Creating Cosiness: A Journey Through Creativity
by Brijesh Patel
If there is something that all humans have in common is a yearning for home. The sense of peace and safety you get when you feel comfortable and in alignment with your surroundings. With this feeling in mind, I launched with my partner (Franck Jehanne) a brand of luxury accessories to create things that become part of life. My purpose is to make people feel warm, dry, and cosy, that is why my creations seek to be a source of comfort so that people feel a little more at home.
From the beginning of the journey, "cosiness" became a key and intriguing concept, in which I decided to dig deeper. Pattern design fits perfectly into that narrative. I find a sense of order and certainty in geometrical designs that function as a catalyst for creativity. In the search for cosy creations, I have learned how colour arrangements make people feel when explored in combination with fabrics and textures. It has become a very personal experience, to investigate through my textile designs the different concepts that I want to communicate, and how these are perceived.
The process of fabric making starts in our studio - I work with my instincts and in a team to create collections. I really appreciate the input my creative team has in every creation. We are a team of six, which means that everyone brings a bit of themselves to the creative process. We all come from different parts of the globe and have made our home in the British Isles. This diversity adds richness to the perception of colours, materials and even fundamental concepts of cosiness and home. It is really interesting to consider the cultural understanding we have of the different patterns. We are creating compositions that convey feelings of comfort and warmth, which are very different for someone who has been raised in a cold climate like the UK or the heat of Italian summers.
Once the design is finalised, it is taken to our mill of choice. I work with mills whose archives date back to the 1890’s and their production process is quite fascinating. Even though the process is more automatised than it was in previous decades, it is still very much manual labour that requires great technical skill. The millers manage the twisting of a wide range of woollen and worsted components themselves, providing an essential part of the production process. Next, warping and weaving turn the thread or yarn into fabric, recreating the pattern I had designed. Everybody employed in the mill is very local, and generations of millers have developed the practice. They employ the latest warping technology that enhances core traditional processes. All cloth is then inspected and skilled darners remove any faults by hand. Finally, they tailor the finishing routine depending on the desired touch and softness of the product.
A key element of my process is my work with mills across the British Isles. I have been inspired by a sense of home in the British Isles and want to honour it. Producing locally also brings me closer to the development since I am part of it until the product is finalised. The relationships I have with the mill owners are on a very personal level and I always ensure that I am in sync with them when it comes to being as ethical as possible in running a business.
The history behind the mills I work with is defined by tradition and local entrepreneurship. All the mills are surrounded by local forests, nature reserves and rivers, which have fostered a culture around nature and working with wool. All the mills are family owned and operated and they have been producing some of the finest weaves for decades. It is not an easy process and requires the skills of artisan craftsmen and women that undertake training for years.
I really value the relationships I have with the mill owners. On a very recent business trip to Scotland when a storm decided to settle over the region, it was a mill owner who very kindly drove me to a transport hub as all other trains had been cancelled. This may sound not significant however when you are in the middle of a brewing storm with no transport links, this act of kindness just makes our working relationship that much more important.
I immerse myself in each design. Every aesthetic choice is personal and meaningful. This is usually the case with small businesses. You see a little bit of the people behind a brand by looking at each product. It is more than a pattern, it is a person's vision of aesthetics and their own journey with creativity and innovation.
This intimacy is lost with fast fashion. Small businesses have so much to offer.
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