Published on Thursday, October 26, 2017

Talking to Ciara Hamilton, Winner of New Designers 2017

Inspirations, past and future


New Designers is the UK's most important exhibition for emerging designers. Each year they showcase their work in the hope of finding recognition and new opportunities.

Wilcom is a proud sponsor of the event. Every year a talented young designer is selected for the Wilcom Associate Prize that includes sponsorship from the company. This year Ciara Hamilton won the prize for her unique and innovative ways of combining textiles and embroidery that made her work stand out among other exhibitors. 


Can you tell me a bit about your background?

At the Arts University Bournemouth I studied textiles, achieving a first-class honours degree. In my final year, I specialised in embroidery and manipulation for women’s fashion. The main emphasis in my designs is CAD embroidery, with the addition of hand embroidery to create intricate details.




What interested you about textiles?

My initial interest in textiles begun in year 10 when I was introduced to new machinery such as simple CAD embroidery and over lockers. This was when I began to experiment with a variety of materials, papers and textures to create interesting surface textures. Initially I wanted to design for interior spaces, my first year of University consisted of experimenting with three-dimensional structures for large wall pieces. The endless textures, surfaces and designs that are possible within textiles inspires me to develop my designs to be striking and innovative. Visiting exhibitions and museum around London, as well as taking primary photographs, allows me to capture detail and research into a project theme.  The theme of my most recent project is 1920s Fashion and Architecture. 


What inspires you when you create your designs?

With inspiration from exhibitions at the fashion and textiles museum and the V&A, I could take key colours and themes from the collections, as shown in the image of my project mood board (on right). The fundamental techniques of hand embroidery and beading in 1920s fashion were evident and therefore linked well with my specialism within textiles. Initial drawings and collages (picture to the left) accentuates the bold and fine lines that were later developed into CAD designs. The main emphasis on embroidery was evident and is something I developed throughout my project. Experimenting with many designs taken from Initial drawings, onto a variety of materials, surfaces and textures is something I find inspiring.



How do you think embroidery enhances textiles and garments?

Manipulating the fabric first and stitching on top introduced dimension into my sampling, as well as, stitching out a design and manipulating it after, which emphasised specific textures within the CAD design. Machine embroidery creates alternative texture to a surface, whether it’s an illustrative or a textural design, it creates defined intricate detail to a garment. The array of stitch types and techniques you can do on the CAD machines is endless, with fringing being one of my favourite, allowing a mixture of coloured threads to create a fringed surface. The stich type creates smaller shapes within a design, which can change the aesthetic of the design completely dependent on the chosen stitch type. 

In my most recent project, I experimented with quilting. During the development process, I combined quilting and CAD embroidery together. These samples were very successful, layering laser cut shapes onto a surface fabric and then stitching a design on top, with a layer of spacer material underneath to create a quilted texture. 




The development process then lead to a final garment being made through a collaboration with a fashion student. The CAD design on the Puffer jacket was developed from an initial design I worked with when developing my collection. I designed this jacket, focusing on the placement of the embroidery to best emphasis the quilted texture. The jacket was a focal point of my collection for the Quilters Guild competition, of which I as selected as one of the final five. The copper thread creates tonal variation within the stitching, as well as the colour palette working well as a hole. This jacket, along with a few other statement pieces from this collection were selected to be exhibited at The Arts University Bournemouth, in their ‘Suddenly Last Summer’ exhibition.




Tell me about your experience of exhibiting at ND. What made you exhibit and did you achieve your goal?

Exhibiting at New designers was a great experience, something The Arts university Bournemouth take part in every year. I enjoyed talking to industry professionals and the public about my work, explaining my work process and techniques. As well as this, seeing other students work and such a wide range of approaches to textiles was inspiring. I spoke to a few different industry professionals, such as hand and lock, an urban street fashion company, a quilting company to name a few. This is how I managed to get a sample in the European textile fair, due to people walking round at new designers. It is a great way to get your work noticed and to hear positive feedback about your work from industry professionals.     



What did it feel like winning the Wilcom prize?

Winning the prize was the icing on the cake. I was completely overwhelmed due to the vast amount of embroidery being displayed at the exhibition. I was delighted to have won this prize particularly, due to the focus of embroidery in my collection. I really look forward to working with the company, to develop and extend my embroidery knowledge and skills.




What’s next?

In October, I will be joining the ‘Ralph & Russo’ team, working in the embroidery artwork department. This internship is a great opportunity to develop my design skills and learn more about the design, working environment. This 6-month internship, in a couture fashion brand is perfect for my skill set and is something I would like to be part of as I progress in my design career.



Congratulations again to Ciara for winning the New Designers Wilcom Associate Prize. We look forward to seeing her new and exciting work created with her new EmbroideryStudio e4 software. 

Check out Ciara's website for more.




EmbroideryStudio e4 makes the world's favourite digitizing software even better. It is the embroidery software choice for professional digitizers, custom embroidery shops, industry trainers and educators and apparel decorators, who are serious about commercial embroidery.

Contact your local Wilcom distributor now and have a chat about how EmbroideryStudio e4 can make your business more efficient and productive!




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Author: Bernadett Csaszar

Categories: Wilcom Blog, General, Inspiration



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