Big Win for Tori McLean
designext Grand Prize Goes to Student at Winchester School of Art
Tori McLean, a third-year student at the United Kingdom’s Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, walked away with top honors in the 28th International SURTEX Student Design Competition last month.
She plans to invest the $1000 Grand Prize package creating a collection of her own works, Tori said. “Now that I’ve seen SURTEX, I understand how I can make a living with my art.”
Tori’s work will also be featured on the SURTEX website for a full year, and she will receive letters of recommendation from SURTEX to any prospective employers.
The designer, who is the mother of two, holds a degree in garden design but says she “had always dreamed of going to art school.” A sudden bout with cancer finally spurred her into action, Tori says. Already, she has established an active freelance career with commissions that include designing fabrics for an eco-project at the famed Chelsea Flower Show this spring. Earlier, she won a competition to design a scarf for the Historic Royal Palaces Collection, sold through the Palace Shops to support projects at four of England’s royal palaces.
“Tori McLean did an outstanding job of demonstrating her passion and new-found skill for surface design with an exceptional entry,” said Penny Sikalis, SURTEX vice president. “We expect the prize to help launch her career and those of the other three young, talented designext winners.”
Themed Street Inspiration, the 2014 competition called for students to submit original surface designs showing how they expect street art to influence surface design in the year 2020. Submissions required a collection of six surface designs in one of four categories: WEAR, WORK, LIVE, and PLAY.
Tori’s LIVE submission explored ways to make shared living both private and interesting by 2020, when the Olympic Games take place in Tokyo. She researched Japanese kimonos in the V & A; studied graffiti art in the streets, and applied graffiti “techniques” – read, spray paint – wearing a mask and airbrushing laser-cut stencils onto fabrics and semi-transparent screens in a spray booth custom-built by her husband John.
The panel of distinguished judges who rewarded Tori’s vision represented diverse sectors within the design and licensing industry: Dorothy Cosonas, Creative Director of Knoll Textiles and Knoll Luxe; David Laubach, Director of Design, Avanti Press, Inc; Bonnie Mackay, Principal of BMackay Consulting; and Susanne Martinez, VP, Design and Product Development, SFERRA Fine Linens.
The judges critiqued the portfolios of all four designext winners, who traveled to New York City to display their work before 6,000 attendees and 300 exhibitors. They included Jenny Boucher, a third-year student at Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto, Canada; Samantha Mast of Grand Rapids, MI, a third-year student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, and Karina Rasmussen of Pleasanton, CA, a senior at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.