Profiles: Dupenny

Homegirl London pays homage to Dupenny.  This business is owned by Illustrator / Designer Emily Dupen who makes a host of interior products which are cute, retro, quirky and a little bit cheeky.  Her offering includes; wallpaper, fabric, soft furnishings, homewares, art prints and gifts.

Emily founded her company in 2009 and is based in Brighton, UK.  Her designs are often in black and white which feature burlesque beauties, fifties housewives and muscle men in poses.  Designs are initially hand-drawn by Emily and then finalised on the computer.  Wallpapers are digitally printed but she can also hand screen-print for clients, whilst the homewares and ceramics are all hand screen printed.  Everything is the best quality, sustainably sourced where possible and made in the UK.  I caught up with the Burlesque loving Emily to find out more …

Q: Tell me about your design background.

A: I completed an Illustration degree at Brighton University and did several work placements.  At the time I found wallpaper a bit dull so I really wanted to do something more interesting with it.

 Dupenny Wallpaper

Dupenny Wallpaper – 50’s Housewives, Burlesque and Time for Tea

Q: Why set up your business?

A: I wanted to work for myself so I would have the freedom to design what came naturally to me and not have to adhere to someone else’s style or make my products more commercial.

Dupenny, 50’s Housewives Silk Cushions

Dupenny 50’s Housewives Silk Cushions

Q: Why call the company Dupenny?

A: My surname is Dupen.  My dad used to nickname my mum Dupenny and me Miss Dupenny, so really it was him that picked the name!

Q: Where are you based and why?

A: I’m based in Brighton as I fell in love with this amazing city whilst at University and couldn’t imagine not living by the sea now!  It’s great as it’s so close to London but feels nowhere near as suffocating.

Q: How many people work at your company?

A: I have a freelance manager, a part-time art worker and a new social media apprentice.  Hopefully, this will grow as the company develops.

Q: Describe your design style.

A: Cheeky, retro, quirky and fun!


Dupenny Time for Tea Tea Towels

Q: Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

A: I can find inspiration in most things but I especially love old classic movies, music, the city I live in, places I visit, old posters, vintage magazines, typography, classic cars and flea markets amongst other things.

Dupenny Time For Tea

Dupenny Time for Tea

Q: Tell me about your collections.

A: My new wallpaper design is ‘Strongman’ which features some tongue in cheek muscle men posing.  It’s proving very popular but people also seem very loyal to my Burlesque and 50s Housewives designs which show off some of my original pin up illustrations.  I’m also just in the process of launching my new ‘Potions’ wallpaper.

Dupenny, Wallpaper

Dupenny Wallpaper – Strongman and Potions

Q: What’s your fascination with Retro Pin-Ups?

A: My fascination with retro pin-ups started after university when I was involved in the burlesque and cabaret scene for a while.  My whole style changed from scruffy student to classic glamour.  It influenced every part of my lifestyle, giving me fresh ideas for my designs.

Dupenny, Burlesque Dinner Plates

Dupenny Burlesque Dinner Plates

Dupenny Burlesque Mugs

Dupenny Burlesque Mugs

Q: Tell me about your bespoke service.

A: We offer a varied bespoke service.  We can create new wallpaper or fabric designs or just illustrate individual characters.  I designed some Christmas cards for a classic car company last year and have printed fabric for fashion and interior projects.  I really enjoy working on these individual briefs and would love to do more of them.  I’m open to any suggestions from my customers and love seeing their reactions when the designs are complete.

Dupenny, Greeting Cards

Dupenny Greeting Cards

Q: Which creative person/company do you admire and why?

A: I really admire Frantic About Frances.  They’re based in Brighton and make the cutest retro lingerie.  I’d be impressed if my fella bought me a set for Christmas, but I don’t suppose he will!

Q: What’s the best thing about owning your own business?

A: The flexibility of managing my own time and not having to compromise on my designs!

Q: What one piece of advice would you pass on to someone wanting to set up their own business?

A: Learn how to effectively market your products, if people don’t see them, they can’t buy them.

Q: What new and exciting things have you got planned?

A: I should have a top-secret collaboration coming soon.  I can’t reveal any more just yet!

The prices range from £2.40 for a greeting card to £198 for a 10-metre roll of wallpaper.  The silk Burlesque lampshade is £249.  You can buy from the Dupenny website www.dupenny.com.  Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of Dupenny, special thanks to Emily Dupen.