When I discovered there was a fabric printer in Australia who could match international prices and quality with speedy turnarounds and only a 1m minimum order I had to give them a buzz and check if they were legit. Absolutely. No catches. AND phenomenal customer service to boot. Chole and Geoff, who run Next State know their stuff, are helpful as can be and are dedicated to progressing the Australian textiles industry. A shared dream we have is that manufacturing in Australia will boom…but more on that later – I’ll let Chole do the talking…
Tell us what Next State does?
Next State is a digital textile printer; we print customer’s artworks onto fabric. Our customers might be fashion designers, interior designers, home ware brands, students, artists, or from a variety of other industries. We get to print all sorts of artwork for all sorts of projects; it is amazing to see what people come up with. We have natural and polyester fabrics that can be printed on.
Have you always loved textiles? What sparked your interest and where did you go to learn more?
I’ve always been a textile lover. My grandmother worked in textiles and on the other side of the family I’m a third generation printer. I think there is ink and fibres in the blood. My professional studies were in Fashion design so I could get a holistic industry approach and understand garment construction, textiles and design. I’ve worked for fifteen years in the Fashion and textile industry. My true love I learned very early on is in how manufacturing happens and how things are made. I love the technical component design whether it be knit, weave or print and have been very fortunate to work in textile manufacturing companies in Australia, which are not all that common.
Do you wear pattern and if so, what’s your design of choice?
I love patterns and wearing them. I have a wardrobe and house full of our customer’s designs. I definitely lean more towards bold and colourful and really like contemporary design and modern prints. I love a photographic element in a print and seeing it paired back with a texture painterly design.
Where do you go to for inspiration?!
I’m lucky I get to look at beautiful designs all day coming off the printer! Our customers are so talented and inspire me on a daily basis.
I get a lot of business inspiration from talking with people and hearing their stories and experiences. Successful business people always have time to share their story and I really enjoy talking with them, especially those that have been at it for a long time and can provide valuable insights and lessons learned.
What do you think makes a good design?
Whatever you are designing understand how it is manufactured. Know the strengths and weakness of a product/technology/process and design accordingly. I definitely think that research is the most paramount step in successful design, I often see with creative people they start at the end with a concept and then have to work backwards to fill in all the gaps, it is much easier to be informed. Even if it is a print design you may be painting, work with the correct paints, on the right paper stock and use good quality scanners for the best result.
What design trend do you love right now?
I’m really excited to see what next year will bring in the design trends. I think there is definite change coming; we have had a lot of bold geometrics, and tropical plant elements so I think there is room for some really fun new ideas. I’m starting to see a lot of cultural influence coming through in design, which makes for a really eclectic mix of colour and texture, which I would like to see more of.
What is your dream future for Next State and the Australian fashion industry?
Gosh I feel like we just managed to develop so much in 2016. We are about to launch a web to print platform and collaborate more with designers. We are also about to launch a range of polyesters which is really exciting.
I hope into the future Next State can continue to grow and fulfil the needs of the industry we are guided by what our customers want and feel there is a lot of potential for us to offer more in the printing sector, and collaborate with other organisations. The future of mass customisation is a really exciting area for growth in manufacturing and it is underpinned by such wonderful sustainability principles, we feel privileged to be in this space.
I would love to see more “on-shoring” in the fashion and textile sector. I would love to see other companies invest in technology and expand the capabilities of what is available in Australia. It would be amazing if the industry could grow instead of contract, there is so many hungry designers that want to produce in Australia and I think with the right technology, guidance and support we could become a very innovative design hub.
You’re due with your own little bubba in March, will you be sewing your own threads for him or her (in all of your spare time!) or what trend are you most looking forward to trying out on him/her?!
Yes, my first baby is due in March, it is very exciting. We are lucky enough to print for lots of fantastic children’s wear and baby businesses so I can’t wait to dress them in all the amazing creations our clients produce.
Finally, your other baby is the new website! Tell us how it will work?!
We wanted to make it easier for customers to print with us, so we have developed a new upload tool and fabric creator. Customers will be able to go onto our website, upload their files and select all their print requirements and submit them to us. For those that love digital printing and support custom design, yet lack the design skills they can connect with designers and buy their prints to print on our fabrics. Even though digital design is something which is becoming easier to do and more accessible, it is not something we are all skilled in. So to be able to select a print off an Australian designer and print it onto a textile of your choice makes for great collaboration. Our focus is on quality design and supporting good designers to create a cohesive collection of prints.
How did Next State get its name?
We wanted something that was positive sounding and related to development. We work with the latest in print technology and wanted to bring that element into the naming while not sounding to tech heavy. It is really important for us to be an open company and have a name that is approachable for customers from all levels of industry. We are part of a process in bringing a design to life. A designer will have an idea then next an artwork, then next a print, then next a product. We had great advice when naming the business to reflect on the name for at least two months to make sure it still sat well and encompassed what we want to be as an organisation.