Première Vision Designs: The Aviary Studio

Launched in the Spring of 2016, and now in their third year of business, The Aviary Studio make their debut in the Première Visions DESIGNS hall 5, stand no: 5SW46 this September 2018.

The Aviary Studio is a UK based hand weaving studio and design consultancy founded by British designer and established weaver Sarah Podlesny, a Central Saint Martins alumni who has a clear vision to inspire, and to fill the constant demand for newness in an age where ‘copying’ has become standard practice.

Fabric design is often overlooked in favour of the cut and style of a garment, wovens often overlooked in favour of print, and with this in mind, it is The Aviary Studio’s aim to put the spotlight back on wovens, celebrate their cultural importance, their versatility and the invaluable talent and craftsmanship of their makers.

Each season, extensive trend, colour and materials research is gathered, interpreted and applied through the medium of hand weaving, in order to offer a collection of directional fabric ideas that are integral to the design process within mainstream and high end retail.Design time is often of the essence. The swatches provide clients with ideas that are relevant and ready to use – to have something tactile to work with that has already come into form, based on the very research that brands often don’t have ample time to gather.

The collection showcases a variety of weights and qualities, textures and patterns, and techniques both innovative and traditional.  There are colour stories, checks, stripes, patterns, neutrals, white studies, intricate craftsmanship and also clean simple designs.

Each swatch is produced only once, ensuring that the same design cannot be sold twice, giving the client full exclusivity. The Aviary Studio provides full technical information, to aid the development process with mills and suppliers.

As well as selling swatches directly from the collection, The Aviary studio offers design and technical expertise to brands, to help realise the possibilities around their initial ideas or mood boards, from developing a colour palette, to swatching and refining fabric ideas on loom.

Over her 8 years of professional experience since graduating from Central Saint Martins, Sarah has worked in many areas of the industry, including with studios, mills, and brands. This has seen her travel the world, selling her designs globally, and soaking up plenty of inspiration along the way.

Her initial studio practice allowed her to hone her technical and creative skills, and gained her an understanding of the possibilities and constraints of woven fabric. It was here that she learnt about selling, liaising and problem solving with clients, and here that she started to understand her place in the market.

Later, working for one of the worlds largest brands, she had the opportunity to travel the world, familiarising herself with numerous weaving mills and suppliers and their specialities, and as a result, understand the process from design idea all the way through to production. On many occasion, she was able to observe the journey of a ‘bought design’ in its path from being a hand woven swatch into an industrially made, sellable product, learning about the limitations involved, and working with buyers to balance cost without compromising the quality or the design. This has gained her an understanding of what is required for a smooth development process between supplier and client.

Her experience in the industry has been invaluable, adding depth of knowledge to her work and helping her understand the needs of her clients worldwide. Now, as a studio once more, she utilises that knowledge to produce a collection of design ideas that is mindful of those constraints, but inspiring in equal measure. 

In The Aviary Studio’s third year of business, having now built up an impressive client base within the UK and the USA, Sarah now hopes to introduce her work to the European market, and prove not only that small businesses and British makers have a great deal to offer in the design world, but also how integral it is for mainstream and high end retailers alike, to invest in great design ideas.

website: The Aviary Studio

Text and images: The Aviary Studio and with thanks to Sophie Stellar Knitwear studio for their image above in the gallery (left)

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