Whiteman and Mellor Fabrics, founded by interior designers Camilla Whiteman and Greg Mellor was conceived when their hunt for affordable print fabrics for their own client projects hit a dead end. Created using locally sourced cottons and linens in their Cape Town print house, their aesthetic is inspired by global heritage prints, with a laid-back elegant feel - in our Q&A with Camilla and Greg we discuss how to use print in the home (clue - anywhere and everywhere!), plus they share their interiors know-how on how to make a house a home...
Tell us a bit about your design backgrounds
We are both interior designers, with a passion for textiles and document fabrics.
What sparked the idea for Whiteman & Mellor fabrics?
We were struggling to find affordable locally produced printed fabrics for our client projects.
Do you think certain prints lend themselves to certain uses in the home?
We are both very happy to use them on anything - upholstery, curtains and even walls as an alternative to wallpaper. The price point means that we are not afraid to use fabrics with a weight meant for curtaining as slip covers.
Tell us more about the raw materials used in your fabrics.
All of our base cloths are locally sourced using 100% cotton or linen.
Why was it important to you to print locally? What techniques do you use?
We use both screen printing and digital printing, depending on the design we want to create.
How has the brand evolved since you launched?
We have introduced some lines with a higher price point and more complex designs, but we don’t forget our original concept - affordable, easy-to-use designs that don’t take themselves too seriously.
What’s next for Whiteman & Mellor?
We would love to expand more in to homeware and bring out our own range of lampshades, throw cushions and quilts.
Where do you go for inspiration when you’re in a design rut?
We explore traditional textiles - suzani, ikat, fez embroidery, Indian palampore...
Which makers/designers/interior brands do you admire?
Like many designers - Robert Kime is a constant inspiration, Marie-Caroline Willms does wonderful work, also Michael Smith.
What are the finishing touches that make a house a home?
Books and art, pattern, humour, comfort and those special meaningful pieces.
What are your tips for mixing prints in a room?
Be brave, there are no rules, an eclectic mix is always the best.
What are your favourite pieces in your own home?
Greg: I have an Anglo Indian rosewood cupboard I love, a Batavian kist; and a silk Uzbek suzani. Camilla: A “collector’s table” with all our favoutite finds from holiday chachkas to sentimental pieces from our family, our Michael Taylor painting and House of Hackney entrance hall wallpaper.
Which is your favourite room in your home?
Greg: my sitting room; Camilla: my kitchen/sitting room, the two interlink with original 1930’s stained glass pocket doors, the space works so well for use as a family or for entertaining.
As a designer, where do you think it’s important to invest when renovating a home?
Doors and windows’ and interesting accent fabrics.
What do you think are the synergies between Hadeda and Whiteman & Mellor? Our shared love for locally crafted products.
Which are your 3 favourite Hadeda pieces?
Needless to say Whiteman & Mellor fabrics as well as their Malawi cane and Madwa pieces.