Femke Textiles’ Simone Deckers had no idea her online Etsy shop would help her win a collaboration with global skincare retailer, Kiehl’s.
After completing a Certificate IV in Textile Design, Development and Production at RMIT, Deckers rose to popularity on Etsy by selling handmade and eco-friendly bags, cushions, tea towels and more under the name Femke Textiles.
Now Deckers is making a name for herself by collaborating with Kiehl’s for Mother’s Day, proving that local designers are just as rewarded as renowned ones.
How did the Etsy and Kiehl’s collaboration start?
I was approached by Etsy before Christmas asking if I would be interested in custom making zipper pouches for a big international company. Of course I said yes, thinking it probably would not eventuate into anything. Then I received a phone call from Etsy in the New Year with all the details! Kiehl's (owned by L'Oreal) had picked me out of a shortlist of 10 makers from Etsy to design, print and make zipper pouches using one of their botanical ingredients – Calendula was the chosen one.
What was your design?
The Calendula flower is the main ingredient in many Kiehl's products. I was very lucky in that the design brief was quite open and I got to make most of the design/colour choices! I wanted to incorporate different views/aspects of the flower and use one of these as the design for the lining for the pouches. All my designs start off as a hand drawn illustration from photos I take myself. I also custom mixed the colours the designs were printed in.
How does it feel to see your design in the marketplace?
It feels very surreal to see my design in the market place and I feel very lucky and honoured to have been chosen and asked to participate in this very exciting collaboration. I feel proud of my achievement and I could not have done it without the help of my family, friends and all my wonderful teachers at RMIT!
What is your favourite part about being a textile designer?
One of my most favourite parts is lifting the screen and seeing my own illustration/design come alive onto the fabric! It really gives me a thrill every time.
I also love going to my studio every day and just making and being in a creative space. I love fabric and all its textures, and how designs can look so different depending on the fabric I am printing on.
How was your experience studying textile design and development at RMIT?
I knew I wanted to be a maker and I have always had a big love for fabric, patterns and colour. The practical studio based aspect of the program allowed me to experience different techniques of textile design such as screen printing, knitting and weaving and allowed me to find my strength as a designer.
The encouragement of my teachers and their invaluable knowledge in each of their areas of expertise was also a big factor in shaping me as a designer – one who continues to develop, learn and think about the impact I am leaving on our planet as a designer.
Do you have any advice for textile design students?
RMIT has such amazing facilities that I can't recommend enough to utilise them because when you get out into the real world you will miss them! And don’t forget to be true to yourself, your design aesthetic, and your style.
Story: Jennifer Park