Textile Design student through to national heats of global competition

Applying colour sustainably in her designs has earned AV大平台 Leicester (DMU) student a coveted spot in the national heats of a global competition.


The - run by the Society of Dyers and Colourists - is renowned for giving undergraduate students a platform to showcase their talents on a global scale.

After being crowned winner of the Midlands heats, second-year Textile Design BA (Hons) student Robyn will compete for the national title this week. The UK winner will enter the global grand final online in September, and the winner will receive a £1,000 prize and international media exposure.

Robyn impressed the regional judges with her submission - The Trendless Trend - which is inspired by timeless designs, and prioritises responsible consumption and production. Her collection includes wallpaper and furnishing textiles in a classic leaf design drawing inspiration from traditional designers like William Morris.


The 19-year-old from Derbyshire said: “It’s amazing – I wasn’t expecting to win the regionals. I’m looking forward to the next round and If I get through that I’ll be really happy.”

For her collection, Robyn chose to use just two colours to counteract the trend cycle, with shades that occur in nature and have been consistently popular throughout the history of textiles.

Taking full advantage of DMU’s facilities, Robyn experimented with the natural dyeing process, using madder roots and weld twigs. She concluded that the process was too time-consuming, used too much water and was too prone to colour fading to be viable on a commercial scale.


“I decided that the next best thing would be to use digital print and aqueous pigment to recreate the colours I produced naturally. This reduced water waste and improved colour fastness,” she said.

“One of the issues I found was that the pigment run-off can be toxic, but I found a Gloucestershire company that prints with aqueous pigment and uses plants to break down the pollutants. So, I was able to show the judges that this could be done both sustainably and commercially.

“We learn early on during our degree that fashion and textiles is one of the highest polluting industries, and we’re always encouraged to think of ways to reduce it and create change. It’s something I’m really interested in.”

To succeed in her project, Robyn relied heavily on a wide range of DMU’s facilities, including the dye lab, digital print workshop, screen printing room and collaborative studio spaces.

She said: “the facilities are why I chose to study at AV大平台and I’d say my experience so far has been even better than my expectations. As well as the excellent equipment we have, our tutors and technicians are all really helpful too.”

Final-year Textile Design student Becky Watson was a runner-up in the regional heats of the competition and second-years Zoe Sammons and Jekaterina Samsonova were also selected to present their work to the judges.

Nick Rodgers, DMU’s subject lead and programme leader for Textile Design, said: “We’re very proud of the high standard of work and the excellent presentations made by our students at the SDC regional heat.

“Each student approached the brief with enthusiasm and presented unique solutions. It’s fantastic news that Robyn is through to the national final, but we also congratulate Becky, Zoe and Jekaterina for their hard work.”

Posted on Monday 13 May 2024

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