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Designer Interview: Madeline McGregor


Interview with Madeline McGregor from the Instyle Design Studio on her inspiration and process in designing Herringbone


What is the concept behind Herringbone?

A Herringbone is a classic weave structure, which has roots in the ancient traditions of weaving. I wanted to use the timeless herringbone design with an interesting yarn and a fresh new colour palette to give it a distinctive character and reposition it in a modern context. With a design like this I am trying not to overdesign, but rather let the simplicity of the weave and the beautiful quality of the fabric speak for itself.


Where did you find inspiration for this design?

The inspiration for this design lies in the traditions and manufacturing process of weaving and in the inherent tactile beauty of the woollen yarns we have the privilege to work with.

One of the most exciting processes was having the opportunity to work with the mill to design the yarn, which creates the speckled, multicoloured texture in the Herringbone design. This yarn is created using three different colours twisted together to create the marle base, and then three additional colours as the little speckled neps. So it’s really something quite special and unique before the weaving even begins.

Inspiration for the colours was found through colour trend research, but also by really focusing in on the fabric, and finding colours that sit well with the character of the product. I wanted to move away from the traditional colours for a product like this, to clean, soft modern colours. At the same time I wanted everything to sit easily together and not look forced.


How does Herringbone sit within the Instyle product range?

Instyle has a large range of high quality wool products. Herringbone fits with a lot of our higher end products in that there is a lot of innovation in the yarns or the construction of the weaves, but the end product is quite clean and simple.

We have had a really strong focus the last few years on colouration, and I think this collection continues to add sophistication to our colour lines. It is also performing very highly across all testing, achieving heavy duty commercial upholstery use, which is a strong focus in all of Instyle’s products.


Describe your style? Do you have a signature aesthetic that flows through all your designs?

As a contract textile designer, bearing in mind the market, trends and the end use of the product helps to shape the aesthetic for a textile collection. However personal aesthetics inevitably flow through all work.

I have an appreciation for a broad range of aesthetics, from more illustrative decorative looks to the very simplest beautiful textures. I am strongly drawn to the beauty of materials so it is great when we can work with such gorgeous local products as the woollen yarn in Herringbone.

I love to create clean, fresh colours and I always like little bit of fun to come through. An unusual or bright colour, an unexpected pairing, or an offbeat pattern can really lift a design or a collection. I think it is important not to take things too seriously all the time.