Childlike wonder inspires national prize-winning textile designer

Textiles designed by Anais Rolland

A fabric design inspired by a cityscape seen through the eyes of a child and created by a French student on an exchange programme at Bradford College’s School of Art has achieved first prize in a national competition.

Textile designer Anaïs has been awarded the prize in the annual Bradford Textile Society Design Competition, winning The Clothworkers Company Award category for a woven fabric design for fashion/accessories.

The 22-year-old created the woven fabric design while on the BA (Hons) Textiles & Surface Design course at Bradford School of Art while on the Erasmus programme.
Anaïs said: “It was the first time I had entered a competition and I won. With so many people taking part in the competition, I thought ‘why me?’ I was very excited.”

Her proud tutor, Programme Leader Hannah Lamb, said: “It’s the biggest competition for textile students in the country, so for Anaïs to win first prize is a real achievement.”

Students on the Textiles and Surface Design course were encouraged to work towards briefs for competitions and put themselves forward for textile design awards – but few events attract as much competition as this one. Hannah said: “Anaïs would have been up against students from universities across the UK. Her success is really well deserved and her designs are beautiful and highly original.

“Anaïs created her project around an imaginary city, based on her response to being in Bradford and moving to a new place.”

Anaïs, who joined the Erasmus programme from Ecole Supérieure Arts Appliqués et Textile in Roubaix to study at Bradford College for one year, explained: “I like storytelling, and decided to design it a little bit like a story. I designed it as if I was a child waking in a new city and describing it in a textile design.

“What I like about working through textiles is you can be anything. You can be an architect, you can be an artist, you can be what you want to be.
“A lot of people know what a fashion designer does but not about people who make fabrics.”

The Bradford Textile Society design competition takes places annually and is entered by all of the key universities and art schools in the UK, with almost a thousand entries each year. The awards are judged by top designers and industry experts.

Bradford’s historic connections with textiles are well known. Bradford Technical School opened in 1882, with the purpose of "technical, scientific, artistic and general instruction in the various processes involved in the production of Worsted, Woollen, Silk and Cotton fabrics." It had four departments: Textiles, Art and Design, Engineering, and Chemistry and Dyeing.

Bradford College played a key role in the education of textile workers in the nineteenth century.

Bradford College’s Lister Building is home to the Bradford Textile Archive, an extensive archive of textiles and related materials including fine silk jacquards, rayon, velvets, mohair and woollens and worsteds dating back from over the last 150 years. The archive provided inspiration for Anaïs, as well as the opportunity to work in its Fashion and Textiles workshops.

The college’s facilities include industrial sewing machines, specialist machines, pattern cutting, industry standard mannequins and garment construction.

You can find out more about Bradford School of Art’s Fashion and Textiles courses on the website.