This Textile Designer Teaches Us All About Prints

"Don’t be afraid to go with the unexpected."

Every sartorial season, we see countless new patterns and prints grappling for the limelight. Whether it’s the classics (and new takes on them), or fresh, contemporary styles, it seems the industry has endless time for printmakers. After all, it’s the detail that really defines a piece of clothing. From a customer’s perspective, it’s exciting to see what each new collection will bring, but how would your relationship with fashion change if you, yourself, were behind those patterns? 

As soon as we discovered Joanna Hawley’s blog, Jojotastic, we knew we had to get in touch. A fashion blogger and textile designer, her style incorporates elegant and eclectic prints that she seamlessly blends into casual looks. She hasn't always worked purely with fabric, though: Hawley's career path has also lead her to the world of interior design, which she channels in her own life by documenting the renovation of her home in Seattle with the hashtag #mytinybungalow

We wanted to know how her unique angle on the industry has affected her personal style, and if she has any insider tips on making everything from animal print to abstract shapes and illustrations look like the height of sophistication. 

Wheretoget: How did you get into textile design in the first place? 
Joanna Hawley: I went to school for Industrial Design, but always knew I wanted to design home decor pieces, so I focused on furniture design during my final year. My very first job out of school was designing screen printed artwork for bedding and it just sort of built from there!
WTG: Who are your artistic influences?
JH: I’m a really big fan of artists like Louise Bourgeois and Dan Flavin, as well as photographers like Cindy Sherman, Robert Frank and Nan Goldin. I also love our current textile design scene, especially the work of Rebecca Atwood and Susan Connor. I’m sort of all over the place! 
WTG: What are your favorite fabrics to work with? 
JH: I’m totally obsessed with linen. 
WTG: Which of your own designs are you most proud of? 
JH: I designed these amazing chairs and benches for Anthropologie years ago and, to this day, they are my favorite piece [of work]. I really wish I had one in my home.
WTG: How does your knowledge of design influence the way you dress? 
JH: I think design influences the colors and patterns I wear. I usually keep my clothes to a simple palette of black, white and navy, but always with a bit of a vintage or vintage-inspired print included.

WTG: What are your favorite clothing stores to shop for patterns?
JH: Madewell always has a really fun assortment of stripes, which will never go out of style as far as I’m concerned. I also love the eclectic vibe of Calypso St. Barth, Ulla Johnson and Isabel Marant.

 WTG: Which recent runway collections have inspired you the most in terms of pattern and color?
JH: I’m pretty much obsessed with anything Ulla Johnson sends down the runway these days!
WTG: What are some of your favorite pieces in your closet? 
JH: I have this one quilted Isabel Marant jacket that is basically my spirit animal. It’s black, white and cobalt, which is my favorite color palette, but the vibe is very Japanese-inspired and I absolutely love it.
WTG: What is the secret to wearing patterns?
JH: Some people are really good at mixing patterns for their outfits, but I’m not one of them! I usually stick to one print that I really love and go with it. 
WTG: We are based in Paris, where living spaces range from minuscule to medium. What are your top tips for decorating a small apartment?
JH: Hmm… I’d encourage small-space dwellers to still embrace drama in their homes. For example, I have a dark navy blue wall in my teeny tiny dining room. Most would assume that a dark wall would make my home feel even smaller, but instead it really draws in guests and acts like a focal point for the space. Don’t be afraid to go with the unexpected.
Check out our selection of printed pieces inspired by Joanna Hawley's closet: 
Equipment Slim Signature Silk Shirt Bright White Multi Butterfly Atrim Print - $268
Madewell Silk Wrap Maxi Dress In Field Bouquet - $168
Ulla Johnson Valentine Dress - $748
Printed Flowy Blouse - $60
Calypso St Barth Anyen Bead Embellished Ikat Skirt - $395
Anthropologie Lori gingham Cropped Pants - $118
Mango Floral Wrap Dress - $130
Equipment Essential Silk Shirt Bright White Multi Bamboo Print - $268
Madewell Central Tie-Back Shirt In Rose Stripe - $69.50
Calypso St Barth Melindia Floral Printed Linen Pant - $195
Eloquii Printed Denim Jeans - $100
Anthropologie Ray Linen Midi Dress - $398
Madewell Off The Shoulder Sweater In Stripe - $65
Equipment Slim Signature Black Star Print - $248

All images courtesy of Meghan Klein.