Trends might come and go, but a fashion label’s aesthetic is here to stay. Season after season, designers never fail to find new and creative ways to reinvent the style that put them on the map in the first place: That prairie chic vibe, the killer pantsuits, or cheekily on-point accessories. But, once they’ve conquered the runway, many designers are inspired to bring their designs home (literally) with their own décor lines.
Developing a home décor line might be the next logical step for many designers, but there’s no straight-forward path to do so. Not only does a home decor line serve a different purpose than their ready-to-wear collections, but designers are also tasked with creating a permanent fixture in many people’s spaces — not just something that can be donned when the perfect moment strikes.
Here, four designers share their creative processes and how they’ve expanded into home décor without losing their stylish edge. Though their perspectives might vary, one thing is for sure: The final product they bring to the table (oftentimes, literally) is nothing short of spectacular.
Mercedes Salazar, Jewelry and Accessories Designer
Over the past few years, Mercedes Salazar has been working with a community of 150 artisans to create statement jewelry and cool, woven handbags. But, for the Bogotá-based designer, expanding into homewares wasn’t just a way to grow her business; it also gave her an opportunity to foster her relationship with her artisans.
“They use an ancient weaving technique that has been passed on through generations by their ancestors,” she explains. “We started with jewelry initially, [and] I ultimately understood that the same techniques I was using to design jewelry with them could be applied to bigger formats.”
“By mixing traditional jewelry crafts with their weaving techniques, we were able to give shape, texture, and color to the pieces and bring to life the designs,” she explains. “This is a labor of love and patience, as each piece takes around eight to 16 hours to complete.”
As an avid hostess, Salazar is motivated to create pieces she would use during one of her dinner parties. Once she has an idea — Salazar says she designs when she’s inspired and in good spirits — she’ll sketch some objects and make a prototype in her atelier, aptly named “La Casa de Mercedes.” From there, she will send the designs to her community of artisans and decide on a weave pattern.
Since Salazar uses raffia throughout her brand, her accessories line and homewares share a similar creative process and aesthetic.
“I like to think our customers are using our jewelry and at the same time [they are] sharing a dinner table setup with our homeware items,” she says.
But, Salazar knows that there’s a world beyond woven wares — and wants to experiment with ceramics and leather for her next homewares collection.
Rebecca Hessel Cohen, Founder and Creative Director of LoveShackFancy
LoveShackFancy has been the purveyor of ethereal, stylishly romantic fashion since its founding in 2013. But, when founder Rebecca Hessel Cohen isn’t designing her latest feminine frock — complete with ruffles and lace detailing, of course — she loves to host “beautiful, floral-filled dinner parties.”
“Every time we used our prints in the backdrops of our shoots to create a richer LoveShackFancy environment our fans responded so well, we knew we just had to move into homeware,” she explains. “I started using leftover fabric from our factories to make tablecloths, chair cushions, pillows, and napkins for our stores and for parties — and everyone kept asking when we were going to sell them!”
“Every piece from LoveShackFancy is inspired by a love of romance and unapologetic femininity — designs that can uplift you with their joy and whimsy,” Cohen explains. “Our homeware collection is no different. Every piece can bring a little bit of beauty into your life.”
Cohen loves antiques and vintage pieces — and enjoys walking through markets in France or England to “find a piece that can inspire a whole collection.” Naturally, LoveShackFancy’s homewares collections follow suit.
“The creative process for our homeware line is incredibly similar to the one for our clothing,” she explains. “It can often start when I am sourcing antique fabrics and laces or developing vintage-inspired hand-painted prints, both of which can be on a dress or a tablecloth! One of my favorite things is matching my dress to my tablecloth or my hair ribbon to my napkin.”
When designing LoveShackFancy’s ready-to-wear collections, Cohen makes sure there’s something fabulous for every age. She notes that while an older woman might gravitate towards a cozy knit, young moms and teens might favor a mid-length dress or miniskirt, respectively. (LoveShackFancy also has a Mommy & Me collection, catering to the youngest members of the family.) Not surprisingly, Cohen is determined to bring that multi-generational spirit to her home décor line.
“I wanted to make sure our homeware was just the same, so every generation of LoveShackFancy girl enjoy,” she says. “There has to be something my mom will love along with something my girls will love.”
Brett Heyman, Founder and Creative Director of Edie Parker
When Brett Heyman is brainstorming new designs for Edie Parker, her line of hand-poured acrylic handbags, she focuses on creating pieces with “saturated colors, dreamy textures, and a sense of playfulness.” So, it’s no surprise that Edie Parker customers have proudly used their handbags as home décor long before Heyman considered expanding into that category.
“We heard from so many customers over the years that they used their bags as display pieces: In their living rooms, on their shelves, in their bathrooms,” she explains. “At some point it occurred to us that we could make similarly looking pieces that actually had more functionality at home. We started with boxes, trays, and coasters.”
Since the initial homewares collection, Edie Parker offers vases, placemats, candlestick holders, and well-appointed checkers boards for a fashionable night in. To keep her décor line feeling cohesive with the rest of the brand’s offerings, Heyman and her team concept and design bags, accessories, and homeware lines together.
“All of the collections have the same brand ethos, and we execute them to work together,” she says. “We never shy away from unexpected color mixes or playful inlays, and we think that treatment works well whether it's on a pop accessory for your outfit, or a handcrafted game that should be passed down through generations.”
Though Edie Parker’s homewares runs the gamut from doily-inspired placemats to handheld mirrors, the line remains true to the brand’s unique use of color, material, and whimsy. In fact, many of Edie Parker’s home décor pieces are made with the same hand-poured acrylic used for the handbags.
After successfully expanding her company’s offerings, Heyman is ready to take her homewares line to the next level. The creative director revealed that she is working on launching additional soft goods.
For Heyman, implementing Edie Parker’s aesthetic into home décor wasn’t the most challenging part. Instead, it was ensuring the new category resonated with her customers.
“You have to convince people to take a leap with you on something they don't usually get from you,” she adds. “We design our products to spark joy, so we felt very comfortable offering people a product they would live with and look at all the time.
But ultimately, the pieces that see the most success — and make Heyman and her team the most excited — are those that capture the spirit of the Edie Parker brand.
“Our laser cut acrylic doilies, inlaid trays and newly launched wavy placemats are great examples of our core capabilities,” she says.
Kate Zubarieva and Asya Varetsa, Co-Founders of Sleeper
From the feather-lined party pajamas to its breezy linen dresses, Sleeper has always been associated with feeling comfortable in your own space. So, expanding into homewares was the next natural step for Kate Zubarieva and Asya Varetsa, the two former fashion editors who founded the brand.
“We wanted to create items [the] for home, where you can really focus on yourself and what makes you comfortable,” Varetsa explains. “When your home is full of beautiful things — full of light and easiness — it can become a place of inspiration.”
While most fashion brands make homewares from the materials they use in their ready-to-wear lines, Zubarieva and Varetsa thought outside of the box. In addition to offering linen towels, complete with embroidery in the Ukrainian naïve style, Sleeper also sells home scents and ceramic pieces such as a bathroom glass and saucer, which can be used as a soap dish.
“For us, design is always about solving problems,” Zubarieva explains. “In this sense, creating a home line is pretty much close to designing clothes. We really wanted to create a line that would be strongly aesthetically connected to Ukraine. We’re so inspired by the ethnographic museums and the traditional houses of [our ancestors], where we burnt candles and had rushnyks (a.k.a. traditional embroidered cloths).”
Since Zubarieva and Varetsa were working with new materials, they admit that the production process was initially challenging. However, the duo received help and guidance from their inner circle, specifically Dasha Bespalova.
“[She] had more experience in creating homewares, came to our aid, and worked with us on [the] production of objects,” Varetsa explains. “It’s such an amazing opportunity to work with friends.”
The result? A collection that offers the same comfort and ease as their fashion line.
“When coming home, wiping your hands with a Sleeper linen towel, burning a candle that smells like a meadow, we want you to feel you’re home; [that] you’re safe,” Varetsa says. “It is our aim to harmonize people’s inner state and their everyday lives.”
Though Sleeper’s design inventory is a departure from its fashion collection, there’s plenty of synergy between the two collections. In fact, all of the home décor pieces are packaged reusable linen bags sewn from the brand’s leftover fabric.