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Be inspired every day with Living North
Max Telford Portfolio
June 2021
Reading time 5 minutes
We get to know Max Telford the Northumbria university graduate who just won the Dame Zandra Rhodes Fashion Textiles Award at this years GFW.
Max Telford

Tell me a bit about yourself.

Having grown up surrounded by nature all my life in the Peak District, I’ve always viewed the world through a creative lens. I’ve always had a fascination for nature in my work, whether that be derelict structures or the natural world. Before coming to university, I moved to the city and I guess the nostalgia of my past has always found its root in my designs. Those memories make their home in my prints and silhouettes, and creating pieces that embody that belief is essential to construct as part of my personal ethos.

When did you find out you were a shortlisted for a Graduate Fashion Foundation Award?

We found out the shortlisting at the beginning of June and I got a message from my friend saying I’d been shortlisted. At first, I didn’t believe it, especially because it was a textiles award, and I didn’t think much of the submission at the time. For a good few days after it hadn’t sunk in, even when we received the email saying we’d need to go to London to present. In the days leading up to that moment though, it became a very stark reality that this was actually happening, and I had a chance to really show off my work. It was scary but exciting.

To be a finalist and then win the Dame Zandra Rhodes Fashion Textiles Award is an amazing achievement – how did it feel?

To find out I was a finalist felt so surreal, almost unbelievable. My project was so heavily research based with print integrated into that so to have become a finalist was so unexpected but exciting. The idea that the fashion industry is slowly becoming more open to natural methods of dyeing and printing really gave me a sense of 

hope for the future. Especially presenting to Zandra Rhodes, a leading figure head in the printed textiles world, it felt like such an honour. When I ultimately found out I’d won the award I cried because though my project was research based, it carried the memories of my family within it.

You also won the W1 Curates competition and featured in the Slow Catwalk. Tell me more about that.

Those features were actually so unexpected, and I didn’t realise I’d featured in W1 Curates until I saw my work show up on my Instagram. As you can imagine it was a huge shock. There was so much going on during that time that everything was really overwhelming and processing everything at once the only thing I could say to myself was ‘How?’ I honestly didn’t envision my work being as successful as it was, but someone must have seen something in it and that was really humbling. 

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