A Rum Fellow is our Supplier of the Week, 10 – 16 October.
Founded on 3 main principals – Design, Quality and Integrity – the name “A Rum Fellow” is grabbing attention from all angles. From their ethical manufacture and work with local communities to the vibrant patterns that are created, the brand certainly has a story to tell.
We spoke with the delightful design-duo behind it all, Caroline and Dylan, to find out more.
What’s the story behind A Rum Fellow?
Founded by Caroline Lindsell and Dylan O’Shea (partners in business and life) A Rum Fellow is a fusion of our individual passions and interests. Caroline came from a fashion design career, adores textiles and wanted to create designs with longevity and timelessness at their core. With a background in development Dylan had long dreamt of creating a business in which exceptional design could be a force for positive change. We wanted to create a business that would feed our creativity, our social values, and our desire for adventure.
What makes your products unique?
Working with extraordinary traditional weaving techniques that are rarely seen in contemporary design.
How are your products made?
Part of the A Rum Fellow ethos is to explore further a field to find incredible artisans to work with, this element of discovery and adventure is at the core of our business.
We were drawn to the rich textile heritage of Guatemala and were eager to work with Maya backstrap weavers. After doing all the research we could in London we set off for Guatemala with our 7 month old daughter to explore the highlands in search of master weavers to collaborate with. From that first trip we were fortunate to meet the incredible weaving cooperatives we work with today. Working with remote artisans can be tricky, and it has required a lot of nurturing to achieve the quality and consistency western markets expect. Overtime we’ve learnt from each other, the weavers skills have developed and they are now incredibly proud of the work they create for us. At the beginning it was mainly older women we worked with but as the younger generations saw there was an economic future in weaving they started to join the cooperatives. This is really important for supporting and empowering rural artisans and also securing a viable future for art of Maya backstrap weaving.
How do your collaborations with other suppliers, such as FLOOR_STORY, influence your work?
Collaborations are a great way for us to explore our designs in different mediums and materials. For our collab with FLOOR_STORY we’ve translated our intricate brocade designs into a huge scale, so a tiny 10x10cm element of a brocade fabric pattern transforms into a 180x230cm rug design in wool and silks. We also love the learning aspect of a collaboration as we are introduced to new handcraft techniques that are very inspiring to us.
You’re known for your bold use of colour and pattern, does this follow through into your own personal styles? I imagine a beautifully patterned house!
We’re both drawn to colour in our personal tastes and our shared love of geometric patterns is reflected in our home.
Tell us more about your latest collection…
Our new collection ‘Sumal’ collection explores the patterns and techniques we’re known for in a more neutral palette with dusty colours. Its designed to bring together elements of our range, so the different fabrics and rugs can be layered up within a scheme. The new brocades textiles from the Sumal range won the Best Product Launch at Decorex which was awarded by 3 distinguished undercover judges – Mark Gillette, Suzy Hoodless and Staffan Tollgard.
What projects have your designs been used in recently?
We love working with Kit Kemp on Firmdale hotels as she uses our fabrics in stunning room designs. Shown here is our Catarina Ikat and Cumatz Brocade in the Soho Hotel.
Finally, we were asked to design and produce bespoke textiles for new Peruvian restaurant Casita Andina in Soho. The brief was for authentic Andean textiles with a contemporary feel that would also perform in a commercial setting. We worked with a cooperative of traditional Andean weavers through fantastic social enterprise Awamaki who are based in the Sacred Valley in Peru. We designed and produced textiles for the banquette seating, inserts for tables and made custom lampshades. It was a challenging brief and we are thrilled with the results.
New Peruvian restaurant, Casita Andina has been designed with bespoke textiles from A Rum Fellow, all of which are commercial grade.
The Andean weavers we worked with for the Casita Andina project.
What’s next on the horizon for A Rum Fellow?
We’re excited about a new fabric we’ve developed for commercial clients with banquette seating in mind, true to our nature it is hand crafted with bold pattern colour whilst it also meets commercial rub counts and fire standards. There are a couple of very exciting collaborations in the pipeline too!
To open a trade account with A Rum Fellow and start ordering from them directly, click through to their catalogue below, and then ‘request a connection’: