Each month in The Textile Design Lab we welcome an industry expert who offers training in their area of expertise. This month our guest expert is Amy Sia, a London-based licensed artist and textile print/fashion designer known for her “distinctive bold use of colour within joyful, energetic, feminine and painterly designs.” You can read more about Amy in our interview here.
In today’s excerpt from her 25-page training PDF, Amy provides information and tips on the four branches of the textile industry that she has experienced through her career–freelancing for a print studio, licensing, manufacturing her own product, and commissions. In the full version available in The Textile Design Lab Amy goes into much greater depth on the things you need to know about each of these career paths. We hope you enjoy this free excerpt!
Hello! My name is Amy Sia. I am honoured and excited to be September’s Textile Design Lab Expert. My background is in fashion design and I have worked in numerous areas including production (local and offshore) and design childrenswear and womenswear. Today I am a licensed artist and textile print/fashion designer.
My surface pattern designs have been sold to designers all over the world including Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Topshop, Asos and Victoria’s Secret.
I also manufacture my own line of products that can be readily found in stores in the UK and Australia, available in stockists such as Selfridges and Heal’s and my artwork is licensed to a number of companies for products such as bedding (Westpoint Home), cell phone covers (Casemate), and artwork (society6) with a few more projects in the pipe line.
Over the years I have worked in different areas and I’m hoping this tutorial will help deepen your understanding of the surface design / textile print industry and ways in which to work within it to earn a living. The areas I will cover are by no means the only ways to work in the industry but I speak with experience about these areas.
Freelancing for a Textile Print Studio
Fashion textile print studios create designs which are bought by fashion designers, manufacturers and fabric manufacturers. Usually these designs are created by in house and freelance designers. In house designers are required to go into work at set hours, produce a set amount of designs per week to a specific brief and are paid a wage + commission. The studio also pays for the cost of printing the designs.
When you are freelancing for a textile print studio you are working from your own space, usually there isn’t a quota of designs that you are required to produce per week, often you are able to pick and choose what sort of designs you want to focus on and usually you are the one that pays for the cost of printing. Depending on your agreement you may freelance for a number of studios. Typically an agent will take 40% of the design from the client and you will receive 60%.
This is perhaps one of the most commonly talked about ways of working as a textile print designer on Pattern Observer. It is how I got my start in the industry when I switched from fashion design to surface pattern design.
Continue reading to learn about licensing, manufacturing your own product, and commissions–download a free excerpt of the training here. You can access the full 25-page training and all of our Textile Design Lab courses and members-only content by joining today.
In this webinar we discussed:
1. How to organize print files for clients
2. Branding and websites
4. The upcoming Mastering Your Market Workshop!
1. Tara Reed’s Product Mock-Up Magic
2. Phyllis Dobb’s “Create Product Mockups
What better way to wrap up the week than with these super fun prints from Julia Grifol! Julia is a Spanish designer with diplomas in fashion design and illustration after 8 years of study. She has a special interest in designing for the children’s market, and is currently promoting and licensing her work abroad to several American brands.
“I have worked as a freelance designer for more than 20 years for lots of Spanish brands. I am devoting my work to surface and pattern textiles now, and I am working very hard to license my work and happy with all I have got in these 18 months of promoting my work!
I have just signed for licensing with two new brands, DiaNoche Designs for home products and Like My Case for iPhone cases and travel cases. I have also licensed 34 designs with Kess in House.”
Julia currently accepts commissions and collaborative projects. To get in touch or to see more of her work visit her blog
, her Spoonflower shop
, or her Society6 portfolio
. Have a great weekend! -Chelsea
Mastering Your Market
is our six week intensive workshop that will open up a world of new opportunities for your business. You’ll dig deeper into a market that you already love, explore new markets, try new artistic techniques and make new industry contacts. You’ll grow, you’ll be challenged and you’ll be inspired to create. The course begins on September 29th and registration is now open here
. To celebrate the upcoming MYM (which is the last time we will be offering the workshop in 2014) we will be featuring some of our amazing alumni collections, starting with today’s designers, Bel Lefosse and María Agra. Enjoy!
Collection# 1 – Bambolse (Decorated)
“My first MYM collection was geared toward the fashion market with the Creative Capital customer in mind. Although I already have experience in this industry, the feedback from Michelle and Lesley was invaluable and extremely helpful.
I was inspired by the houses of Kassena people, an ethnic group that lives in a village in West Africa. I love working with ethnic motifs and I tried to explore them using a crayon texture.”
Collection# 2 – Neutral Tribalism
“This second collection was created targeting the Home Decor market. I’m very drawn to ethnics so I wanted to keep exploring this theme mixing it with geometric shapes. I found this collection really challenging as I love to use a lot of colours in my work and I had to try to keep my palette simple. Also I wanted it to be appealing both for women and men.”
Collection# 3 – Bobbin
“This was by far the most challenging collection as it was the first time I was designing specifically for the quilting market. Based on my trend research I wanted to incorporate the delicacy of the lace with the romanticism of the roses but giving it a modern twist with the vibrant colours and a digital “painterly” look.”
“This course exceeded my expectations! All the knowledge shared by Michelle, Chelsea and the industry professionals was invaluable for my career. What I loved the most about this experience was to use trend research when developing my own designs and also all the support for the other designers in the class. I’ve learned new techniques and different ways of working. It was a great investment!“
See more from Bel at www.bellefosse.com.
Apparel Collection (Poolside Paradise)
“The inspiration behind this collection for the juniors market was the retro, summery vibe and vibrant colors of 60′s and 70′s California, adding a touch of fun, and the pastel tones by the customer. The prints were created using photography, gouache, ink, and vectors.”
Quilting Collection (Confetti)
“The inspiration behind my quilting collection was the customer, young women that favor simple motifs and bright colors, especially shades of blue, that use quilting fabrics in lots of DIY projects. The theme is a confetti party, full of color and fun, that I have tried to represent through the use of basic colors and scribble-like motifs and brushstrokes, created with rubber stamps, watercolor and markers.”
My MYM Experience
“I had a lot of fun taking part in the workshop, but I would say I especially appreciate the fact that I have gained confidence, I know exactly which markets are more suitable for my style and preferences, and have a clearer picture of the textile design market in general. Although the course is packed with information, the most valuable part for me were the experts’ reviews, that really pushed me to move forward and improve the quality of my artwork.”
See more from María at her website, www.maria-agra.com or her blog, noyellownoblue.com.