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Oakham students' inspirational textiles trip to London

Oakham textile students enjoyed an inspirational trip to London viewing the Anni Albers exhibition at the Tate Modern and meeting Sir Paul Smith at his head office.

Form 7 students Letty and Henny tell us more :-

"Our day began with a visit to Tate Modern where we viewed Anni Albers textiles exhibition. This exhibition was beautifully and sensitively curated and illustrated her love of art, architecture and design. There were more than 350 different works of art and we admired her woven collection, her sketchbook pages and the way in which she explored other media including film and photography, sketchbook pages and fabric samples. We particularly appreciated her necklaces where she had used a variety of every day objects to create unusual adornments. Paul Smith informed us that he had previously collaborated with the Anni Albers foundation and was due to do a talk at the exhibition this week. 

After a lunch at Covent Garden we headed over to Sir Paul Smiths head office, home to 180 employees. We were warmly welcomed into his head office where we were shown around his design room, which consisted of a large empty table where he collaborates with his design team to produce new ideas. In contrast to this the room was bursting at the seams with objects, clothing, books and other memorabilia that he has collected himself over the years, and other gifts that are sent to him, including a yellow Tour de France jersey from visiting Tour de France winner, Geraint Thomas.

Paul talked us through the different departments and explained their broad individual roles from designing to marketing and visual merchandising. We had the opportunity to speak to his employees about their job roles; nobody was too busy to show us what they were doing. We were shown how he maintains a relationship with his customers by creating a dynamic ambiance in his shops, which are individually decorated and thought out which really enhances the customer experience. One of his shops contains 26000 dominoes on a wall and another contains 58000 stamps. Having individual shops keeps his brand current and allows him to still maintain an important place on the high street. He also showed us his showrooms, which were displaying products that have not been released yet and talked us through his current ideas for his 2020 collection. Overall, there was a really friendly and creative atmosphere in every room, from the decorative stairwell, which was covered in framed artwork and photographs, to Paul’s philosophy that as an artist you can find “Inspiration in everything and if you can’t then look again.” Everyone left the office very enthused and grateful for such an amazing experience and would like to thank Sir Paul Smith for giving up his valuable time and giving us a glimpse into his amazing world."

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