August 21, 2017
Spotlight on British brands: Arra Textiles
Our love for the unique creativity of independent crafters and makers is well-known. In the first chapter of our Spotlight on series, we delved into the world of handmade childrenswear with the fantastic KJF-From Scratch.
This month the spotlight is on Arra Textiles – a homeware and accessories brand based in rural Scotland. Working to a ‘slow fashion’ ethos, designer Lucy MacDonald produces bespoke handwoven textiles and intricate patterns, inspired by the environment around her.
We chatted with Lucy about her inspiration, creative process and the best bit about keeping it local.
Hi Lucy! Where did the initial inspiration behind Arra Textiles come from?
I studied textile design at university in Finland and Scotland and decided to set up on my own once I graduated. The business is named after my great grandmother, Arabella. She was a spinner and weaver in Orkney where a lot of my design inspiration comes from.
Seascapes and landscapes are a huge part of your aesthetic. Tell us about the influence of nature in your designs.
The sea plays an important role in my design process, specifically when it comes to colour choices. I tend to use a lot of blues and greens. I aim to create designs that have an organic feel to them but when looked at closely, are more complex than they first appear – just like the natural world.
You personally design, sketch and hand-weave each of Arra’s pieces – what’s your favourite part of the process?
It has to be choosing the colours and yarns to use – it’s hard to pick only a few from the shade cards! It’s exciting to see a pattern emerge and change once on the loom.
All of Arra’s yarns are spun and sourced in Britain, and you work alongside another independent brand Kalopsia Collective. What are the best things about being a locally-focused brand?
I enjoy having control over each stage of production. Kalopsia Collective especially, are very good at working with me to create exactly what I’m looking for.
Many independent clothing businesses are now putting huge emphasis on sustainable, slow fashion. How do you keep your work environmentally friendly?
Sustainability is an important factor for me when designing. I like to plan a collection out to the last cm, making sure that there is minimum waste fabric at the end. Any yarn that is left is either resold or donated to a local school to use in their art projects.
Thanks for chatting with us Lucy, we can’t wait to see what’s next for Arra Textiles. For an extra dose of nature-inspired textiles, head to the Arra Textiles site (you might even be able to spot a sneaky glimpse of our labels in some of the snaps).