BM Textiles is a company that creates sculptural wearable art and textile exhibition pieces. Owned by Bernie Murphy, a former garment technologist in the manufacturing industry, she uses innovative techniques, materials, form and context to explore the crossover between art and fashion. Bernie was awarded the ‘Most Innovative Product Award’ in the Derry Craft Awards 2015 and her art pieces have gained quite a following with interest and discussions taking place with major retailers.
The technical challenge facing Bernie involved wanting to replicate her printed stencil designs digitally to develop intricate lossless image artworks. These motifs would adhere to modern CAD/CAM processes and principles to improve manufacturing process in the form of bespoke premium fashion garments, to be sold to collectors or commercial retailers. Her lack of experience in the manufacturing process was imposing her ability to mass-produce her unique items and hence the need for expert support.
In order to overcome this barrier, Bernie contacted the North West Regional College (NWRC) who were able to support her through the Innovate US programme, funded by Department for the Economy (DfE), which equated to 30 hours of bespoke training support from Aaron McKeever, NWRC Creative and Digital Media Consultant to materialise this new product.
The tailored training upskilling addressed the skills Bernie required to prepare her motifs for mass production. This planned involved familiarisation with various software packages, including CAD/CAM software and hardware, upskilling in various vector and raster graphics, Building a Repeating Pattern from Scratch, Using the Pattern Tool, Creating a Brush Patterns, Finalizing for CAM in order to facilitate the development of this product.
The success of the project has been significant in the development of skillsets, which has enabled BM Textiles to launch a range of newly developed products, securing an additional 10% of sales within 6 months. Bernie has acquired extensive skills to create custom-made swatches, which are a digital replication of her unique hand drawn artworks, and are now transferable to garment fabrics using a combination of CAD/CAM technologies.The creation of custom swatches can now be categorised and developed into assets libraries, which can be applied to new products and sold.
Furthermore, these skillsets have substantially cut costs by 85% allowing this company to become more self-sufficient through the Bernie’s hand crafted elements, created digitally to allow for mass production.