meet the makers | Dec 14, 2023 |
This English designer uses old-world techniques to craft modern textiles

Kate Loudoun Shand wants to bring more beauty into the world. The Wiltshire, England–based designer is on a mission to create eye-catching, sustainable fabrics and wallpapers with character and a good environmental footprint. “I want to make uniquely patterned textiles that are built to last,” she tells Business of Home.

This English designer uses old-world techniques to craft modern textiles
Maynard wallpaper in English Blue and various fabrics by Kate Loudoun ShandKristin Perers

Growing up in Suffolk, Shand always had an affinity for fabrics. She studied fashion at Central Saint Martins college in London, where she experimented with patternmaking and screen printing, eventually earning a master’s degree in textiles at the Royal College of Art. “I then came to New York and spent quite a few years working for the greats in fashion, including Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs,” she says.

In 2017, she launched her namesake studio in Brooklyn with a line of painterly fabric patterns inspired by everything from Victorian garments to Duran Duran album covers. Three of those inaugural designs—Pow!, The Edwardian and Cheetah—remain bestsellers today. “There were about 20 fabrics in my first collection, and it was really about bringing patterns that you couldn't find anywhere else to the market,” she says.

Four years ago, just before the pandemic, Shand decided to move the brand to Bath, England, to be closer to family. “Our studio is in a gorgeous converted glove factory,” she says. “The city is fast becoming a mecca for interior design, and since I’m a Georgian aesthete at heart—it feels perfect.”

This English designer uses old-world techniques to craft modern textiles
Kate Loudoun Shand Sean Myers

All of Shand’s designs begin as paintings based on an archival pattern she has researched in history books. Once she has decided on a motif—which can range from zigzagging bands to abstract botanicals—it’s translated into a repeat that’s either digitally printed as wallpaper or hand-block-printed or screen-printed onto fabric. “A few of our fabrics are digitally printed or hand-embroidered in India to order—which is particularly special as the craftsmanship is really stunning,” she says.

This English designer uses old-world techniques to craft modern textiles
A selection of wallpaper patterns by Kate Loudoun ShandSean Myers

Materiality plays a key role in Shand’s work. The bulk of her fabrics are cast on pure Belgian linen composed of flax certified by the Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp (fka CELC), while most of the brand’s wallpapers are printed on clay-coated paper in the United States at eco-conscious printing studio Twenty2. “I love the idea of my patterns lasting; with three rambunctious kids, I wanted them to be unpretentious and work for families,” she says. “We worked with our weavers in India to find a really unique, strong weave for our fabrics, and our weights are generally better than most.”

Along with her ready-to-shop line, which also includes a selection of performance upholsteries, Shand creates bespoke textiles for residential and commercial spaces. “Our custom business continues to grow, so I will be making more of a song and dance about this in upcoming months,” she says.

Currently hard at work on a new embroidered design for spring, Shand also has plans to introduce two fresh colorways for her popular Evelyn Stripe fabric. “At the heart of our business is a love of textiles, their history, quality, narrative and joy,” she says. “Our goal is to continue to make beautiful cloth and wallpaper for the curious and imaginative.”

If you want to learn more about Kate Loudoun Shand, visit her website or Instagram.

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