On a recent trip to Hong Kong, textile designer Lori Weitzner spoke with Perspective about creating innovative products while incorporating the holistic design principles that she holds dear
Lori Weitzner always wanted to become a painter. That was until one of her university professors noticed her extremely mature sense of colour and composition. He suggested a switch in major to textile design. "Honestly, I didn't even know what textile design was," she says, "but I did switch my major from painting, and I have never looked back."
Once completing her studies, Weitzner found work, yet she was determined to carve a path in the field independently. "I just quit my job, and my parents couldn't believe it. I put a portfolio together and tried to sell my designs in New York. It was the early '80s, and they all said that my work was good, but too contemporary for the American market. So I signed up for a trade show in France. I took 48 of my designs with me and in the three days I was there, I sold every one."
Following up from this success, Weitzner decided to stay in Europe for a time, selling to industry stalwarts like Missoni before returning to New York. It was now the mid-'80s, and the textile market had started to open up somewhat. Weitzner landed a role with one of the leaders in the textile world, Jack Larsen, and her innovative designs meant she was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to design collections for his range that bore her name.
From 2000-2012, she collaborated with German brand Sahco, a role which she attributes to giving her the ability to design successful product ranges for various countries. "I was working for this German company who sold all over the world, and I had to design collections that would sell well in Germany, sell well in America, sell well in Saudi Arabia — it was hard. So I had to learn."
But despite these steep learning curves, all of the experiences led to the opening of her own brand, Weitzner, in 2004. "When I started with wall coverings, I didn't want to call it a 'wallpaper company'. I wanted it to be innovative furnishings for the wall," she notes. And this is how Weitzner positions itself as a completely unique brand in the industry. A few years ago they added textiles to their portfolio, garnering favour from many high-end commercial clients for their beautifully designed, yet hardwearing products.
This is a preview of the "The Art of Holistic Textiles” article from the September 2015 issue of Perspective magazine.
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