Design isn’t just a job or a skill, it’s an expression. Natalie Lea Owen isn’t just making her mark on the design world, she has grabbed a megaphone and demanding that pattern be bought back into our everyday lives. I chatted to Natalie about the what, why and how of her self-named surface design brand.
Brilliantly bright and daringly bold, Natalie Lea Owen’s designs aren’t for the faint-hearted but are for those seeking an injection of colour and energy into their homes and lifestyle. Houndstooth and chevron are beautiful, classic patterns but we are in the age of cars that park themselves and mobile phones that pay your grocery bill; we need pattern that defines 21st century textiles, and I think Natalie is onto something.
Natalie’s designs dare to be noticed and it’s why I wanted to feature her on the blog in the first place, and I’m sure it was part of the reason why The Prince’s Trust wanted to invest in her designs and help her launch her business. After a four-day workshop, an 8,000-word business plan and attending various workshops, Natalie officially launched her business in October 2015.
“I debuted my product range at the Brixton Crafty Fox Market. The Prince’s Trust has been vital to the launch of my business … the support has been incredible and still on-going,” says Natalie.
Initially inspired by illustrative, Indian home textiles in a store in Camden Market at the age of 16, Natalie became obsessed with pattern and graduated from a 1st class degree in Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design from Leeds College of Art. Street scenes and her favourite destinations are what inspire Natalie’s designs. As she turns these memories into various stationery and homewares products, the inevitable goal is to create pattern that tells a story. Complementing the more detailed scenes are striking and strong geometric patterns that have just as much affect as their counterparts.
“My designs are quite energetic and I wanted to use bright, cheerful pop colours to compliment that. I also do a lot of trend research a year ahead,” says Natalie.
Now selling in a few boutique stores across the UK, via various online stockists such as Etsy and Notonthehighstreet.com, as well as on her own website, within a year, Natalie has accomplished so much! Currently working on a new collection that will be released in 2017, Natalie’s dreams don’t stop there. With goals set to collaborate with larger brands and see her designs on other product lines such as ceramics and sofas, Natalie is on a mission to introduce the beauty of bold back into people’s lives and the only way I can think of to end this story is; ‘Hear, hear Natalie!’.
See all Natalie’s designs on her website, www.natalieleaowen.co.uk. And just a heads up, she ships worldwide!