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Publication Date: 2018-03-20

Design Insights

Inside the World of Fabric Designer Seema Krish

Known for her appreciation of color and pattern, Seema Krish's textiles bring a modern, yet timeless, touch to any interior. The Bombay native, who is represented by De Sousa Hughes at the San Francisco Design Center, sat down with Dering Hall to share the inspiration behind her work, her design process, and details about her upcoming Napa Valley-inspired collection, Silverado Trail.

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Q: How does your Bombay upbringing inform your work as a fabric designer?

A: Growing up in Bombay, a bustling, urban metropolis against the backdrop of India, exposed me to sensory stimulation early on—vibrant colors and pattern, sounds of traffic and the general chaos of day-to-day life. I learned to find my calm and stillness within the constant movement. My textiles capture this emotional quality.

Q: You're known for your modern, traditional aesthetic. Why are you drawn to this particular style?

A: My textiles are rooted in textile craft and tradition. This forms the basis for when I’m researching a new collection. Having traveled and lived in different cities and environments, I’ve been influenced by a contemporary outlook and this guides my artwork and patterns. The resulting textiles are a mix of tradition with a modern aesthetic.

Q: Can you explain your fabric design process?

A: Each of our collections is inspired by a different city or locale, so our starting point is capturing the feeling of the location. Patterns and drawings originate from there, but could begin by the form of a leaf, a sketch inspired by architecture or a piece of art we may have seen at a museum.  Everything starts with hand-work, drawing, painting or lino-cut. It is then translated to wooden hand-block and embroidery. Our textiles are dimensional. I like the interplay of the flatness of print on the surface of the textile to the dimension created by the embroidery.

Q: Do you have a favorite pattern or collection? 

A: It’s like asking about my favorite child. I love them all! My debut collection, Bombay Bliss, is still my favorite and feels fresh, current and timeless, although it was introduced at inception, five years ago.

Q: Color is very important to your work. Why are you so drawn to color? 

A: Color makes me happy. I live with color and enjoy painting with color. Growing up in India and being surrounded by myriads of color, it is ingrained into my sensibility.

Q: What's your take on incorporating colorful fabrics into a room? 

A: I enjoy mixing colors with neutrals, often combining complementary hues. For instance, I like deep, warm purples with rich golds as an accent, paired with a warm neutral gray. I also like to combine colors within one spectrum of the color wheel. Shades of blues with green is one example.

Q: What can we expect from your designs moving forward? 

A: We are continuing to create new collections, going deeper with our research of craft influences. Our new collection for spring ’18, Silverado Trail, is inspired by Napa Valley and its serene and scenic beauty of the natural environment. We have exciting things ahead, as we are working towards introducing our first wallpaper collection in the fall and venturing into woven, indoor-outdoor textiles. There are exciting things ahead.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your work? 

A: It’s gratifying when I’m confident that our product achieves high-quality standards. Working with many hands—weaving, color-mixing, hand-printing and embroidery—there is a lot of room for error. We have spent the time on training and learning about limitations from our artisan partners. It informs our design process to produce high-quality textiles. I’m rewarded by creating impact on people’s lives. My company’s founding mission is to create awareness for Indian craft and to contribute towards social benefit and empowerment within the artisan community.

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