You are browsing the Obituary category

Obituary: Julius Schofield

Tribute to Julius Schofield MBE
With the passing earlier this month of Julius Schofield MBE, the textile design world has lost one of its greatest champions.

The narrow, uneven staircase up to the offices of Indesign, the recruitment agency he started with his partner Joanna Neicho in 1968, were the first unlikely steps for many young designers into a career in the international world of fashion and textiles, a world that Julius knew so well.

He had a passion for textiles in particular, and saw it as the Cinderella of the fashion industry working unacknowledged behind the scenes to create glorious materials; he understood that without fabrics there is no fashion.  He was indefatigable in reaching out to UK textile design colleges, appreciating their importance in nurturing and teaching the next generation of talent so vital for innovation in the industry.

It was therefore a natural fit when, in 2004, Julius became Chairman of Texprint, later TexSelect, the charity that selected, mentored and promoted the best textile design talent graduating from UK institutions each year.  This is where his knowledge of the global industry and network of connections was invaluable in securing world-class designer names as sponsors and, often, involving the designers themselves in Texprint events.  He linked UK colleges to the Italian silk industry with the Como Scarf Competition which ran for 3 years, and established major Italian silk mills as long-term supporters of Texprint.

While at Texprint he set up the Chairman’s Prize which he personally sponsored, with judges such as Christopher Bailey and Sir Stuart Rose. He brought a professionalism to the Texprint London exhibition, which became a vital practice ground for the main event at Premiere Vision in Paris each September, where he secured eminent luminaries including Sir Paul Smith, Dame Zandra Rhodes, Diane von Furstenberg and Alber Elbaz as prize presenters.

Always immaculately dressed, no matter the temperature, Julius cut an instantly recognisable figure at British fashion and textile industry events over many, many years.  Dedicated to his work and so knowledgeable and respected throughout the industry internationally, his passion to nurture and promote young textile design talent was very special.  Julius was instrumental in connecting Texprint with world-class designer names, and his personal generosity made the Private Views one of the highlights of the year.

His wealth of knowledge, built up over decades, of an ever-evolving and complex industry, and the individuals involved in it, can never be replaced.  He retired as Chairman of Texprint in 2011, but continued to take an active interest for many years afterwards – TexSelect closed in 2019.