Homegirl London pays homage to Chloë Owens. She’s inspired by the psychedelic and free loving 1960s. Everything is certainly groovy in Chloë’s world and her work captures the essence of the era, especially her flower power fabrics which she appliqués. She’s always searching for vintage material which she combines with contemporary prints to create something totally new and vibrant.
Her quirky collection includes; art pieces for the wall, cushions, teacups and saucers, tea towels, bags, lampshades, mobile phone covers and toys. Chloë’s wonderful work is certainly colourful, playful, spontaneous and organic. She’s also an authoress and her book, All Sewn Up, has lots of adorable things to make from fabric. She’s been creating her own collection since 2009 and more officially since 2012. I caught up with Chloë to find out more …
Q: Tell me about your design background.
A: I studied art and textiles at GCSE, but it wasn’t until A-level when I took a course called Art Textiles that I really enjoyed working with fabric. It gave much more room for creativity and it was there that I learnt to draw with a sewing machine and began experimenting with applique.
Q: Why set up your business?
A: I was temping at different companies trying to figure out what I should ‘be’ and was working on my art work in my spare time. I already had a website and was getting commissions. It was beginning to get difficult to juggle my jobs with my textiles work. Then it hit me, this could actually be the ‘proper job’ I was looking for. So I gave up my temp jobs and focussed on it full time.
Chloë Owens Critters
Q: Where are you based and why?
A: At the moment I work in a spare room at mums flat in North London. It has worked well for me as its close by to where I live, but I’m rapidly out growing it and will be in the search for a suitable studio soon!
Chloë Owens Cushion
Q: How many people work at your company?
A: It’s just been me but my partner has recently come on board. He helps with the digital side of it and other bits and pieces, when he’s not working as a film editor.
Chloë Owens Cups and Saucers
Q: Describe your design style.
A: Colourful and playful, spontaneous and organic. I love making things that make me happy and bring a burst of colour to our grey world. My favourite thing to do is whimsical, dreamlike and psychedelic pictures of women with flowing hair, birds and animals.
Chloë Owens Blonde Canvas
Q: Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?
A: The 1960s; 60’s fabrics, patterns, clothes, colour, music, everything. I also love Scandinavian pattern and folk art.
Q: What’s your fascination with the 1960s?
A: The 60’s inspires all areas of my life, ever since I was little I preferred 60s cartoons and films. I was never in to the same music as my friends; I liked The Who and The Beatles instead. I just think it was an amazing time for fashion, art, music and design. People were less inhibited by society and men could wear psychedelic flowery shirts and the roads were full of multi-coloured cars. I think the world’s colour palette is so dull now compared to that time.
Q: Tell me about your collections.
A: My new Springtime collection alternates designs based on my signature appliqué style, mixing and matching fabrics to create birds, flowers and butterflies, with a new range of 60s inspired patterns. They both share a distinctively English sense of humour and warmth, with cheeky yet affectionate messages and my love of nature, colour and pattern runs through the collection.
Chloë Owens Cushions
Chloë Owens Toys
Chloë Owens Tea Towels
Q: Tell me about your bespoke service.
A: I make a lot of personal projects on a commission basis. My wall art pieces and name cushions are the most popular. People like to get input in to the design process and the cushions are great for christening and wedding presents.
Q: Which designer do you admire and why?
A: Rene Gruau. I love his free flowing brush strokes and beautiful use of colour. I’ve done some recreations of his work using fabric.
Q: What’s the best thing about owning your own business?
A: I get to decide what I do, how I do it and what direction I want to go in. It’s very liberating and gives me a great sense of freedom. Not only that but I also get to listen to 60s music loudly and work in my PJs if I want to, without getting fired!
Q: What one piece of advice would you pass on to someone wanting to set up their own business?
A: Research your market, make sure you have a unique selling point, get acquainted with social media sites and get yourself out there. Never feel that it’s too late. You need passion, determination and a whole lot of self-motivation, because the only person that’s going to get you there is you!
Q: What’s coming up for the rest of 2013?
A: I’m still working on my new book which will be out in January 2014; it’s a craft book with a twist! I’m also in the process of extending my ceramics range which I’m really excited about,
You can read more about Chloë and buy her wonderful products at www.chloeowens.com. Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of Chloë Owens, special thanks to Chloë.