Ella Richards, head of design at Ringwood-based Linwood Fabrics, talks Living through the new Omega collection

Q: Where did the inspiration come from for the new Omega collection?

A: The collection was a natural progression from our best selling plain velvet, ‘Omega’. I wanted to take all of the brilliant technical properties of this fabric and move it forward with an exciting range of printed designs. Keeping the soft handle and drape whilst delivering a stain resistant fabric is technically very difficult to achieve. Combining this with bold printed designs in strong modern colour ways is what I think makes this collection one to watch.

Q: Why these particular prints and colourways?

A: I and my assistant designer went through all of our archives and selected our favourite designs and developed them, adjusting designs where needed and creating new repeats.

We wanted to have a variety of colour palettes, from soft neutrals to bold colourful colourways to give a wide choice to our customers. Hopefully within the overall collection there’s a good variety of designs, right through from traditional to more contemporary options. We are seeing a trend in more traditional homes for using modern designs and on trend colours to keep the overall scheme fresh.

Q: Was it designed with a particular season or area of the home in mind?

A: Omega is a transeasonal collection, as it features pretty cornflower blues and gentle olives alongside punchier pinks and corals. I just love colouring, and that is something which can be said of the wider collection, that freedom and expression of colour throughout.

With people moving more and more towards neutral, tonal interiors schemes, has the collection been designed to complement this? Or as more of an antidote for those who want something bolder?

When we looked back into the archives we were struck by how colourful some of the more traditional fabrics were, such as 'Les Fauves’, a hand painted floral from the 1930’s, which is a fantastic example of the style of the time and one of my personal favourites. So its a classic design, but with a bit of colour tweaking and rescaling its kept its feel but works for more contemporary interiors. We feel that expressionism is back and people want homes that are a reflection of their personalities rather than something tonal or bland.

One of the collection’s conversational designs, ‘Japanese Garden’, also comes from an archival design. The original colourway was surprisingly contemporary, with bold luminous yellow elements, so we were excited to use this as one of the colourways alongside our new versions.

‘The Wave’ is a real favourite in the Linwood design studio. This design was sourced from an archive in Paris and is reminiscent of the work of the painter Hokusai with its dramatic undulating waves. I’ve created a gentle version in lavender which adds a calming quality to the expressive print.

Q: How important is the feel of the fabric when designing a new collection?

A: I’d say its absolutely crucial, we work hard to achieve a soft handle across our collections. We have found Omega velvet to be a fantastic fabric for these prints with strong colour saturation and a beautiful touch.

Q: Why is it so important that the fabric is stain resistant?

A: We feel that the wear and tear that fabrics now get is more than ever before, and with busy lives, fabrics for furnishing need to withstand the rigours of modern life, and that’s something Linwood is really putting a lot of effort into. The technical developments above and beyond the fabric design is key, but the two work hand in hand and that’s what really makes us stand out from our competitors.

The Omega collection retails from £69.90 per metre.

Stockists include:

Bryant Interior Furnishings, Alma Road, Winton, Bournemouth

Modo Interiors, West Street, Blandford

Stitchinghouse Design Ltd, Pummery Square, Poundbury

Upstairs Downstairs Interiors Ltd, Long Street, Sherborne

Linwood Fabric Company Ltd, Salisbury Road, Ringwood

01425 461176