Kendall Wilkinson sits down to give us a closer look into the design process in creating her textile and trim collection for Fabricut.
Raymond Paul Schneider: When did you first start to develop this new collection?
Kendall Wilkinson: In Spring 2018, Fabricut came to me to expand my collection indoors. Initially we were discussing developing another textile collection, but very quickly we realized the opportunity to create a compelling and beautiful trim collection to coordinate.
Raymond: What was the overall time-line from conception to achieving the final design?
Kendall: Back in 2015, Fabricut approached to design a collection of performance/ outdoor fabrics. I had such a fantastic experience creating the line that I knew I wanted to do another one. This time around, my goal was to create a diverse indoor fabric line where someone could theoretically design their entire home from it. As the design and development process took off, we also decided to create a trim collection. I was very excited as it was an entirely new category to stretch my creative juices. From the start, I knew I wanted this collection to be elegant, colorful, and textural. I also wanted it to be useful for designers nationwide. The entire process comprised about 18 months of development, especially adding in the vast trim collection. In the end, we have about 180 SKU’s, which is pretty extensive.
Raymond: What was your initial inspiration, and where did the idea come from?
Kendall: The inspiration was a proverbial combination platter! My trips to Paris and Mexico significantly inspired me. Many of the geometrical patterns stem from Paris, particularly how the light reflects and refracts on the architecture. Mexico inspired bright colors and more botanical elements. I also used some elements from the first collection and reimagined them in scale and colors for this line. I chose colors that I love and gravitate towards in my daily life and in my design projects. I wear these colors in fashion and are naturally drawn to them, so creating a line that had my favorite colors featured was easy. As the collection grew, we decided to curate the expansive range into three color families – Cityscape (white, ivory, grey, linen, and charcoal), Coastline (aqua, teal, blue, and navy), and Jardinière (emerald, pine, amethyst, and lavender). In many ways, the colors wove the narrative more so than the actual pattern inspiration.
Raymond: Please describe your overall creative and design process.
Kendall: I worked with the Fabricut team sending original documents, inspirational images from my travels, projects, and Pinterest to create these patterns. The flow of ideas and the collaboration was natural as Fabricut is like family to me, and Milly, Fabricut’s Design Director, is a dream collaborator and partner. Having sourced thousands of fabrics and trim over the last 28 years that I have had my firm, I knew how I wanted my collection to look and feel. Color, texture, and hand always drove my choices when shopping for a client, which influenced the designs that made it into the final assortment.
Raymond: Did you have a specific audience or theme that you had in mind?
Kendall: I envisioned a line that had enough range in style that any designer could find use with multiple fabrics and trims for one project. Many fabrics and trimmings are tailored to work with each other, making it easier for designers to use this collection seamlessly. I also wanted to create a line of accessible luxury that was compatible with all aesthetics and budgets.
Raymond: Please describe the methods, tools, and materials that you used to develop and prototype this design?
Kendall: As an interior designer, I am visually driven with endless inspiration that I keep on file even if I don’t yet know how or when I will use everything. My mind works in imagery. The exchange of ideas was very organic, using old fashioned photos, and even material samples, mainly from fashion, creating mood boards, one for each pattern. We narrowed down to the final assortment by assessing cost vs. our assumption of client interest and sales. In many ways, the collection is very strategic to ensure that the materials would all meet a very accessible price point while still exemplifying the high-end luxury my interior design is known for.
Raymond: Please describe any challenges that affected the design and perhaps steered you to an entirely new final design?
Kendall: As the collection comprises woven, velvets, embroidery, and printed fabrics, there are so many technical aspects that ultimately drove some of the designs, mainly with their overall scale and repeats. This is a truly global collection with production occurring in the best mills worldwide.
Raymond: Describe your overall brand DNA and Ethos
Kendall: I believe that all good things go together, that quality and luxury are keys to successful design. But most importantly, I believe in the power of teamwork, gratitude, kindness, and being thoughtful with everything you put out into the universe.
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