Ciara Phelan, designer.
“When I founded Kith and Kin, I wanted to create a brand that not only creates fun, quality pieces, but that also gives back to the community. There’s a lot of pressure on companies these days to produce cheaper designs, but we’ll always remain true to our ethics. We’re currently working with a charity called Handmade Alliance, which trains ex-prisoners with specific skills that help them reintegrate back into society.”
“We’re best-known for our bold, exotic imagery – a lot of it is actually inspired by an archive of Victorian watercolour paintings. I love the idea that someone actually sat and created them by hand once upon a time. The lines aren’t perfect as they might be if they were digitally created, but that adds to the beauty.”
“For the Grand Morpho pattern, I started with the bright blue butterflies then built in other colours and shapes that I felt complemented them. The orange circles are a contemporary touch; it’s great to have juxtaposition between the old and found and the new and bold. That’s why the Marley was an obvious choice. Its minimal, mid-century style frame allows the busy pattern to speak for itself.”
“My second collection is launching in September, and it’ll have a much more autumnal feel. I’m going to work in coppers, blacks, whites and greys . We’re also holding a pop-up shop in Hackney this November, where you’ll be able to see some of the artisans who Kith and Kin work with hand-crafting the designs. Who knows, maybe in a few years we’ll have our own shop. Either way, it will always have that “local” feel.”
Having studied Graphic Design at university, Ciara worked for seven years as a freelance illustrator and was commissioned by publications including Vanity Fair and Nylon magazine. Her passion for textiles and pattern-making saw the birth of Kith and Kin in May 2014.