At Fabrics Galore, we take immense pride in being authorised retailers of some of the UK's most iconic fabric designers, including Cath Kidston, Orla Kiely, William Morris, and Laura Ashley. These designers, with their distinct and enduring prints, feel like they've been a part of the fabric industry forever. Interestingly, Cath Kidston's and Orla Kiely's journey began around the same time we first opened our doors at Fabrics Galore. Yes, that was quite a while ago! These four British icons, each with their unique style and flair, represent the epitome of UK designer fabrics for furnishing projects. Read on to discover why we believe they are the best in the business.
UK Fabric Designer Cath Kidston
Cath Kidston herself started working for the socialite turned interior designer Nicky Haslam after moving to London from Hampshire instead of going to university. After working for him she opened a shop dedicated to curtains, and it was here that the idea of Cath Kidston the brand started. Starting small, the shop specialised in vintage finds and the occasional item made by Cath herself. As things grew she started to design her own prints, inspired by vintage fabric or wallpaper and sometimes including her dog Stanley. Her other key ethos was to always make practical items, but cover them in a cheery, witty and British print.
Just a year after our humble shop opened in Battersea, another British brand was opening its doors in 1993, this time in Notting Hill. It was also in 1993 that Cath Kidston herself drew and designed the Antique Rose which would go on to adorn wallpaper, fabric and mugs all over the world.
The current vintage floral we stock is Vintage Bunch and with its touches of acid yellow, although a truly vintage classic you can see where Kidston has tweaked it to make it feel modern. This cloth would be perfect for any bedroom, on cushions, as curtains or maybe as a sumptuous headboard.
By 2006 the brand had expanded all over the world and had even sent its quirky quintessentially British Designs to Tokyo. A few years later this led to the designer receiving an MBE from the Queen for services to Business. Since then the brand has collaborated with many of the nations favourites from Winnie the Pooh in 2017 to celebrate his 90th Birthday, to Peter Rabbit and even dear old Harry Potter.
What maybe sets Kidston apart from other UK designers is her design for the child in all of us, and this is seen especially before she collaborated with such big names. Just look at Mushrooms, originally designed in 2013 as a birthday companion of Big Spot and inspired by a vintage dress. It is child like enough that kids will love it but equally on a cushion in a living room it would look quite lovely too.
Cath Kidston London Fabrics
Cath Kidston takes a huge amount of inspiration from the city of London, something else she shares with Fabrics Galore. You just have to look at some of her more iconic prints such as the Guards which was originally designed in 2012, taking inspiration from the soldiers who stand guard outside Buckingham Palace. It proved so popular it led to the creation of prints such as the Marching Band and Beefeaters.
Cath Kidston Bird Print Fabric
In 2009 Kidston designed Birds and Roses, inspired by a vintage wallpaper found at a Chiswick Car Boot Sale (talking of British Classics). Since then it has seen many versions and makes us think of British Birds in Pastel. Although quite chintzy, mixed with more modern prints this looks lovely in any living room or kitchen with just the right amount of pink.
UK Fabric Designer Orla Kiely
Hot on the tails of both Fabrics Galore and Cath Kidston, another designer was starting out in 1995 and today Orla Kiely is a household name known for her love of the 60’s and 70’s designs on everything from fabric to pottery. She has said herself that she draws a lot of her inspiration from Mid Century Modern Design, and the colours of the 1960’s such as olive green, yellow and glossy orange.
What you might not know is that Kiely started out designing hats, after finishing her Masters at the Royal College of Art in London, Harrods sold her first collection of hats in 1993.
So although we at Fabrics Galore associate her designs mostly with interiors, Kiely has more links to the fashion world; this is clear from the fact that she has won four UK Fashion Export Awards. And just like Cath Kidston, received an OBE from the Queen in 2011 for services to business.
Orla Kiely Stem Design Fabric
But you can’t mention Kiely without mentioning her iconic design Stem; although it has been designed many times it is still synonymous with Kiely even nearly 22 years after its original design back into 2000. It wasn’t until 2017 that these iconic designs started to move towards furnishing fabrics, which seems bizarre as Stem is really made for curtains…
Orla Kiely Spot Design Fabric
The 1960’s are a key inspiration for Kiely and she has said she draws on other designers of the period such as Mary Quant. You can really see that in the print Spot Flower, and again although she started out in dressmaking designs, this one is such a great furnishing print. Although the flowers are big, the simplicity of the design would work brilliantly as curtains or as a bench seat cover in a kitchen.
One of the colours heavily linked to that of Kiely’s work is yellow, she is said to use it because of its mood boosting qualities. This does mean that her patterns featuring the colour make excellent choices for living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms but also for small spaces such as hallways because it creates a feeling of welcome.
Kiely’s clever use of colour doesn’t stop there, although she is selective about the shades she uses, the simple clever designs mean they go with many different design aspects. From a more chic and monochrome look all the way across the board to a more cultured bohemian home style. For example the Linear Stem in Cool Grey would work beautifully in a sleek, minimalist home mixed with various other cream, grey and black components. Whereas the pretty muted shades of pink used in Sweet Pea in Orange could be teamed with other warm earthy tones to create a Bohemian Decor, and although the patterns are large, the simple design means they aren’t too daunting to bring into your interior.
UK Fabric Designer William Morris
William Morris is another UK brand that has made a significant impact on the furnishing industry . Known for their bold, intricate designs inspired by nature, these fabrics are a perfect blend of traditional and contemporary style. The brand's commitment to quality is evident in their use of high-quality materials and meticulous attention to detail.
Each fabric is designed to be durable, long-lasting, and resistant to wear and tear. William Morris fabrics are perfect for those looking to add a touch of Arts and Crafts elegance and sophistication to their home. Whether you're reupholstering a vintage chair or creating a statement wall hanging, these fabrics are sure to impress.
UK Fabric Designer Laura Ashley
On the other hand, Laura Ashley fabrics are synonymous with classic British design. Renowned for their romantic, floral prints and soft, muted colour palette, Laura Ashley fabrics evoke a sense of timeless elegance and charm. The brand's fabrics are made from high-quality materials designed to withstand the test of time.
Whether you're looking to create a cosy, country cottage feel or a more modern, minimalist look, Laura Ashley fabrics offer a versatile solution. From curtains to cushions, these fabrics can be used to create a wide range of home furnishing items. With Laura Ashley fabrics, you can bring a touch of classic British style to your home.
Discover the Best UK Designer Fabrics online
At Fabrics Galore London we stock UK designer fabrics as part of our carefully curated range of Home Furnishing fabrics. Although these designer fabrics may be more expensive, the quality and design is second to none and you can always match them with other furnishing fabrics for small projects to create a fabulous interior. We can recommend fabrics to pair with these amazing designer prints. Just call us for advice on 0207 738 9589.