I discovered the maximalist floral designs of Ashley McDow at last year’s Tent London. Having trained in surface pattern at the University of Leeds, she gained experience in the industry before setting up on her own brand in 2013. Occipinti was Ashley’s Sicilian grandmother’s maiden name and means Painted Eyes.
Why did you decide to launch Occipinti, and what is your design background?
I started Occipinti in 2013 after gaining experience working for menswear brand Duchamp London and then an international textile mill in Mumbai, India, where I designed and supplied fabrics to brands including Harlequin, Christian Fischbacher and Robert Allan. I launched Occipinti because I wanted to provide my clients with luxury printed fabrics with a unique style. There is a demand from people who want distinctive homes and surroundings and Occipinti serves that by offering a traditional subject matter and style with a modern twist.
You are inspired by the traditional English countryside – how do you find the right imagery to create your designs and what kind of medium do you use to create the final prints?
Finding the right imagery to use in my designs takes a lot of trial and error. I like to sit outside and paint as many plants as possible. Places such as Kew Gardens are perfect. I tend to work with water colours and gouache because you can water down the colours and layer them up to create a fluid image with lots of texture. I then take them back to my studio in Walthamstow and play around with the layout, combining different elements from some or all of the paintings. The imagery that works the best, are plants with a natural flow to them, like wisteria or ivy. Wisteria is one of my most popular designs.
What is your favourite type of plant or flower to work with and why?
I love working with clusters of colourful flowers. Colour is very important to me as I believe it generates cheerfulness. Yellow is my favourite colour hence why my Golden Bunting Bird design is my favourite and dominates the large wall in my livingroom! I also love plants with lots of varying shades as I can create lots of texture within my paintings. Technical advances within the textile industry, has lead to a lot of designs being produced straight onto the computer, which results in designs looking very flat. I wanted to avoid this flat appearance by created all of my designs with good old fashioned paint.
You have recently launched a new ceramics collection, what kind of designs feature on this?
I took one of my original statement patterns from ‘The British Empire Collection’, The Golden Bunting Bird and reinterpreted it. I wanted to create a tasteful and stylish range of ceramics, which would bring design to the table without overpowering it. I am now hoping to add more designs to the range to create a mix and match set that will allow people to create their own unique dining set.
Where can readers buy Occipinti products?
All my products are available online at www.occipinti.com as well as a select few interior shops across the country. My wisteria design is also available across the full sofa.com furniture range. You will find a list of stockists on my website.
What next for your brand?
I intend to show Occipinti at more international trade shows to gain further brand awareness. I want to help take the Best of British to the whole world. Design is one of the things we do best. I am also in the sampling stage for some new home ware products such as oven gloves, aprons and tea cosy’s. So watch out for those later this year.
- Tent London 2014: Textiles and Surface Design
- Tent London 2011 Review: Best Furniture Design
- Dan Stanley and Fluffy Thoughts
- Tent London 2013 Review: Best Wall Art, Furniture and Lighting
- By Stamo: a taster interview with ethical fashion designer Elisabeth Stamo