Recycled, yes; old, never: Tamasyn Gambell’s geometric designs

Tamasyn Gambell’s bold, timeless designs sizzle, but without warming the planet. All of her pieces are crafted using environmentally sound production methods and sustainable materials. From recycled scarves to geometric-printed cushions, her collections offer a stylish way to be eco-friendly.

Gambell’s designs, with their bold patterns and bright colors, attract shoppers with an eye for art. Through her fun pieces, she proves that eco-conscious design doesn’t have to be boring.

“Strong colors, luxurious fabrics and statement pieces can be sustainably produced,” Gambell said.

Her foray into sustainable design began with a collection of scarves, an accessory Gambell favors for its ability to transform an outfit. Since the designer is also a “stationery addict,” her line of notebooks soon followed. Her next move was to expand into home goods by offering cushions.

Gambell’s career sprung from a strong education: She studied printed textiles at Chelsea College of Art and went on to earn a master’s in printed textile design at the Royal College of Art in 2005.

Seeing her prints “come alive” when made into garments compelled her to work in the fashion industry. She headed to Paris to pursue her passion and managed to score positions at a few couture companies, where she acquired further knowledge of fabric and design.

She had the opportunity to work for high-end companies, such as Louis Vuitton and Sonia Rykiel, and for H&M as a womenswear print designer. Frustrated with all the waste and the lack of innovation she witnessed, she soon was hungry to start her own venture.

“Although I learnt loads whilst working for other people, I always felt a bit frustrated and had a strong belief in my own design aesthetic,” Gambell explained. “I wanted to try and do it alone as I felt I had so many ideas and the passion that you need to start up your own company.”

Her next step was to apply for an award at Cockpit Arts in collaboration with The National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies in 2008. She won, gaining the complimentary studio space and business advice she needed to forge her own path.

“Once I had gained that confidence, I just went for it,” the designer said. “If you run your own business, you have to be adaptable, as plans are always changing, and there’s never a dull moment. It’s pretty full on, but very addictive!”

Her company's mission is to unite luxurious design with environmental and social responsibility. She searched high and low to root out sustainable suppliers who could offer eco-friendly products while not sacrificing quality.

The dyes are organic, the inks are water-based, and many of the pieces are made in her homeland of Britain. Gambell’s recycled line uses vintage scarves from a recycling plant in Nottingham, and her notebook pages come from a 100-year-old British paper mill. The company also supports a women’s cooperative in India, which educates and rehabilitates disabled adults, allowing them to become self-sufficient. Much of her work is hand-printed right in her studio.

She works to create timeless and preservable pieces that consumers can treasure forever, rather than items that get trashed every few years in favor of newer goods.

“I don’t believe in throwaway design. I think you should invest in key pieces that you will always love,” the designer revealed.

Gambell finds inspiration in her surrounding environment. Her designs are influenced by architecture, the various hues found in nature and film, and the many discoveries she has unearthed in flea markets. She believes the market too often offers the same old story; with her designs, she aims to be different.

“The current market is oversaturated with the same designs and the same colors,” Gambell said. “My products offer timeless design that considers the environment. People are becoming increasingly aware about sustainable fabrics and production methods and are looking for classic design pieces that are made using these principles.”

Currently the designer is busy creating her collection of recycled scarves for Toast each season and assembling a line for The Vorticists: Manifesto of the Modern World, an exhibition debuting June 14 at London's Tate Britain.

Experience all of Gambell's designs on her website, tamasyngambell.com.

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Fashion / Features

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Purple Neon/LadyLUX via Tamasyn Gambell

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