportunity of being mentored by an established London-based jewellery designer to develop my work to create an exhibition ready range which I am exploring further.


If you’d like to attend New Designers next year you can visit the website here


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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