42 PRIMA DONNA
Enter Donna Wilson’s world of knitted woodland creatures, cloud cushions and characterful ceramics. Fourteen years after launching her successful brand, she’s expanding her reach with her first bedding and bath collection
How it all began At the Royal College of Art as a textile design student, Aberdeenshire native Wilson started knitting and sewing a cast of colourful and quirky creatures out of lambswool, including ‘Cyril the Squirrel Fox’ and ‘ Wolfie’ the shy spoon collector. After graduating, she started selling them in small boutiques across London. As she puts it: ‘they’re something that I’ll probably always do because they’re really close to my heart. I love having the control over designing the fabrics, and the craft of making them’. Her big break A distributor invited Wilson on a trip to Japan to present her wares. She returned to London to a swirl of orders and hasn’t looked back since. There was never time for a business plan. Over the years, the brand has expanded organically, with Wilson’s east London studio remaining a hub of creativity, along with a network of craftspeople across the UK – there’s an elderly woman in Orkney who has knitted thousands of ‘Cyrils’. Her latest adventures Wilson’s first bath and bedding collection, produced and distributed by Portuguese textiles group Texnorte Industrial Ltd, is hitting the shelves. It features reversible duvets, bath towels, cushions and pillowcases, all sporting the designer’s signature geometric patterns, trees, sausage dogs, doves and rainclouds, with her trademark quirk and charm (£75 for a single duvet set). That’s not all Wilson’s been working on, though. She has also launched her own bi-annual magazine on crafts and creativity activities for kids, MYO (Make Your Own) – subscribe now myocreate.com – and continued to focus on pushing the boundaries of her knitted wares. In fact, she is becoming a bit of homeware empire (donnawilson.com).