From hand-forged river rocks to naturally sourced materials and botanic-inspired collections - this year's designers were awarded the top accolades at the launch of New Designers 2023.
The ND Awards are an integral part of the event, with accolades given to the most creative and forward-thinking exhibitors in the show, in partnership with leading design brands and organisations: Cole & Son, Creative Conscience, The Designer's Guild, Fashion & Textile Museum, Habitat, Hallmark, Hockley Mint, Marks & Spencer, Romo, Sanderson Design Group, Stephen Webster, Tu Clothing, and Weston Beamor. The prizes, which include cash, professional advice and paid work placements, offer graduates vital support as they embark on their creative careers.
The winner of the New Designer of the Year Award was Beth Somerville, a textile designer from Falmouth University whose collections Stigma Stamen and Mountain Fold explore where new technologies and old craft processes meet. The New Designer of the Year Award was chosen by David Harber (Sculptural Artist), Dinny Hall (Founder & Director, Dinny Hall Jewellery), Emma Shipley (CEO & Founder, Emma Shipley), Nina Luminati (Design Director, Christopher Farr Cloth), Rebecca Howarth (Head of Design, HK Jewellery), Zoe Eaton (Creative Director, Ohpopsi).
The New Designer of the Year Runner Up prize was awarded to Joe Shevelan, an artist blacksmith from the Hereford College of Arts with a collection of delicate and traditional, yet innovative pieces of wearable jewellery inspired by the Lake District and a calmer way of living.
Trends amongst this year's award winners included the incorporation of Earthly elements, celebrating the serenity of nature and working sustainability amidst the profound impact of the climate crisis on our planet. The full list of winners can be found in Notes to Editors.
The New Designer of the Year Award
Winner Beth Somerville, Falmouth University
Title of work: Stigma Stamen and Mountain Fold
Description of work: Two textile collections - a trimmings and textiles collection which is digitally embroidered and a second, process-led, innovative, fabric collection inspired by mountains.
Judge's comment: Beth's collection combined experimentation with modern techniques and showed bravery, juxtaposition, and beauty.
The New Designer of the Year Award
Runner Up Winner Joe Shevelan, Hereford College of Arts
Title of work: Balance
Description of work: A collection of hand forged rocks which are also wearable jewellery and objects of contemplation.
Judge's comment: The cathartic nature of the piece is drawn out of an understanding of the natural material and the human condition.
The Habitat Future Design Award
Winner: Millie Farley, Nottingham Trent University
Title of work: Where Poison Lies
Description of work: An interiors collection intended for a cafe inspired by Agatha Christie's
Judge's comment: Beautiful illustrations with great storytelling, Millie exhibited a great breadth of knowledge and skill.
Hallmark Connection Award
Winner: Aiden McIntosh, DJCAD University of Dundee
Title of work: Bold Folds and Optical Control
Description of work: Hand-printed textiles and wallpaper design work.
Judge's comment: Simple and elegant 3d illusion, Aiden displayed clever paper exploration to textiles.
Cole & Son Award for Future Designers
Winner: Niamh Knight, University of Nottingham
Title of work: Beautiful Decay
Description of work: Inspired by artist Rebecca Louise Law, Niamh's interiors collection explores lifespan of flowers as they decay Judge's comment: A thoughtful depiction of ever-changing beauty
Creative Conscience & New Designers Ethical Makers' Award Winner: Martha Wiles, Manchester School of Art
Title of work: Regenerative Appetite
Description of work: A collection of ceramic trophies and medals which raise awareness of food waste issues, each ceramic in the collection is dedicated to different food waste organisations within Manchester for whom the artist has volunteered for
Judge's comment: This project has already created impact, both socially and environmentally. This is clearly a very skilled, conscious, and talented artist
The Designers Guild Award for Textile Designer of the Year - for Colour, Pattern and Innovation in Textiles
Winner: Victoria Hughes, Glasgow School of Art
Title of work: Cut & Paste
Description of work: A collection of woven textiles made for transport fabrics such as bus, train and plane seats to bring joy to the daily commute
Judge's comment: Excellent use of colour and graphic form in design
Fashion and Textile Museum Award for Excellence in Textile Design
Winner: Emma Gorrie, DJCAD University of Dundee
Title of work: Textile Design for Art Psychotherapy
Description of work: Emma's collection investigated the impact of social isolation since Covid and the increase of depression and loneliness. Emma coordinated art therapy sessions with students to connect people to art and to one another
Judge's comment: Complete and sophisticated collection with a well thought-out process and development of concepts and techniques
Hockley Mint Jewellery Designer of the Year Award
Winner: Augusta Lazenby, University of Birmingham
Title of work: Interlocking Rings
Description of work: After winning a competition with an engagement ring design in 2022, Augusta wanted to expand on her design with a dull collection which provided an unorthodox engagement ring and wedding band stack.
Judge's comment: Using a mixture of manufacturing techniques and a commitment to sustainability, the winner has achieved a trendy product
The M&S Design Award for Best Textiles, Print & Pattern New Talent
Winner: Amy Jane Foxon, Nottingham Trent University, N1 Title of work: Apricus
Description of work: Apricus means 'full of sunlight, 'Amy's design brings the wonder of the outdoors inside to create a calming atmosphere for positive well being
Judge's comment: Considered collections and print pairings with tasteful colour palettes. A polished & professional collection
The Romo Award for Innovation in Design and Colour
Winner: Georgia Dunn, Arts University Bournemouth
Title of work: Greek Islands
Description of work: Greek islands is a textile collection inspired by bold graphic Grecian architecture and figurative landscape
Judge's comment: The combination of Georgia's bold yet sophisticated use of colour and her energetic portfolio of design work is innovative and well considered
Sanderson Design Group Award
Winner: Catherine Owen-Milsom, Loughborough University
Title of work: Grow Together
Description of work: The lifestyle collection, Grow Together, draws its essence from community gardens and allotments, emphasising the transformative power of outdoor spaces in bringing communities together to learn and grow collectively.
Judge's comment: Strong, confident and joyful use of colour and pattern. A layered approach to design which considers different applications and end uses within interiors Prize: 12 month paid internship with Sanderson Design Group
Tu Clothing Creative Pattern & Print Award
Winner: Peace Rodliff, Loughborough University,
Title of work: Home is not a place
Description of work: A textile collection which celebrates immigrants contribution with culuytsl trgrtrnvrd snf voloutd, inspired by Peace's grandmother's migration story from Belize to the UK.
Judge's comment: We were really impressed with Peace's variety of print techniques and her hand drawing was incredible.
Weston Beamor Creative Innovation in Jewellery Award
Winner: Abigail Pontefract, Glasgow School of Art
Title of work: Perming Your Ears
Description of work: A jewellery collection conceptualised around the celebration of the ceremony of getting ready. Abigail's collection contrasts the ceremony of getting ready with the absurdity of the circus
Judge's comment: A playful collection with impressive use of CAD & 3D printing and innovative materials and concept
Stephen Webster Jewellery Designer of the Year
Winner: Ruby Taglight
Description of work: A jewellery collection which takes myths and creatures from mediaeval art and creates sculptural yet functional jewellery which retells these creatures' stories.
Judge's comment: Charming pieces with character and distinctive DNA
New Designers ND Selects Award
Winner: Maia Flaia
Description of work: A collection of ornaments which started as dated figurines but have been embellished and made into something new. Maia takes old and broken decorative objects and give them a second lease of life so they avoid landfill.
Judge's comment: Innovative approach to the reinvention of historical items to create beautiful new work that surprises
New Designers is an annual showcase of the UK's most innovative emerging design talent. Since its inception 38 years ago, ND has provided a platform for over 3,000 graduates to present their visionary ideas to industry professionals and the public every year. The event takes place over two weeks, with different disciplines highlighted in Week 1 and Week 2, spanning fashion, textiles, furniture, product design, illustration, and more. With a focus on creativity, innovation, and sustainability, New Designers is a must-attend event for anyone interested in the future of design - whether you're a design enthusiast, a student, or a professional in the industry, there's something for everyone.