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We were able to catch up with Ellen Van Dusen, creator and designer of Dusen Dusen in her Brooklyn based studio. Bright and bold, Dusen Dusen, is known for it's forward patterns and color. Ellen's acute sense when it comes to mix and matching colors, and how it will make someone feel, is just one of many things we admire about her. Did you know she created her own major in "Psychology of Design" while she was attending Tufts University in Boston? We had a great time visiting Ellen and her sweet pup Snips!
Tell us a bit about Dusen Dusen
EVD: Dusen Dusen started as a clothing line in 2010, where I was hand sewing garments in my bedroom and paying myself about $5/hour for my labor. Since then it has evolved into a clothing and home textiles company run out of a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Our focus is on color and pattern, and making things that are fun, comfortable, sophisticated but never too serious.Color plays such an important role in our daily lives, in what ways do you bring this aspect into your designs?
EVD: I love and have always loved color. Right now I'm coming out of a yellow phase and moving into green (though yellow will always be my #1). I get so much pleasure out of color and balance, and I try to mirror that joy in my clothes and textiles.What comes first the patterns or colors?
EVD: Great question! Usually the pattern. I'll then try a ton of different color combinations until I find the right mix.
You recently traveled to Portugal, what was your favorite part of the trip?
EVD: I went to Portugal with my best buddy Helen. I went to visit my towel factory, and Helen visited a bunch of ceramics manufacturers too. While that part of it was really special and exciting to see in person, my favorite moment of the trip was when Helen and I went to this huge, packed food court for dinner one night. It was so crowded it felt like being in times square. I was getting the food while Helen was looking for a table to sit, and all of the sudden I heard this giant crash and the entire place went silent for like, 4 seconds. I went to find Helen who looked totally panicked and she mouthed to me, IT WAS ME !!! She was moving a tray someone left behind with all this seafood carnage and it slipped out of her hands, all these dishes broke very loudly and stuff went everywhere. I have never laughed harder or for longer. What’s one thing everyone should be doing more of?
EVD: Being more conscious about plastics! Including myself. I am starting to feel so stressed about all the disposable plastics in my life. Save the turtles!!!What’re your go to tools you use to get out of a creative rut?
EVD: When I'm in a rut, I go outside. Sometimes you need to get out of your workspace in order to come up with new ideas. I'll usually walk around the block with my dog or go on a candy run. I eat way too much candy, but I have no plans to curb that habit.
What did your younger self want to do career wise, what would they think of what you’re doing now?
EVD: I always thought I'd be a fashion designer! I made clothes all through middle school and high school, and it was always my dream to have my own company. I think if my younger self met me now I'd be like, Ellen, you're still the same guy. And nice haircut (it's the same as it was when I was 8).
What has been your greatest accomplishment as a designer and business owner?
EVD: My greatest accomplishment is making things that people feel like they can express themselves in.
What do you listen to when you’re working?
EVD: Recently I've been making playlists on themes-- the moon, colors (organized in ROYGBIV order), songs about birds or the ocean. I like giving myself a 'rule' and making a mix that is cohesive and that flows well, so much though that you may not notice there is an explicit 'theme' at all (unless you are listening for it). This is kind of how I work with patterns too-- giving myself a rule or set of rules and going from there.
If you were a color, what would you be and why?
EVD: Yellow! It just feels right.
What is one show everyone should binge watch?
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