Olive Pearson Designs

Textile designer & maker Olive Pearson working in her home studio

Glasgow-based textile designer & maker Olive specialises in knitted accessories for fashion and interiors. She designs and makes everything herself, from own label limited edition collections, to commissions for corporate and private clients. She combines contemporary patterns with traditional techniques.

Launched in June 2015, her aim is to create unique, slow-fashion, ethical and sustainable products for customers – heirloom pieces, made to last.

Olive Pearson's mother & father

Olive’s passion for zero-waste stems from her parents’ attitudes. “Having lived through the shortages, rationing and ‘make do and mend’ era of World War II, they instilled in me the ethos that nothing should ever be wasted. I rarely buy things that are not essential, I donate or recycle anything I no longer need and only keep things I feel are beautiful or could be made into something useful… and the idea will come to me in time.”

In creating successful designs, Olive is always sampling different patterns with different colour combinations to see what works. The resulting swatches are eventually repurposed into lavender or coffee bags, specs’ cases and chubby keyrings.

The current coronavirus situation has given her time to reorganise her home studio and rediscover lots of material she’s had since studying at art school. She’s spent some mindful time, switched off from day to day worries, drawing and making. She’s been able to use offcuts of paper, card and photos she has in the studio rather than buying new materials to create little note books, for example.

The ethos of ‘slow fashion’ is very important to her. Her designs are all made fully fashioned which prevents wastage. Everything is made in small quantities, so she doesn’t need to buy in large stocks of yarn. She uses 100% of the yarn per collection.

Not only is this way of working zero-waste: it also allows her to offer customers products in colourways & designs of their choice. And there’s more! She offers customers a repair service to damaged items (if possible). For pieces damaged beyond repair (or accidentally shrunk!), they can be returned to Olive for upcycling – and the customer even receives a discount voucher for their next purchase.

Olive’s circular way of working – from the beginning to the end of a knitted item’s life – highlights her very sustainable approach to running a textile business .

If you’re interested in seeing (and buying!) some of Olive’s work for yourselves, she’ll be exhibiting at Part 2 of CLOTH#21 at the Dovecot (Edinburgh), 21 & 22 Aug 2021. You can also check out the events’ page on her website.
All images © Olive Pearson Designs