William Clark has been made up of pioneers, innovators and inventors since its very conception almost 300 years ago. Today is no different, new fabrics are being developed seasonally and our team is constantly experimenting with what is possible to achieve with fabric. Our latest project ‘Earthed by William Clark’ will soon be live and available for purchase. What better time than now to introduce you to one of our latest hires and the creative director of Earthed- Duncan Neil.

Deciding to go Digital- Duncan Neil

Duncan is a well accomplished textile designer with a long background working in the fashion, interior and academic industries. This unique balance gave him the perfect opportunity to perfect technique whilst familiarising himself with all new styles and ways of working.

His journey into textiles was determined from an early age as he became obsessed with Art in primary school. Art shaped Duncan’s path throughout school and into university where he planned to begin studying as a graphic designer. But after 3 weeks Duncan realised that graphic design wasn’t the medium that inspired him the most. Experimenting with different mediums at University, Duncan eventually got to try textiles, where he found that he much preferred the textile aspect of design.

At this stage the most common print method in the industry was analogue screen printing. An experimental medium that took an image exposing it on a screen. Duncan loved the flexibility it provided. You could take one thing and see it in an endless number of ways. Fascinated by colour and loud colours in particular, he began to push the boundaries of what could be done with the colour spectrum. During his time at university Duncan’s work had a particular focus on photography, coupled with his insatiable curiosity it was inevitable that he would be drawn to the university’s first digital printer during his final year.

We caught up with Duncan to find out more about his process for design.

Duncan is there a particular process you have for design?

All designs start somewhere. At the beginning there needs to be a concept.

Earthed’s first collection was inspired by my journey here to Upperlands, the people I have met, the Mill, factory and the history. When I begin working on a new collection, I immerse myself in the subject or history. Before I started anything I spent time wandering the property, reading the archives, talking to staff, learning everything I could about the Clark family.

I then experiment in different mediums to determine the best route to creatively reflect the concept. It all starts by various hand work, initially drawing, painting and photography. Then comes the digital aspect, scanning them into the computer where I build up all designs in photo shop. To fuse the two together I work primarily with a specific textile design software called AVA.

Then the designs must be pieced down and established how they will work in repeat. Typically it takes around three months to design a single collection and an additional two months to get from sampling to production, ensuring colour and detail are right on cloth.

How would you describe your print style?

I don’t have any one defining style. With every new collection it shifts and changes to best suit the concept. Fusing digital and hand created elements is a big part of what I do.

What can we expect to see from Earthed and William Clark in the coming seasons?

As a brand we will create quality digital prints, fusing technology with our deep heritage.

Colour will be a central focus in each collection. I have always been fascinated by colour and how subtle shifts in palette, depth and vibrancy can transform emotion. It will always be a strong element in all that we do.

Duncan will be overseeing the Earthed brand and fusing our quality Irish Linen products here at William Clark with cutting edge creative technology and design. You will soon be able to purchase our beautiful fabric from our new website and selected retailers. If you have any more questions please get in touch using the details below.