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Tabula Rasa

Emily Diamandis has woven herself into a career.  The yarn enthusiast helms knitwear at Rag & Bone and just launched Tabula Rasa, a slate for creating a fresh, luxe feel to interior design. Diamandis sat down with JCR to discuss her focus on the category and the many statements in knitwear.

How did you transition from your work at rag & bone to creating products for the home and interior?

At rag & bone we produce an amazing mix of styles. I really get to push ideas and produce really interesting stuff.  We balance this with a more accessible commercial side, but with Tabula Rasa working on such a different scale with large pieces, it’s very different from sweaters.  The work for both brands allows me to really flex my creativity in two totally different directions.

What drew you to working with knits in the first place? 

 I have always loved textiles but have always been more interested in creating my own textures rather then the woven cut and sew side of things. I love the knit design process in that I create my own fabric from scratch followed by the actual design of the garment or blanket. There are millions of different stitching techniques, and blending of fibers with knitwear; so there is so much scope to do new and interesting things

tr4What is definitive of the Tabula Rasa brand? 

Tabula Rasa means “clean slate”, it’s conceived of the concept that any space we inhabit should be a template to express personal style beyond clothing and the comforts of your actual home.

What are your design inspirations? 

As a designer you are constantly looking at things and being inspired; it’s not a job that you can turn off. Living in NYC it’s impossible not to be inspired by the galleries, photography, and the street style.  However, I think it’s imperative to at least try to and push past the “collective inspiration pool” of what we creative’s are all looking at together. For instance, my boyfriend and I collect super graphic Dutch wax fabrics and crazy European studio ceramics and glass.

tr1Was it difficult to establish the line? Did you find that people’s perception of knitwear was that it was somehow not high-end enough?

Design wise it wasn’t difficult, I had lots of concepts ready to go. However working on such a different scale with such large pieces is very different then designing sweaters. To make things have a bigger impact, you have to exaggerate everything more.  There is a ton more room to play with the bigger template. Knitwear has become a huge part of fashion; most of the high-end houses send a lot down their runways. From the creative perspective, the huge width of what can be constructed means huge statement pieces can be realized. McQueen, for example, did an incredible job with this.  And from a commercial perspective, sweaters are one of their biggest sales categories for many companies. They are often the higher costing items so I didn’t feel the luxe angle was difficult to translate. This to home-ware, there are not many thing more luxe than a huge textured cashmere blanket!

tr3 What advice would you give to someone decorating their home for the first time? 

I think sometimes when people design their own home they tend to be a bit shy of really imposing their tastes. I would always advise to push it, you can always change it if doesn’t work. I personally love to change my apartment by playing with soft furnishings which of course is partly why I started Tabula Rasa. I love that I can go from bright prints and bold patterned covers and cushions to soft creams and pastel oversize cable throws. It completely changes the feel of your apartment without investing in huge pieces that you may have to spend the rest of your life with! We shouldn’t feel so married to how our spaces look. It’s exactly like changing your wardrobe for the season. Why should any place you’re in not reflect your style and suit your comfort level?

 It’s almost like the old paradigm of landlines; these days, static and permanent doesn’t really make sense in the modern world. The concept of moving ones style and furnishings is totally ancient. The royal households of Europe would travel with literally thousands of items of furnishing when they journeyed. Bizarrely enough, they’d even have their own windows when glass was considered a super luxury item. And of course the Victorians on their grand tours with their insanely luxe steamer luggage have all trodden this path.

tr5 What new products can we look for from Tabula Rasa in the coming seasons?

Next season I’ll be introducing more bedding and some insanely cool towels. There is such scope to do fun stuff with texture and graphics there. I’m also incorporating some more made in America lines, there are some fantastic American produced Alpaca and Merino wool’s around so look out for that.

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