We love talking to the designers and manufacturers on our platform, we recently caught up with Textile Designer Rise Gluck to learn about her journey in fashion. She works on a freelance basis designing products like bedding, table linen and curtains.

We learned how her career progressed from lacy lingerie to colourful homeware, among other things.

Textile Designer Rise Gluck

Tell us a little about your fashion background

I was always interested in art, even at a very young age. I majored in art at college. I enrolled in various studio art classes and found myself drawn to textile design. I began my career as a lace designer.

How did you become a lace designer and what did it entail?

After I graduated from college I embarked on a job search. An acquaintance told me about an opportunity at a lace company. I went on the interview and was hired. The job entailed creating designs for lingerie. As part of the design process, there were certain parameters that I had to follow. It was something that I previously hadn’t given any thought to, the fact that someone actually designs lace.

What were those parameters?

The parameters for lace design involved executing the designs with pencils, rather than paint. We used a dark blue to indicate heavier areas, a lighter blue for the lighter areas, and graphite pencils for the lightest areas and to indicate the various types of netting used in lace.

How did you transition into textiles?

I had studied textile design rather than lace design while at college, so it wasn’t really a transition. It was more like going back to what I originally set out to do. I enjoyed designing lace, but at the same time, I found it to be kind of limiting, in terms of colour, scale and types of design.

Related reading: 5 minutes with Deborah Todd from ZAAZEE

Who are your customers?

Home furnishings companies. Lately, most of my work has involved rug and carpet design, but I also design for other home textile products.

You design rugs: do you have or need interior design experience?

I do not have interior design experience but I’m learning as I go along. Part of my work involves creating one-of-a-kind custom rugs. Many times I will consult with an interior designer who communicates the needs and desires of his/her client. Sometimes the placement of the room’s furniture plays a part in how the rug is designed, particularly the size and sometimes even the shape of the rug. In this case, I will be given a floor plan with the placement of the furniture indicated.

How is designing homeware different from apparel? Is it challenging?

When I first began to design homeware the main difference to me was colour. Colours in homeware were more muted and subdued. The colours used in apparel tended to be brighter, more vibrant and fresher. One piece of advice I got when I started to design homeware was to ‘just mix brown or black into everything’. This was before computers were used in textile design. Everything was hand painted and colours had to be mixed by hand using designer’s gouache. It was good advice!

Most of the time the scale of the motifs for apparel was much smaller than for homeware. But I would occasionally create designs on a larger scale. The same held true for home textiles, I’ve done many small, detailed florals. In the last several years I’ve been seeing less of a difference. Apparel designs are often very similar to home designs, in terms of colour as well as scale. The same type of contemporary, larger scale, bold geometric designs that are so often seen in home textiles are now seen on apparel. And home textile colours have changed too. The subdued colours are still there, but I’m seeing more vibrant, bolder colours, just like apparel.

For the bespoke work that I do, anything goes. Whatever the client desires in a design gets done!

You live in New York, USA – what is life like as a freelancer there?

Thanks to computers and the internet this has changed greatly. While I do have clients in New York, many are in other parts of the country. The days where I would personally pick up a project, take it home and deliver it when it was completed are gone. I don’t even have to print anything out. Everything is emailed. We still communicate over the phone, but most of the time email is used.

What inspires you to keep going in what you do, everyday?

I’m a creative person, I am always looking forward to my next project. The chance to develop new ideas is exciting.

What’s the success story of your career so far?

It’s always nice to be the one chosen to take on a project. And nice to be called again! I’m happy that people are pleased with my work.

You can contact Rise Gluck via her Utelier Profile.

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