Interiors insider: Sophie Gaze of Andara


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The Independent Online

Sophie Gaze read Structured Textile Design at Leeds University before working for a leading furniture and home accessories store.

She teamed up with old friend Tiff Bagnall, who worked for Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler, to create Andara, a lifestyle brand specializing in block printed textiles from India. ‘The most important part of what we do is to work closely with small, local artisans who we meet along the way,’ says Gaze. ‘Our priority is to preserve and celebrate their traditional techniques, learning from their generations of printing experience whilst striving to keep our designs new and fresh.’

I’m excited about… working with the local artisans in India. They are a constant and exciting source of inspiration for us. The passion and skill that they have for block printing, colour and design is infectious.

My favourite place for buying furniture is… Opium on the Kings Road in London. It is an Aladdin's cave for the most incredible antiques and beautiful decorative objects, all of which are sourced from India. In particular we love the antique doors which look stunning as a piece of mounted art.

Sunbury Antiques Market is… great. It requires a bit of forward planning as it is only open for a couple of days per month and a really early start is in order but is well worth the effort. There are plenty of unusual finds at surprisingly reasonably prices. Go with a clear idea of what you are after and then just trust your instincts.

My design philosophy is… to keep our products affordable whilst maintaining a sophistication and attention to detail.

I am most proud of… our new Beach Collection which launches this Spring. It is colourful, beautiful and with plenty of pom-poms and tassels. We cannot wait to show off our bags, sarong towels, scarves and clutches.

Our biggest design challenge so far is… maintaining a careful balance between the colours and designs of vibrant India with those of British styles and trends.

On the design scene, I admire… Mara Hoffman. She creates swimwear but her use of colour and pattern in her fabric designs is so inspiring.

For design shops, I rely on… Anthropologie. I love the quirky little details within their products. Their stores are always such incredible spaces and immaculately finished. The boutique/ market type layout of their collections makes shopping there so enjoyable.

My favourite resource for inspiration is… Pinterest. The images are endless and trends come through so quickly. We are avid followers of blogs such as Habitually Chic, SF Girl By Bay, Miss Moss.

We are loving the fact that… colour has come back into recent interior trends. Whilst neutral tones provide a great backdrop, a splash of colour in cushions and throws gives a room so much more warmth and interest.

The most interesting interiors always… reflect the inhabitant’s personality. A lack of individuality in a house is a real shame.

At the moment, I love… jet set colours and patterns like the Mexican folk embroideries, the African tribal designs and antique Indian textiles.

The trends I’m keeping an eye on are… neon and wanderlust.

My dream project would be… designing the fabric for Isabel Marant's latest collection, designing a capsule collection for Fenwicks or doing up a beach house in Goa.

Annie Deakin is interiors writer for sofa and interior design website