Maker Profile: Elizabeth Mullen
Your career began in textile design and fashion, moving into product
design and then full-service interior design. Could you describe this career
I worked in New York and Los Angeles during summers in college and then at many boutique clothing design companies right out of college. Well, they were boutique then and now have become much larger fashion houses! I learned all about domestic and international production, sales–just about everything. Working hard and dipping your fingers in all facets of the business is really important and proved to be very beneficial to the evolution of my career. I moved to Austin in 2002, which is not a hotbed of the fashion industry. The move made me segue into home product design, and interior design followed. Moving from fashion to interiors was a seamless transition–there are many similarities between the two industries.
Why is now the right time for you to launch a wallpaper line with Relativity Textiles, and why is this the right partnership?
I’ve had my own collection since 2012 and have known Erin for ten years. We recently reconnected at the Lake Forest Showhouse, where we both participated. With my design business taking off and raising kids, I didn’t have the time I once did to dedicate to the product line. It was an obvious next step for the product line to collaborate with Relativity Textiles.
What was your inspiration for your designs?
My inspiration comes from fashion, clothing, and textiles. It’s obvious in pattern one of the collection that is a take on a traditional houndstooth pattern. I love adding texture to the walls and tricking the eye. The product is printed, but it feels like a woven material. So, you have all the benefits of a printed material–it’s wipeable and durable but with the aesthetic of a textile. Geometric patterns and shapes playing with fun color pop.
Could you describe your design process?
I get inspired by art and design books and have a huge collection. I like looking at architecture and reinterpreting bold geometric shapes. I also do a ton of research in fashion–couture shows. I love the 5-minute runway shows. I also love to study modern art and find so much inspiration for my palettes there.
How does this line reflect your overarching style?
My style is a mix of classic black and white and neutrals with pops of color. The colorways of the collection are much the same. I get inspired by how you would build a wardrobe. I love a neutral palette with a pop of color for earrings or a bag. This is how I would dress or design a room for a client. The collection is meant to be layered. It’s about mixing patterns which can easily be done in one room by mixing scales.
How often do you use wallpaper in your own projects, and is it difficult to
convince your clients to embrace it?
I use wallpaper in all my projects. My clients love the idea of incorporating
wallpaper into their homes. Some like to keep it contained and just stick to
powder rooms. Some are more comfortable taking design risks. I would have
wallpaper in every room of my house if I could!
Are there any mistakes that people make when using wallpaper? How do they avoid them?
Trying to do an accent wall gets tricky if there is no stopping point. When we do
this, we add trim or pull a color from the wallpaper for the rest of the room.
Do you have any ideas for future lines?
Yes–I have tons of ideas at all times! There are always things on the horizon. I’m currently working on larger-scale patterns and murals with a more commercial application.