Spotlight: Laurie Robertson
We talk to the founder of Anorak about motherhood, business and badgers
Mention Kissing Rabbits or Proud Foxes and there’s only one brand we can be talking about – Anorak. With its bold graphic prints and distinctive colours, inspired by animals of the British countryside, it’s cornered the outdoorsy market in style. Textiles designer Laurie Robertson launched Anorak in 2008, influenced by childhood memories of family camping trips, and since then the company has gone from strength to strength.
Anorak’s mission is to encourage people to bring a touch of the outdoors inside, and the indoors outside. Its products are functional and practical (wipe clean, light, durable), while remaining gorgeous and fun, with a touch of whimsy. We chatted to Laurie about kids, creativity and what’s next in the pipeline.
What inspires you?
I love things that are functional, compact and, often by chance, with a 70s slant. Everything and anything can influence me – at the moment I am loving 1950s tupperware – but the outdoors is always my main inspiration for Anorak.
Anorak was initially inspired by memories of family camping trips during the late 70s and early 80s. My parents are both painters and we used to travel across Europe on long summer holidays in a mobile home. I remember being packed up in a caravan along with my brother and an array of weird and wonderful camping paraphernalia. From canvas chairs to sleeping bags, everything in the van was collapsible, mobil, and, most importantly, had a purpose.
This sparked off the idea to launch Anorak’s functional, useful products for inside, outside and travelling, featuring bold graphic signature prints with a nod to the retro style of the times.
Do you have a favourite Anorak product?
I picnic a lot with my family and my two young kids, aged one and four years old. We spend most days in our local park and often picnic, as it’s a great way to relax and the kids can run around. So our new snacking boxes are my current fave, because they are perfect for short lunchtime picnics. Also our lightweight picnic rug, which fits in a handbag.
Which other designers do you admire?
At the moment I love the work of Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen. I’m finding their colour palette very inspiring and would love to have their artful, functional products in my house one day.
How do you balance parenthood with running your own business? Have your children had any influence on your designs?
I’m in the office three days a week and have the kids with me the other days. On very rare occasions I bring them into the office (usually this is regretted and ends in a quick exit!). Since having kids we’ve definitely found we’re more drawn to products that work well for kids as well as fitting in style-wise with parents too. We also collaborated with The Gro Company last year – with our prints on their great gro bags. It’s not a brand we’d have known as well before having children, so it’s been a great reason to explore more interesting ways to expand Anorak too.
Your prints and have become quite iconic in a short period of time. Why do you think your designs are so popular?
Well thank you! We like to think that people respond to the fact that Anorak puts function first. All the products we design have a functional element to them and many can be used outdoors. We think what sets us aside is that we sell design-led products for the modern family that have both a functional and aesthetic value. Also, we work hard to make it so the prints can be mixed and matched, as can the product, and the prints work for all ages and genders.
What’s next for Anorak?
We’re keeping to our picnicking roots, so keep an eye out for more outdoorsy products coming up. We hope to extend that side of Anorak more and more, as we’re always drawn to outside living, even more so since we’ve had kids. There’s a new badger print on the horizon too – we’re just perfecting his colours, but should have him out in the wild soon!
You heard it here first! Check out all of Anorak’s fabulous designs at: