New Designers presents the Top 100 new design businesses in the UK at One Year In, showcase (curated by Rheanna Lingham) of the most promising and intriguing designers, studios and entrepreneurs who have recently launched their own businesses.
At this year’s One Year In textile designers Rise & Woll caught our eye and we took the opportunity to speak with Rosie Moorman about Rise & Woll’s work.
1. Please could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Rise & Woll is a multi-award winning design studio, offering innovative woven solutions to the interior and textile industries. We are internationally renowned for our contemporary weaving practise and bold use of colour. Rise & Woll was founded by myself, textile designer Rosie Moorman, and product designer Will Evans. We both studied at Loughborough University, and quickly found that although our creative backgrounds are very different, our sensibilities and fundamental beliefs about design really aligned. We launched Rise & Woll earlier this year, with the aim to provide a fresh approach to surface and constructed textile design, combining our backgrounds in weaving, graphic and product design, experience in industry, and innate design knowledge to provide contemporary textile designs that honour the heritage of the weaving industry.
2. Please could you tell us more about your design process?
We always begin a new collection or collaboration with the end product in mind. Colour is everything in our work, from soft muted pastels to hits of intense neon and deep tonal gradients, we can’t get enough of it. We normally begin with research trips, travel, photography, and painting; from which we establish a pallet through hand-painted colour chips. The yarns we use in our seasonal collections are hand-dyed, enabling us to retain complete control over the colouration of the cloth. We’re fortunate to be able to travel a lot to visit various clients around the world, and we always find that inspiration from these trips tend to trickle down into our collections.
3. Do you produce your textiles using a specific process, why were you attracted to this method of production?
We produce two seasonal collections per year, hand-woven in house on our dobby looms, using hand-dyed yarns in our Yorkshire studio. I was trained really as a Wovens designer at Loughborough, and then worked as a designer in a woollen mill, and I just can’t shake off the love of weaving. I’m passionate about the element of the human touch in design, as every process that builds up to weaving has to be perfected in order for the cloth to be realised in it’s intended form. I think I really just love the repetition of it all. We tend to joke in the studio about the beauty of the mundane- particularly when it comes to setting up our looms- but really I think our passion for weaving comes from the understanding of the necessity of each process, and the satisfaction of building the cloth piece by piece in loom, and knowing you have been a part of every step to make that cloth a reality. We use predominantly merino wool and silk in our collections, simply for the love of natural fibres and to satisfy our ongoing obsession with hand-feel, and for the way in which they hold pigment so beautifully and intensely.
4. What services do you offer your clients?
The scope and diversity of what we are able to offer is really huge. Our in-house collections are available on a Sale by Design basis, and each piece sold is inclusive of transfer of design rights, and comes with a technical specification for production. We also operate on a consultancy basis, creating bespoke ranges for our clients, and short run production on our handlooms. Being based in West Yorkshire, we are in prime location for manufacture, and work with local commission weavers to offer a seamless transition to UK based production as required. Having sampling looms in the studio has been key to our success in that it enables clients of all sizes, from start-ups to multi-site corporations to work with us. Recently, our projects have ranged from silk scarf designs, to fabric developments and short run production in extremely rare Khangai Yak yarn, through to designs in organic cottons for bedlinen.
5. Why do you feel that it is important to offer a Sale by Design service?
Sale by Design is absolutely integral to our business model and design philosophy. Not only does producing our in-house ranges enable us to go (occasionally) a little wild, through caution to the wind and diversify from some of the more commercial projects we work on, but it enables us to retain our signature style and handwriting at the centre of our practise. We also offer bespoke collections, sampling to briefs from clients, which are kept totally confidential. More and more, we are finding that our work is being sought after by a real mix of companies and brands, who are all seeking an injection of something totally different and unique to what they have previously run in collections. A lot of what we sell doesn’t end up running through to full production in the guise in which we sold the piece, but evolves within the buyers hands, whether that’s to fit with technical specs or to add a flavour of that companies DNA. The great thing for us is that you can still see the origin of our work and handwriting in the outcome.
Some buyers come to us for pieces solely for inspiration on colour, some for stripe structure, some purely for the handfeel. Really, selling by Design opens our work and design ethos up to a whole new range of clients. A lot of companies now don’t have huge design teams, and definitely don’t have looms in-house for sampling. Woven’s are an area that is completely different to print or embroidered textiles, in that the technicality of each process, from spinning the yarn to warping, weaving and finishing, is all so specialised that it can’t be purely CAD based, but has to be physically realised before bulk production, and many mills now state minimums that are way larger than many companies need for sampling length. We’re able to fill that gap, working flexibly and offering packages according to the needs of our clients. We don’t work solely on CAD systems, so when we are commissioned to create a collection, the client received physical samples on completion. Rise & Woll is really founded on the tacit nature of weaving and we believe that you can’t select fabrics without feeling them first, without understanding the drape, and seeing the coloration for yourself. It’s all about the element of the human hand, and we’re proud to be filling this gap in the market.
6. Do your designs meet the current regulations for use within a contract setting?
Our in-house samples are handwoven and handfinished, and do not undergo any chemical processing unless requested. For clients that require contract standards and certification, we work with manufacturers to redevelop the design for contract settings, and application of special finishes such as FR or Zirpro, and can arrange for testing on clients behalf.
7. Where can our readers find your designs?
We offer viewings of our collection by appointment, either at our studios, over Skype for our overseas customers, or at clients offices. For previews of our current work, we showcase our work on our website www.riseandwoll.co.uk on Instagram or by email firstname.lastname@example.org