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Artsthread reviews the BA Textile Design graduate show

Artsthread, the ‘launchpad for new creatives’ is a valuable resource and network for designers. See their review of the Chelsea Textile Design degree show here:
artsthread degree show blog sept2014

Made in Mexico: Textile Design students exhibit at the Fashion & Textile Museum

Made in Mexico opened at the Fashion and Textile Museum on 5th June. The winning outcomes of an exchange project between BA Textile Design at Chelsea College of Arts and the fashion and textile department at Universidad Iberoamericano, Mexico City can be seen at this colourful exhibition and celebration of the art of the Rebozo!


The project was initiated by Hilary Simon who has co-curated this showcase of traditional Mexican Rebozo shawls and work from international artists responses to the shawl’s history and weaving process. The exchange project inspired students to examine the cultural heritage of the Mexican Rebozo shawl. Chelsea College of Arts textile students in association with the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico, worked on simultaneous projects.

The Chelsea project took the theme of Mestizos, a Mexican term for the fusion of cultures to inspire designs in weave, knit, print and stitch for a series of ‘ribbons’ to go on show as part of this exhibition. The objective of the UK project was to create a unique colour palette that captured the spirit of an aspect of Mexican culture and its environments.

The projects included a competition element supported by The British Council and the Anglo Mexican foundation. Selected work contributes to the Made in Mexico exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum, London and goes on to the Franz Mayer Museum, Mexico City. The winners will go on a cultural exchange to the University in Mexico City, Iberoamericano, and two students from there will come to London.

The Chelsea final designs were judged by renowned British designer, Zandra Rhodes, specialist Ikat weaver, Mary Restieaux and writer,Chloe Sayer. The Chelsea winning designers, Rose Danford-Phillips and Yixi Cai, developed their designs into contemporary Rebozos for the exhibition in June. More details of the Made in Mexico exhibition and opening times can be found here:

Made in Mexico media coverage

‘The show is perfectly timed’ (Grazia, June 3, 2014)

‘the first ever exhibition focusing on the ‘rebozo’’ (Vogue, May 22, 2014) more

‘a powerful symbol of Mexican culture and national identity’ (Good Housekeeping, June 11, 2014) more

‘very well curated… artwork from greats such as Graciela Iturbide’ (Huffington Post, June 9, 2014) more

‘the full enchilada’ (Time Out, June 4, 2014) more

‘Don’t miss… The most famous proponent of the rebozo… artist Frida Kahlo’ (Art Fund, June 2014) more

‘Rebozos mexicanos colorean museo de Londres’ (El Universal, June 5, 2014) more

Rare rebozos from the Museo Franz Mayer on show in London (Milenio, June 4, 2014) more

‘Fashion for revolutionaries… how the colourful rebozo scarf changed the course of Mexican history’ (Daily Mail, May 28, 2014) more

‘Visten rebozos a londinenses’ (Reforma, June 4, 2014)

‘London’s Fashion and Textile Museum … partnering with Mexico City’s Museo Franz Mayer’ (Design Week, June 6, 2014) more

‘the role textiles have played in promoting Mexican culture worldwide’ (Telegraph Luxury, June 7, 2014) more

Future Island Workshop with Designer-in-Residence Philippa Wagner

Joining forces for the first time, second year BA Textile Design and BA Graphic Design Communication students came together for a future-thinking workshop run by trend innovation consultant Philippa Wagner (   As part of her Designer in Residence post at Chelsea across Textiles and Graphics, Philippa ran a series of workshops exploring ideas around alchemy, adhocism and design hacking.

Students were invited to come to an imaginary island for the day where they threw off convention and traditional logic and explored an imaginary future where there were no pre-defined rules and a place where they could embrace a sense of mystery.

Each student was tasked with bringing with them ‘things’ from home that they could use as either tools with which to design or materials with which to make. Presenting these ‘things’ each student quickly realised that their preconceptions of its use were thrown on its head – for instance a broken vase became a rolling tool and a ball of wool a floating cloud!

The cross-fertilisation between both the courses played a key role in the interaction and the outcomes between each of the groups, as although all coming from the same starting point, each student and each discipline considers things differently.

The role of the workshop was to push the students outside of their design comfort zone and to step away from digital interactions and to not think too hard, but to follow gut instinct. Part of the workshop also consisted of playing with the unexpected as they experimented with non-Newtonian fluids – fluids that are liquid when being moved slowly but when touched quickly they harden.

The outcome of the day was for each group of students to design and define their own imaginary island using only the tools and materials they had brought with them and a smattering of their imagination – but the real outcome was to get the students to forget logic and learn to unlearn and relearn – considering the words of the futurist Alvin Tofler

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ”

Some of the fruits of the Future Island collaborative workshop can be seen below. Responses to the Adhocism project can be seen on Philippa’s blog (