Interview with Sophie Roet, woven textile designer & innovator of luxury fabric
Sophie Roet is one of Europe's foremost creative woven textile designers and innovators of luxury fabrics. Her original textile pieces are held in collections worldwide including the permanent collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Berlin Technik Museum and the Textile Arts Gallery in New Mexico.
Sophie also co-founded and successfully launched the high-fashion Australian lingerie brand Willow, stocked by prestigious department stores and boutiques globally and worn by such celebrities as Nicole Kidman.
In 2005, the Sophie Roet for RB Enterprises textile collection was launched to much enthusiasm and acclaim. It consists of a collection of silk and cotton textiles that have been exquisitely produced using traditional Indian textile techniques. The collection reflects Sophie's uncompromising dedication to creating innovative and sumptuous textiles of the highest quality.
Sophie's other international projects include inspirational forecasting and trend research for a range of clients including Mandarina Duck and Lanificio Flli Cerruti; one-off commissions; designing fabrics for international designer brands, as well as lecturing and publishing textile articles.
Did you undertake formal training in college or within the industry, or did you find your way into crafts via a different route?
How would you describe your work and your position within the Crafts world?
My work focuses on the importance of the craftsmanship of beautiful, simple contemporary textiles. I am interested in both the experimentation of new fibres through simple woven structures, in order to create experimental textiles for exhibition purposes, as well as the creation of intricate, precious hand-made textiles for the luxury end of the fashion market. I define my role as a creator of contemporary textiles for both the luxury fashion market and for one-off exhibition pieces.
What type of material do you prefer to use?
At present I am very interested in working with combining metal with natural fibres through various textile techniques: the embrodiery of metal coils and threads onto silk and cotton textiles; the printing of metal pigments onto silk satins and silk crepes and the weaving of metal yarns into silk and cashmere warps. The metal gives the fabric a wonderful weight as well as charging the fabric with a precious, "jewel-like" quality.
What would you most like to make that you haven't so far?
I would like to develop a collection of my own experimental, luxurious scarves/shawls which would be sold to select fashion outlets under my own name.
What would you describe as the most significant development in contemporary textiles within the last 5-10 years?
I believe that there has been a return to the importance of craftsmanship and the production of hand-made textiles due to the development of "New Luxury". Luxury used to be a term which we would use for extremely expensive products which had the "luxury" label of, say, Prada or Gucci. However, due to globalisation and the possibility to produce an exact copy of these "luxury goods" in places like China, it is now important to develop textiles and products which have a "hand-made" signature so that they have an individual, one-off quality. The designer label and use of expensive raw materials is not enough to produce a "luxurious" item. I have explored this notion of New Luxury through the creation of my textile collections - Sophie Roet for Rb Enterprises.