Unusual textile inspiration earns Juliet industry recognition


Luxurious Merino wool textile designs have earned De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s Juliet Wightman a £1,500 bursary from an historic guild.


The final-year Textile Design student will be presented with the Peshall Hirst award, after impressing the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters’ bursary award committee with a menswear collection inspired by the organised chaos of commuting.

Juliet’s textile designs take a mundane daily routine and put a linear and graphic spin on it, inspired by elements such as the yellow safety lines at train stations.

The 22-year-old from Leicester said: “Discovering what kind of designer you are takes time. These are the first designs that I really love and it’s so nice to know that I got it right.

“The bursary is the boost I need for my final major project and I feel really honoured to have the guild’s name next to mine.

“Even though the money is absolutely brilliant, having the guild believe in my work - you can’t put a price on that.”



With New Designers on the horizon, an annual industry exhibition showcasing emerging designers nationally, Juliet hopes that the bursary will help her to secure a coveted place on DMU’s stand in June.

She said: “I love working with Merino wool, but it’s quite expensive. The bursary will allow me to become braver and experiment with different wools and techniques without having to worry about cost as much.

“I’m excited to look into British wools to keep it local and natural fibres to keep it sustainable. I would also like to dabble with cashmere.

“I’m hoping the bursary will help me to develop the bold and eye-catching collection I need to get selected for New Designers, which will be a brilliant opportunity to talk to industry people and meet like-minded knitted textile students.”

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Juliet was rewarded after a challenging interview process with the guild’s bursary award committee.

“It was challenging because of the garment construction questions, but I did a work placement at a knitwear factory last summer, so that helped me with the answers,” she said.

“Out of all the decisions I’ve made to date, from doing the Art and Design (Foundation Studies) to choosing the knitwear pathway on my degree, I definitely made the right decision coming to DMU.

“You don’t realise what you’ve got on your doorstep until you visit universities elsewhere. My tutor Nicola goes above and beyond for everybody and has helped me to become the designer I want to be.”

Nicola Taylor, Programme Leader for Textile Design at DMU, said: “Juliet is both very talented and driven, giving 100 per cent every day. Not only is she a good team player, she works really well independently, which my 20 years of industry experience have taught me is a rare trait.

“I hope this bursary helps to build her confidence so she starts to believe what I believe about her.”

Dating back to the 16th century, the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters introduced its bursaries and awards scheme in 1985 to support students interested in knitting and the knitwear industries.

Posted on Tuesday 13th February 2018

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