East London Cloth make household linens and soft furnishings by hand, following traditional practices, all from their studio in East London. Their pieces are classic, understated and beautifully made, designed to stand the test of time and be passed down through the generations. Earlier this summer, they worked with Pentreath & Hall on a pop-up shop and are soon to embark on a project with embroidery artist Cressida Jamieson.
We met with founder, Gemma Moulton earlier this summer to discuss her exciting new plans, the struggle of work-life balance when owning your own business and her favourite London haunts.
Have textiles always been something you wanted to pursue a career in?
I had always wanted to pursue a career in fashion, but when the start to a new job was delayed by six months, I took an intermediate job in a silk mill. I found so much joy in the textiles and in having a more practical role. So after a stint working in fashion and then antiques, I decided to re-train. I took a course in upholstery and soft furnishings, but chose to pursue the soft furnishings, as it seemed like the path less trodden. After five years of making curtains to other people’s designs, I longed for some creative control. The opportunity finally presented itself in lockdown, when East London Cloth was born.
What do you find the most challenging about owning your own business?
Balance. It’s easy to let your work consume your whole life, as there’s no clear definition between work life and home life. Especially as I started working from home, the lines became very blurred. So for the first year I didn’t really take a day off. Now, as things are starting to grow and the business has its own space and it’s not just me, things are becoming more organised, and there’s more time for a life outside of work.
How would you describe your interior style?
Cozy, imperfect, traditional. I prefer old characterful furniture and obviously lots of soft furnishings!
Do you have any favourite spots in London?
I finally found time to visit Townhouse Spitalfields recently, it’s brilliant for antiques, artisan pieces and exhibitions, plus they serve the best tea and cake. The Georgian features have been beautifully conserved, if East London Cloth ever has a shop, its design will be based on the Townhouse.
Do you have any exciting new projects coming up that you’d like to share with us?
I’m currently working on my own range of curtains and blinds, named ‘Curtains by post’ and later in the year I have a collocation launching with embroidery artist Cressida Jamieson.
How do you use scent in your home?
A good natural fragrance sprayed on my soft furnishings – fabric holds scent really well. I also love a good quality candle, and of course the smell of freshly washed laundry.
How easy is it to practice sustainability within your business?
We try to consider sustainability in every aspect of our business. Our linen is sourced in Ireland and our manufacturing is done in London. Our packaging is either paper or fully compostable. There are still so many aspects we’d like to improve on, for example packaging from suppliers can often be pretty plastic heavy, but making improvements where possible is always at the forefront of our minds.
What is your favourite Evermore scent and why?
I love Venus! My Nan had a room where she used to cut, dry and arrange flowers from her garden, which always smelt amazing. The scent reminds me of that room.
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