TR: How did you get your start in pattern design?
RD: I have always loved fabric and patterns. I have an early memory of lying on my parent’s bed, staring at a hand embroidered tapestry that hung above their bed. I was noticing how the repeat of the stitched motifs was not perfect. My first unofficial surface design project (when I was in 3rd grade) was splatter painting curtains that my grandmother sewed out of an old sheet. The result was very multicolored and 80s!
I learned to sew at a young age. I started doing sewing projects with my grandmother in elementary school. We would go to the fabric store, pick out a sewing pattern and material. I was never satisfied with the fabric options in the store. I would dream up my own pattern ideas. I started sewing, dyeing and batiking my clothes in high school. Finally in college, I learned to silkscreen. My grandmother is a weaver. She taught me to sew, bead weave, basket weave, crochet, knit and weave on a hand loom.
One of my earliest memories (when I was 2) is of a very 1970s blue speckled carpet in my Dad’s office. This interest in fabrics and textiles has always been with me.
TR: Pollack is typically known for neutral colors. What inspired you to create this new collection, “We Love Color”?
RD: We are experts at creating beautiful nuanced neutrals. But, we have always loved color. This collection is a visual statement about our love of color and a reminder that we do indeed LOVE it.
TR: People often shy away from large amounts of pattern and color. What in this new collection would you pick out for those just introducing pattern and color into their lives and homes for the first time?
RD: My advice is to use color and pattern as accents. A hot pink pillow on a neutral sofa can really bring energy into a space. For example, our fabric Dottie in color 05 crush. If you are not ready to go for so much color, we have a beautiful, thirsty new velvet called Carriage Car. Colors, annato, dusk, Bordeaux and deep sea are colorful, but they are nuanced and not too bright. They are AS sophisticated as our neutrals.
TR: Can you tell Life in Sketch readers a bit about how you design/the process? Do you come up with patterns first or pick out the colors first?
RD: We think about color from the beginning of our design development, but it is often the last step in the design process. Once we have the pattern and the quality of the fabric complete, we develop the colorwork. For the most part, the fabrics tell us how they want to be colored. For example, if it is an expensive wool and linen, it looks the most sophisticated in natural colors. If it was in hot pink, I believe it would lessen the perceived value.
Most people think that pattern is the first step in the design development; sometimes that is the case, but just as often, the materials and the weave construction come before the pattern development
TR: Much of this collection was produced/finished in India. You had mentioned that while some of this collection was pre-planned, some patterns and colors were added on the spot during your visit to India. How did your trip to India influence this collection? What colors and patterns were added last minute?
RD: Actually, in this collection, only Etched Floral was made in India. I just returned from a trip to Bangalore, Delhi and Jaipur. I believe you may see a heavy Indian influence in upcoming collections. It was inspirational to visit the weavers and embroiderers there. The capabilities of these mills are mind boggling. They can spin yarn, dye yarn, weave ground cloth and embroider, all under the same roof. That is very rare in the US and Europe.
TR: While building the collection you experiment with several colors in each pattern line, before narrowing it down to what you think client’s will like. How do you narrow those colors down?
RD: We approach color in a slightly unconscious way. We don’t create set color boards before we design a collection. There are three designers in the Pollack Studio and we are constantly talking about color, looking at color inspiration and experimenting with color in our fabric development. There might be an unexplainable shift or attraction to certain colors. When we put the collection together, there are usually coordinating and like minded color families that appear. Narrowing down the colorlines can be painful, but in the end we go with our gut and make sure that we take a few risks to forge new ground.
TR: What color and pattern trends do you see being very prominent in the next few years?
RD: We don’t follow color trends, but I can tell you the types of colors that I have been attracted to lately. I have been loving purply blues that can sometimes shift into a mysterious purply grey. Neutrals with bright color accents feel fresh, like my example of the neutral sofa with hot pink pillows. I have also been leaning towards teal .This teal must have enough green and black in it so that it veers away from the teal of the 1980’s. Clean yellows (not too buttery, not too green) and clean whites.
TR: What’s your personal favorite color of the moment?
RD: I have to say that I will forever be a fan of pinky orangey coral colors. I am so happy to see this color in fashion. In fact, all three of us in the studio are wearing shirts this color today! Ha, that color shift is clearly in the air in the Pollack studio at the moment.
The new collection looks fantastic. Thanks Rachel for sharing your thoughts! For more on WE LOVE COLOR pop over to Pollack. If you’re in the NYC area, Pollack is holding a warehouse sale next week. Here are the details: