Whiteman and Mellor is a small brand which has just entered an established South African textile market but already they’ve won our hearts with their unique, charming and nostalgic aesthetic. Lovechild of Cape Town designers Gregory Mellor and Camilla Whiteman (of Pezula Interiors fame) the brand is all about locally made cottons and linens with classic charm. Think Indian-inspired block prints and colourful ikats inspired by archival prints. We chatted to them about the journey to market and picked their brains for style tips.
Where was the idea for a textile brand born? In the projects that we were working on, we found it increasingly difficult to find reasonably priced fabrics that would fulfill our clients’ needs without jeopardising the overall look. Greg and I were friends before we became business partners and always navigated towards the same textile designs, so it was a natural progression to work together on creating fabrics that we could use in our specific projects. We have similar loves and loathes in interiors too.
Tell us about the journey that went into its making… After a long December holiday, Greg and I both had itchy feet and an overwhelming desire to be more creative. We started chatting about how our ideas could become a reality. We exchanged images of fabrics and prints that inspired us, often sending the same references concurrently. It really excited us and it has been an easy working relationship ever since.
How does the collection’s style talk to your own tastes? We have a common love for Indian block prints and fabrics with history, which inspires our range greatly.
Ideally, where do you see these textiles being used? Everywhere! From curtaining to upholstery and textiles. We have both used them quite extensively in our own homes. We are deeply inspired by decorators and clients, who use our fabrics in different contexts, from classic homes to more contemporary applications and we see these textiles as a link to the finished product.
Do you plan to expand the current range? We are expanding and coming up with ideas all the time. It’s rather difficult to decide when to stop or hold back.
How would you liven up a dull room using prints? Our prints are capable of livening up a room simply by using them as scatters or lampshades. Alternatively, you can go full tilt and use them everywhere in an eclectic, layered mix that’s full of colour. The price point makes this really achievable.
What does local manufacture mean to you and why have you pursued it? It means that we can be involved in the process from start to finish, which keeps our design intentions pure. It also means that we are able to achieve one of our primary goals, which is keeping our fabrics accessible by way of lower costs. Sustainability is something that we really strive to achieve and keeping it local means that we keep our footprint small.