Rebecca Atwood Designs

American Made Since 2013
2014 Design Finalist

Rebecca Atwood

Brooklyn, New York
Luxurious and relaxed home textiles: hand painted, printed, and dyed in the United States and sewn in the Garment District of New York.
Design, Textiles

Tell us about your business.

Brooklyn based designer and artist Rebecca Atwood values and believes in the process of making. Founded in 2013, her original collection of home textiles focuses on the artistic process. Blending traditional textile techniques and hand painting, Rebecca creates products that are thoughtfully crafted and casually elegant. The line is rooted in Rebecca’s everyday observations of her life in Brooklyn as well as her personal history– growing up on Cape Cod. Behind each design is a story drawn from her collection of family heirlooms, textures found in nature, or a composition from her sketchbook. The line began with just 60 pillows all printed, dyed, and hand painted in Brooklyn and sewn in the garment district of New York. We’ve expanded into wholesale working with high-end boutiques and national retailers such as Calypso. This fall we’ll launch fabric by the yard as well as an expanded assortment of pillows. Our aim is to continue to grow the business to include all home products.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

Our studio is located in Industry City in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. It’s an up and coming area where lots of other designers, artists, and creative are working and collaborating. Our studio is a sunlit space facing south, with old wooden floors, high ceilings, and an overflow of fabric and artwork. We paint, dye, and create in this space, as well as prep orders for production and ship out orders to customers.

What inspires you?

Most of all I am inspired by how we live. I want to create product that is practical while luxurious. For everything we make, I think of how it fits into the lives of our customer. Where would she use it? Can she wash it? I also draw from my personal history and memories. The color of my coffee in the morning, shadows on the sidewalk, a day in the studio working through ideas in a sketchbook. Growing up on Cape Cod certainly shaped my aesthetic. The off-season deserted beaches, shifting light, and coastal color palette are ingrained in my sensibilities. It’s one of the reasons I’m drawn to techniques like shibori. I’m fascinated by how the water finds its way through the fabric and the patterns it leaves, much like the tide coming leaving rippled patterns on the sand. The coastal landscape provides such a sense of calm for me, and that’s something I want my products to offer as well. I’m not about crazy bold patterns. I want everything to be livable, but layered and interesting.

What makes your business stand out?

Drawing, painting, collecting inspiration, making collages, creating swatches, and testing colors: It all begins in the sketchbook. These first stages of making, often lost in the development of today’s commercial products, are an integral part of our process. We aim to preserve the essence of this in our products and bring this care and creativity back. As we’ve expanded we have taken that same thoughtfulness and applied it to our production choices. Many of our textiles are designed and produced in small editions in our Brooklyn studio. Hand dyeing can often be unpredictable, but we value these subtle shifts and changes in hue and embrace them as part of our manufacturing process. These beautiful variations mean that each piece is unique. As we’ve expanded our production, we’ve found the right partners to work with including a family-owned and operated screen printing factory in Rhode Island, digital printers in Pennsylvania, a natural-dyer in Brooklyn and more.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

Work in the industry and learn how it works. Be curious and ask questions. You’ll never know everything you need to prior to starting your own business, but this way you’ll gain invaluable mentors, experience, and the confidence needed to go it on your own. Having a good support system is crucial in my experience. I’d also recommend that you have some savings tucked away, a general plan of action, and a good accountant before taking the leap. Of course, most important is that you have a lot of enthusiasm and drive for what you do!

What does American Made mean to you?

To me American made is all about responsible production. By keeping our production local we’re keeping a close hand on quality, reducing the distance our product travels as well as any shipping needed, and also supporting the economy here. Choosing to work with factories here where working conditions are safe and people are paid a fare wages is very important to us. It goes further than this too. This thought process has inspired us to take this same approach to the materials we’re sourcing. We’re looking into how our fabrics are made, what impact our dyes have on the earth, and how we can make improvements. As the business has grown maintaining the quality of craftsmanship has been extremely important. We’ve focused on finding the right partners to work with as we’ve expanded to make sure our fabrics are produced the best way possible.

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