In conversation with: Jason Kenworthy, CEO at ILIV

With London Design Week behind us and summer optimistically in front of us we thought it was the perfect time to find out a little more about the fabric inspirations ILIV has in store for the seasons ahead…

interview with Jason Kenworthy ILIV

ILIV is a family owned business based, appropriately, in Lancashire, a region known for its weaving and printing all things fabric. Over the past year the company has invested heavily in research to identify new markets and trends, and as a result have launched a number of new collections across all sectors. We caught up with CEO Jason Kenworthy with a few questions in hand covering subjects from sustainability to serenity.

HD: Can you tell us about your new collections for 2022 – the trends and inspiration behind them?

JK: Over the next couple of months, we will be introducing two brand new drapes into our plain drapes selection, one a herringbone weave and the second a simple two tone weave. We have some exciting launching on the horizon over the course of the year including an oriental- inspired print collection, boucle upholsteries and reworked colours of some of our favourite designs.

In our residential sector, we have four fantastic collections on the way, from an all-stripes collection to a Bauhaus inspired geometrics collection. Portland has a mix of timeless and signature stripes of varying scales, skilfully constructed using 100 per cent cotton. Woven in a range of heritage colours, the collection spans anchoring neutral shades to bolder accents.

Enchanted Garden celebrates the brilliance in botanical gardens from birds of paradise prints to architectural Yucca and palm fan leaves and co-ordinating, small-scale geometrics. The collection was inspired by a maximalist movement, depicting vintage archive style florals influenced by tropical flora and fauna.

Water Meadow on the other hand, takes a calmer approach to interiors with delicate hand-painted watercolour florals and landscape scenes portrayed through an array of soft boucle and digitally printed textures inspired by the beautiful British countryside.

Inspired by the world of art and the Bauhaus movement, Geometrica is an energetic and unique collection inspired by geometry, pattern and asymmetric design with an exciting and vibrant colour palette and more luxurious bases including embroideries and velvets.

Geometrica fabric collection in grey and black tones by ILIV

Image credit: ILIV

HD: What are the top textile trends coming through that we can see both in interiors, and in your collections?

JK: With an emphasis on sustainability and protecting our planet, we are starting to see a lot of trends on the catwalk and in soft furnishings circling around nature from organic, dry textures to bodacious and bright florals, trees and plant designs. We’re also seeing a lot of richer colour palettes and art deco inspired designs with geometric and architectural shapes and curves which playfully reinvent trends we found in the sixties and seventies.

HD: Tell us a little more about ILIV. Where it all started and plans moving forward?

JK: We were originally founded in 1987 in Lancashire, England and we remain immensely proud of our Northern Textile Heritage. Today, SMD is a truly global business designing in Britain, manufacturing in Europe and the Far East and selling to over 50 countries worldwide.
We travel extensively to find the very best ethically compliant mills. With offices in the UK and Far East we pursue a tireless drive to develop fabrics that are highly innovative, creative, technical, of the highest quality and most importantly great value.

Launched in 2013 the ILIV brand was created quite literally from the brands values to Inspire our customers, Lead the market, Involve our customers and bring great Value.

Through photography, creative sampling, co-ordination, an inspirational web site, our trend videos, versatile fabrics, and service with personality, our aim is always to present our products in a way that inspires creativity and confidence.

Our plan going forward is simple, it’s to continue to offer the world beautiful ILIV fabric collections for both our Contract and Residential partners, with the plan to offer them even more operational excellence, from growing our customer service team to launching our new online ordering platform for fabrics and made to measure curtains.

HD: There are a lot of conversations around sustainability at the moment – with the tone being around celebrating reuse over recycling. ILIV has a Sustainable Plains collection, but how else are you confronting concerns around sustainability?

JK: Sustainability is something that we have been building into our business strategically over the last 3 years, and we are still on our own journey to becoming a more sustainable business. An obvious first step was to be able to offer our customers a wider variety of sustainably lead fabrics, which we are now building into our day-to-day design process. We are also working closely with our suppliers to ensure that their manufacturing processes are having a reduced impact on the environment, an example of this is the introduction of waste water management systems and investment in renewable energy. ILIV are also in the process of going through our own carbon footprint audit, implementing new policies, measures and procedures to reduce our impact as a business on the environment.

HD: Another buzzword is biophilic design – do you have any designs and collections that are responding to the biophilic brief?

JK: Within the ILIV contract collections, we’ve recently launches two collections inspired by biophilic design which have taken varying approaches, from hand painted watercolour wild grasses to architectural geometrics and show-stopping tropical florals.

Inspired by serenity, the Serene collection has been designed to bring calmness and tranquility to interior design, a strong trend which has swept the nation during the global pandemic. Serene has a well-balanced mix of beautiful hand-painted watercolour florals and more commercial geometric patterns, designed with upholstery projects in mind.

Influenced by warmer climates, the Exotic Garden collection comprises six coordinating design from tropical origins. The collection ties in elements of the outdoors from leaf details to intricate exotic plants helping create a beautifully balanced space. This collection was launched shortly after the first UK lockdown and hit the ground running. I think we were all dreaming of those sunny getaways that we were deprived of!

HD: Other than durability, are there any other considerations and differences between a contract and a residential fabric – or is there more of a crossover developing between these design requirements?

JK: Depending on the space, there are many more technical variables to contend with in contract environments starting with flame retardancy but spanning durability, water-resistance, acoustic, antibacterial and even light-reflective values and colour fastness to light. Commercial environments are far more challenging with more stringent guidelines making It a more thought-through process for our designers. Many of our fabrics from our residential collections can be FR coated, giving more flexibility for designs to tie in more diversity into their schemes.

HD: With all the colours and textures on display across the ILIV collections, do you have a personal favourite?

JK: A hard question to answer as there’s so many amazing textures, colours and designs across the ILIV ranges and with every season launch, I find myself loving more! But one of my most recent favourites is the Kelso and Harlow collection which is made from 50 per cent British wool and is manufactured in the Yorkshire Dales. The fabrics have a soft melange effect and look fantastic in the bolder colours!

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