Fabric houses and furniture manufacturers produce beautiful products time and time again with the help of their in-house design teams, but when outside talent is commissioned, an interesting collaboration is guaranteed. New this spring is a joint effort between New York City–based textile company Pollack and London design studio A Rum Fellow. Despite being an ocean apart, the two teams joined forces to produce a bold indoor/outdoor collection in five patterns and 25 colorways.
GDG got the chance to speak with A Rum Fellow co-founder Dylan O’Shea about pulling inspiration from Mayan heritage and what it was like to collaborate with Pollack.
Go Design Go: What is it about Mayan heritage that draws you in most?
Dylan O’Shea: Our design style is vibrant color and bold pattern, and we’re really interested in heritage weaving techniques, so we were naturally drawn to Maya textile culture. We find it so inspiring to explore a country where indigenous traditions and dress are still such a current part of society. There is an incredible energy there, as you are surrounded by vibrant color and pattern.
GDG: For this collection, where did your inspiration come from specifically?
DO: The collection takes reference from the artisan textiles we design for our own collections, the intricate patterns of our brocade textiles that are simultaneously handwoven and embroidered. We specialize in handwoven textiles that are suitable for indoor use only, and so having the opportunity to translate our designs into durable outdoor fabrics was very exciting.
GDG: Describe the process that went into these ideas becoming completed textiles.
DO: It was important to [A Rum Fellow co-founder and creative director] Caroline Lindsell to translate her signature designs whilst also achieving textured fabrics in reference to the tactile qualities of A Rum Fellow’s artisan textiles. [Pollack design director] Rachel [Doriss]’s incredible knowledge of mills around the world allowed them to achieve this while still maintaining the technical properties.
Left to right: Dylan, Caroline and Rachel; Caroline in the A Rum Fellow studio
GDG: How did this collaboration with Pollack come about?
DO: In 2015, we met Rachel and [Pollack VP of sales] Brad [Bloom] at the Decorex trade show during London Design Festival. We were bowled over by their passion and enthusiasm, and we were thrilled when they asked if we’d like to collaborate. A few months later, they came to our studio in London to finalize the designs for the collection, and for the final stage, we met in New York City at Pollack’s headquarters to decide upon the colors.
GDG: What is your favorite pattern in the collection?
DO: It’s got to be Tacana (2427). It is the signature design of the collection and really imbues the vibrant energy of Maya weaving in a contemporary style.
GDG: How was working with Pollack? What was your favorite part?
DO: They really are the most wonderful people! Personally and professionally, it has been a real pleasure to collaborate with all of Pollack. Rachel and her design team, [Pollack co-founder] Susan Sullivan and Brad have all been so inspiring, positive and also fun to work with. Through the collaboration, we’ve also learned a huge amount about different contemporary weaving techniques.