After becoming addicted to their inspiring pattern and trend forecasting blog, Origin Interiors went in search of the design geniuses behind the Pattern People. Although divided by 41 million square miles of deep blue Atlantic Ocean, the duo are still the go-to girls for re-patterning your home, wardrobe or even just your notebook. We caught up with one half of the delectable pair, the lovely Jessie Whipple-Vickery near their studio, at East London’s organic deli La Bouche.
Exchanging beautifully sunny Oregon for surprisingly sunny London, Jessie Whipple-Vickery, one half of Pattern People finds herself in familiar territory. Having studied graphic design at Central St. Martin’s five years ago, Jessie moved back to set up a European base for Pattern People’s expanding studio, “I used to live around here and have a lot of friends here, plus there are a ton of studios as well.” Before Pattern People was even a twinkle in the blogosphere, Jessie and Claudia Brown (the other founding member of Pattern People) were both freelancing as designers for Nike and MTV respectively, whilst separately struggling to run their own independent fashion labels. However, after a fortuitous meeting through mutual friends three years ago, they instantly decided to take a leap and change careers. “So we finally met and realised we were both burnt out doing our own clothing lines and were more interested in the prints themselves. So Pattern People was born and we joined forces,” says Jessie.
Working their way from a popular trend based blog to a commercial design company, Pattern People have reeled in corporate clients with their modern approach to print making and surface pattern. “We’re trying to do our own thing, but it seems that the print studios have been run in such a way that it’s all a bit…stodgy!” says Jessie. “The thing that we do that so many other studios don’t do is that we provide the prints in both digital and regular format, so then they can use either.” With an abundance of experience in both conventional print and digital design, Pattern People are next generation printmakers, combining traditional methods with new technology and without a paint splattered apron in sight. Instead of resolutely sticking to just one area, both designers decided to incorporate fashion, interiors and product design into their repertoire; offering clients and readers a growing range of 3,000 designs conveniently available in their online archive.
Collaborating with the likes of Adidas, US street fashion label Stussy, and confectionary giants Godiva Chocolate has been a great boost to the developing company, bringing them more clients, most recently in the form of Clinique. After designing perfume packaging for Estée Lauder, Jessie and Claudia were invited to join Clinique on their floor within the shared Manhattan skyscraper. Impressed with their work for Estée Lauder, Clinique asked them to produce special, limited edition cosmetic bags as a free gift with their latest range. Rather than continuing the endless vintage floral trend that regularly adorns such cases, Pattern People went for something a little more graphic as well as incandescently sweet. Using Manhattan’s skyline as inspiration, they created an international city scape, merging Tokyo, London, Paris and New York, as well as a 60s inspired über kitsch fruit print in bright colours of contrasting pink, orange, red and green. Not the usual Clinique look it has to be said, but something a little more fun for their growing beauty conscious teen market.
With so many trips for meetings from West Coast Portland to East Coast New York it’s unsurprising that the pressure of encounters with the world’s leading beauty conglomerates have proved somewhat flustering, “well the building is so fancy and when we go there with our suitcases, we always feel so bedraggled,” says Jessie. “It’s all marble and it’s like it’s out of a movie! All the women are perfectly quaffed and we’re all sweaty,” Jessie recalls, clearly anticipating a replay of this at their next appointment. Yet today, she is perfectly quaffed herself, with a Gibson girl hair style and a printed jumpsuit that hardly even shows her seven month old bump. Looking cool and certainly unflustered in the current heat wave, her make up is minimal, showing off her enviable, naturally freckly Californian colouring. Jessie’s personal style is clearly something that inspires her work and vice versa, claiming that she is completely torn when deciding between fashion and interiors, “I love both of them,” she says. “But think I would have to go with fashion because I love fashion so much and there are some beautiful garments.” With her bleeding bleach black and white ensemble and her established nickname as a ‘pattern person’, it’s appropriate to assume that Jessie is a pattern fanatic both in her work and style, yet she considers it to be more of a selective eccentricity. “I do have quite a few (prints) in the wardrobe, I’ve been trying to hold back, but then sometimes I do go for the ones that no one else will ever wear. That probably isn’t very smart,” she contemplates.
So with such a large selection of print and patterned trends to choose from this fall (as Jessie calls it), which in particular have caught her eye? Well, “botanical, from abstract watercolours to solarised looks give florals an updated appeal,” she says, but “texture-print interpretations are also a big trend,” similar to the blurred print she is already sporting. But what about interiors; after a year of blues, greens and natural woods with a distinct environmental overtone, what’s next for home wares? “True texture has been leaving its mark on both the runways and in interiors,” says Jessie. So “look for coral reef ruffles, crochet, woven and knitted assemblages forming patterns of their own.” Rather than just heeding Jessie’s advice, from September, you’ll be able to put it into action when Pattern People release their very first wallpaper collection inspired by flora and nature. Although extremely coy at first, Jessie did divulge a few covert details, saying, “initially we were looking at forests, overgrowth and undergrowth, mushrooms and pine trees (in North West America). But then it kind of developed into [something] more exotic.” As well as venturing further into direct en masse consumer contact (rather than just business to business), Pattern People are set to become authors, with a new ‘how to’ e-book offering advice on becoming a modern day print designer. “We get so many different requests from designers asking how to start their own business or how to move from different areas such as illustration into print,” says Jessie. Hence they decided to share their recently acquired knowledge and enterprise expertise in a book for students, creatives and professionals who are looking for a new career.
By all accounts, it sounds like it’s going to be an extremely busy autumn for Pattern People in general and Jessie in particular, from wallpapers and books and most importantly a new addition to the family. Although, here at Origin Interiors, we’re most looking forward to the opening of Pattern People’s long awaited e-shop which we’ve been reliably informed will be filled with delightfully patterned and printed wares that we just can’t wait to get our hands on.
Find out more information about Jessie and Claudia’s latest projects and trends at Pattern People.