Kate has worked with pattern and textiles for over 20 years.
Using this knowledge she has created textiles collections for clients as diverse as Anthropologie to the V&A Museum.
Kate’s designs are balanced deftly between her strong sense of the contemporary and her love of real craft.
A graduate of Saint Martin’s College of Art and the Royal College of Art, she is sought worldwide as a consultant.
Kate champions innovations in fabrication and has spoken on textiles history at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has been an SVP Design at leading manufacturer CHF Industries in New York, and Creative Director of design consultancy ny-lon USA Inc.
Kate draws inspiration from all sorts of places and follows no rule, but she tries to bring a sense of joy and adventure to everything she does.
Kate and her family live in Wiltshire in the UK, but spend time in their old neighbourhood in Brooklyn whenever they can.
“We try to make prints that capture the rich feeling of loving what’s past and what’s present at once.”
Here’s a look at a couple of Kate’s sketchbooks. Connecting the dots between social and personal histories, the love of the old and the desire to make everything new, throwing opposites together to see what happens. On some days, to just paint straight from the imagination. Others, to get out into nature and grab what’s there. We try to make prints that capture the rich feeling of loving what’s past and what’s present at once.
“Collaboration is really important to us.”
The journey from Kate’s initial ideas to the finished products involves many people. Illustrators and designers with whom Kate has worked for years in New York and London. Technicians and printers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Milan, and Lancashire. Weavers and artisans in Mumbai, Delhi & Jaipur. And of course linen-makers in Belgium, who provide most of the fine flax and finished cloth we use.
“Textiles have been a global industry for centuries, with producers and consumers interwoven in complex ways.”
We recognise the industry has a responsibility to play its part in helping protect the Earth against further climate change, and we’re trying to do our bit.
Our take on sustainability
Sustainability goes well beyond a single word. It’s about building and making things that last. It’s about understanding the choices that are necessary to make something special. These days, there is far too much focus on ‘throw-away’; so, for us, we’re focused on creating beautiful textiles that are inherently sustainable. We’re not interested in responding to crazes and trends. We’re passionate about character over trend: it’s about longevity, legacy and creating things that can be passed from generation to generation.
It’s well known that 100% Belgian linen has a reputation for unmatched elegance that has withstood the test of time. Which is why we’ve worked for years with a wonderful company there to source our ground. Working with their team, we have full transparency on their whole supply-chain from field to flax fibre, from yarn to linen fabric.
When you’re sure of your supply chain – as we are – then yes, it is! Flax (the crop from which linen is made from) is an extremely sustainable fibre. It requires no irrigation: the flax plant loves the Belgian climate (wet and moderate). This part of the world offers the perfect conditions for flax cultivation so the plant doesn’t need extra irrigation. Plus, there is no waste: all parts of the flax plant can be used as a resource for other products.
No, it’s not. But, to be honest, it’s grown in such a natural way – it needs hardly any biological interventions – that organic status isn’t something that we’re concerned about. However, our Belgian supplier is CELC certified (The European Confederation of Flax and Hemp) – this is the only European agro-industrial organisation federating all the stages of production and transformation of flax and hemp. If you’re not aware of CELC, its mission is to enhance the traceability certification of premium-quality flax fibre sustainably grown in Western Europe, for all its applications with each transformation stage audited by third party Bureau Veritas.
We work extremely closely with fantastic Indian suppliers who block print and weave our textile designs. It’s easy to have preconceived notions about what these artisan workshops might be like. But, the truth is very different. We spend time in India – working with our partners there to create a product that meets our very high specification. And, Kate, who has been travelling back and forth to India since she was in her 20s, takes great care to spend time with our partners there to see how they do what they do. She says she’s been able to see things with her own eyes – and, as such, she feels confident we have partners who meet our expectations on ethical and social and environmental best practice.
Yes, we do. We’re passionate about supporting British mills and artisan suppliers. We’re already working with some wonderful people. But, it’s something we’d love to do more of. Although we’re a Mid-Atlantic brand, we’re based in Wiltshire in the West of England – an area that has a long connection with weaving and textiles. Our longer-term dream is to bring more weaving back to this part of the UK – it would be just wonderful to make this happen.
Sustainability doesn’t have a finite end-point. It’s an on-going commitment to doing things better. Driving this, is a personal commitment by everyone in our business to work harder to minimise our impact on the world around us. As part of this, we’re at the earliest stages of our BCorps Certification journey. It will be a guiding light for the road ahead. We’re also conscious of our role as educators; we want to help designers understand the inherent longevity of our textiles. In specifying our fabrics, designers and customers are not simply choosing some truly beautiful; they are telling the world they understand that something that is unique; special; artisanal; and can stand the test of time is also a truly sustainable choice. We must all learn to re-think our attitudes – and choose things that bring beauty into our lives that will be with us for the long-term.