Part 1 of New Designers was opened by acclaimed British jewellery designer Alex Monroe. He presented the coveted New Designers Awards to this year’s most talented design graduates in the fields of: textiles; fashion & accessories; contemporary applied arts (including ceramics and glass); jewellery and precious metalwork.

Alex says: ‘The opening line of most speeches will tell you that Britain rules the waves in terms of art and design, we have all the innovation here, we’re edgy, at the vanguard of global design. There is a unique flavour to our wonderful British creativity. But we mustn’t be complacent. Inclusiveness and unity is what we need. We all need to take our responsibilities seriously, and that includes government. There has been an erosion of support for art and craft in schools. I assume this is because of the cost of facilitating art and craft, the expertise and equipment needed, when it’s much cheaper to stick a kid behind a computer screen. And we must resist moving towards educating students on online courses, which are much cheaper of course, but let’s remember the importance of the sensory in art and craft. Holding a tool, the mess of a workshop or the smell of fresh cut wood. And just plain getting dirty.’

The Awards, which are presented in partnership with leading brands and organisations, recognise the design world’s rising stars, offering winners and runners-up vital support as they embark on professional careers. The New Designers Awards winners in Part 1 were:

Business Design Centre New Designer of the Year Award
Prize: £1,500 cash prize plus £1,000 of legal advice from specialist intellectual property lawyer Briffa, £2,000 worth of accounting and taxation advice from accountancy expert Rhodes & Rhodes plus a dedicated half day focus on PR and marketing worth £500
Winner: Charlotte Beevor
University / College: Leeds College of Art
Title of work: Expressionist Colour
Judges’ citation: 'Charlotte demonstrates raw talent – her prolific portfolio is full of exuberant joy, brimming with painterly motifs and unusual colour combinations. The panel feels that Charlotte’s work has fantastic commercial viability and versatility.’
Winner’s comment: ‘I feel extremely grateful and overwhelmed. I’m excited that someone has noticed my work and that all my hard work has paid off. New Designers is the ideal platform to start your career coming out of university, it gives you exposure and people get to see your work.’

New Designer of the Year: Runner Up
Prize: £500 cash prize
Winner: Ellie Corp
University / College: The Cass – London Metropolitan University
Title of work: Suck: a BA starter
Judges’ citation: ‘The panel enjoyed her commitment to developing entrepreneurial design to engage others in communal dining. Ellie’s passion and commitment for her work is evident and her infectious personality draws you in to her ambitious, intriguing and innovative ideas. The panel felt her work demonstrates fine craftsmanship and sensitive use of materials.’
Winner’s comment: ‘I’m shocked and very excited and looking forward to the possibilities that it might lead to.’

New Designers John Lewis Award for Design Excellence and Innovation
Prize: £1,000 to support development of design and production
Winner: Rebecca McGill
University / College: Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design,
University of Dundee
Title of work: Abstracted Scandinavian influenced printed fabric lengths
Judges’ citation: ‘Striking pattern collection with an exuberant sense of colour.’
Winner’s comment: ‘I’m overwhelmed but so excited that a big company like John Lewis likes my work – thank you John Lewis, still in shock! I’ve been looking forward to coming to New Designers for ages – this is icing on the cake!’

New Designers Tigerprint Award
Prize: £500 cash prize and a six month paid placement across their two studios
Winner: Paige Cartledge
University / College: London College of Communication
Title of work: Cabinet of Curiosities
Judges’ citation: ‘Immaculate, exquisite design – beautifully realised. We were immediately won over by Paige’s faultless presentation.’
Winner’s comment: ‘I’m really ecstatic! This wasn’t expected at all, mainly because I have just found my style in the last year. I’m relieved that it has been appreciated. I have loved Tigerprint for ages, I take inspiration from them, so it is very well suited to where I want to go and what I want to do.’

New Designers Wilko Award for Innovation
Prize: £1,000 cash prize plus a two week placement with W’innovate
Winner: Gemma Curtis
University / College: Leeds College of Art
Title of work: Surface pattern design
Judges’ citation: ‘Gemma’s work shows originality and a confident use of colour.  Her portfolio demonstrates both a high level technical ability and creativity.’
Winner’s comment: ‘I’m shocked and excited to win this award.  I’d like to thank my tutors for helping me to develop as a designer and I’m eager to see what the future can bring for my career.’

New Designers Goldsmiths' Company Award for Jewellery
Prize:  Week long internship with a London jeweller.  Living expenses and travel bursary up to £500 and a registration package at London Assay Office.
Winner: Karen Elizabeth Donovan
University / College: Edinburgh College of Art
Title of work: Gold and titanium necklace
Judges’ citation: ‘We were impressed by the way this work exploits the strength of the material whilst resulting in a refined and delicate, yet contemporary piece of work.’
Winner’s comment: ‘I’m really excited to be here. I really enjoy my work and it’s great to be recognised.  It’s great to be following in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Kelly Munro, and I will be looking to her example to develop a business plan.’

New Designers Goldsmiths' Company Award for Silversmithing
Prize: Week long internship with a London silversmith.  Living expenses and travel bursary up to £500 and a registration package at London Assay Office.
Winner: Clive Taylor
University / College: Birmingham City University
Title of work: Executive LED desk lamp (controlled by phone app)
Judges’ citation: ‘Traditional silversmithing meets 21st century technology in this modern piece of silverware.’
Winner’s comment: ‘I am very pleased. My objective in coming to New Designers was to get presence within the industry and begin building a reputation.’

New Designers Harlequin Award
Prize: £1,000 cash prize and a two week work placement
Winner: Laura Melhuish-Sprague
University / College: Loughborough University
Title of work: Woven warp print and digital prints
Judges’ citation: ‘Innovative mix of print and weave, beautiful colour and inspirational drawing resulting in a very appealing collection.’
Winner’s comment:  ‘I feel overwhelmed and ecstatic!  I am looking forward to the future.’

New Designers Sanderson Award
Prize: £1,000 and a four week paid placement in the Sanderson studio
Winner: Caroline Hunter
University / College: Staffordshire University
Title of work: Butterfly Hydrangea
Judges’ citation: ‘Beautiful line work and drawing interpreting natural forms, combined with a joyous use of colour.’
Winner’s comment: ‘New Designers is a great place to come for inspiration.  I am thrilled to have won this award and didn’t for one minute entertain the thought of winning – I took part for feedback and to get my name out there.  I am already thinking about my next designs.’

New Designers Weston Beamor Award
Prize: £1,000 and a one week work placement
Winner: Lindsay Hill
University / College: Glasgow School of Art
Title of work: Imperfections
Judges’ citation: ‘Lindsay’s passion for and knowledge of jewellery making processes, both new and traditional, caught the judges’ eyes. The conceptual ideas behind her collection and technical execution make Lindsay our winner.’
Winner’s comment: ‘Unbelievable to have won – everyone’s work shows so much talent, to be picked out is fantastic. I think it might sink in in three days’ time. I’m on cloud nine!’

New Designers British Contract Furnishing Association FR One Award             
Prize:  Four week internship with the design studio at FR One in Antwerp.
Winner:  Jessica Leigh Calvert
University / College:  Central St Martins
Title of work: Textile Design
Judges’ citation: ‘We felt that Jessica’s colour was equally matched within an exceptional portfolio.  We were impressed by the depth of research and transition of her vision into a commercial product.’
Winner’s comment:  ‘I’m really shocked, the feedback from the judges was amazing.  I’m really excited about the future and the experiences that will be gained in Antwerp.’

New Designers One Year On Award
Prize: £500 cash prize from New Designers, £500 cash prize from The Design Trust, one year free Design Trust Business Club membership (worth £300), 6 week online coaching marketing programme (worth (£245), one year’s free membership to Design Nation.  In addition Design Nation and The National Centre for Craft and Design will select one of the two winners (from Parts 1 and 2) to exhibit in one of the National Centre for Craft and Design’s gallery spaces.
Winner: Taz Pollard Ceramics
Title of work: Taz by Taz Pollard
Judges’ citation: ‘A fusion of utterly contemporary design which acknowledges her own local knowledge and background. Taz is very innovative and brave in her use of material and colour.’
Winner’s comment: ‘I am utterly shocked to have won!  Before being part of New Designers last year I had no idea. The experience has made a massive difference to my business and to understanding where my work fits in to the market place.  The introduction to Heal’s last year at New Designers was a turning point and I wouldn’t have had a clue how to approach a big company such as them on my own.  New Designers has changed everything.’

New Designers Best Stand Award
Prize: Trophy, certificate and champagne
Winner: Nottingham Trent University, Stand T1
Judges’ citation: ‘Professionally and beautifully presented stand with an outstanding collection of work. All individual designs are unique, yet work cohesively as a collection.’
Winner’s comment: We are delighted to have won this award.  New Designers is an important external event and we are one of the few MA courses to be shown here; it is important for us to be seen in London to support that.’