Placement No.1: Aleksandra Gaca

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

My industrial placement year started in Delft, The Netherlands, working with woven textile designer Aleksandra Gaca. Well known for her pioneering 3D woven textile design and technology, it was a dream come true to see behind the scenes and in the studio of such an inspiring Dutch designer.

Aleksandra’s studio is in a wonderful industrial building that used to manufacture window frames and there is such a creative buzz in and around all the studios there. Ranging from architects to ceramicists to the upcycled café/restaurant on the ground floor, it was an exciting place to come and work.

During my 4 months placement, I worked as assistant; overseeing the logistics of several commercial design briefs, as well as her latest collection that was shown at Dutch Design Week, November 2019. In addition to working in the studio, I also got to see the manufacture; attending a textile mill several times for sampling as well as some final lengths. This gave me insight into the different scales of working in the textile industry as well as learning that you often have to collaborate to achieve a collection or design piece, especially when running your own business.

While I was there, a particular commercial brief led me to practice a lot of my digital design skills, seeing, commercially, the importance of scale and accuracy in jacquard designing. In this aspect it was enlightening for me to see how Aleksandra would work in the most efficient way to save the waste of unnecessary time and material costs. This is something valuable that I now need to think of in my own practice now that I am starting to pay for my own resources and my time becomes more valuable.

Over my time there, several existing and potential clients visited the studio to see Aleksandra. This was a great opportunity for me to practice my professionalism in promoting her as a brand and in my addressing clientele from other countries in other languages. It was also an exercise in learning what is needed in discussion and establish the key points raised in a design meeting.

Aleksandra taught me so much about sophisticated and minimalist design but behind the beauty she works so incredibly hard and has made herself such an international success working primarily on her own and that is already incredibly inspirational for me. I learnt so many transferable skills that I will employ into how I approach the creation of my own final collection as well as a work ethic as I enter into the working world of design.

I wish her much success in the future as her brand grows and she continues to innovate.

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