Designer insights with Dawn Oliveira

Dawn Oliveira is the founder of Oliveira Textiles, which create fabrics using eco-conscious principles to craft healthy alternatives. Dawn has a penchant for nautical patterns, yet focuses on more abstract designs that lend themselves to many applications within the home. She has also spent over 20 years creating home and fashion textiles for brands such as Stark Carpet, Polo Ralph Lauren and Dana Buchman, to name but a few. So we are proud to bring you the Designer Insights of Dawn Oliveira.

Designer Insights - Dawn Oliveira

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1) In your own words describe your unique and creative aesthetic

When I launched Oliveira Textiles in 2007, I made the commitment to design a contemporary, coastal-inspired collection of patterns. I was living in New England again after many years in New York and I really wanted to re-discover a 'vibe' of my own. That vibe has become a signature style of clean, modern prints inspired by the nature around me.

2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?

My projects range from designing my own collection of fabrics, to custom printed window treatments and women's tunics, so the creative process varies. If I'm working on new patterns for my own collection of fabrics, I can be more immersed in 'my own little creative bubble' and just let things flow. If I'm working on a custom project, my client's needs come first. We discuss color and pattern that's right for her.

3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?

I really admire any designer who stands his/her creative ground but can also work the business side. That skill set gets my respect. Through my years designing for New York manufacturers like Liz Claiborne, Ralph Lauren, Stark Carpet, I saw how important attention to detail is in producing a beautiful well-made product but success in the marketplace takes a strong dedicated team.

4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired? Why does this work so well for you?

As someone who crafts a living through art and design, I'm influenced by everything around me from nature and found objects to politics and social media, but visiting exhibitions on art, fashion, and architecture are critical. I also pour through all of my research books on fashion and textiles as well as search Pinterest and Instagram for quick visual candy. Eventually I filter out what matters to me personally and start sketching. I work out scale and proportion of motiffs, then decide on fabric and colors that I love. The result, if I'm lucky is a beautiful and unique collection of patterns.

5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps.

After 20+ years honing my design skills in new york and working for a lot of different design houses, i find the most gratification comes from operating my current business as an independent designer with my own unique point of view and style. With experience comes wisdom. I would strongly suggest to students and young designers to 'stick to your guns' when it comes to originality and quality. We should not surrender to cheap, poorly made products just to satisfy a bottom line.