December 22, 2014

Rouda is the project of Melbourne-based textile designer Megan McNeill. Capturing the essence of child-like inspiration whilst thoughtfully balancing surface pattern with form, Rouda is a harmony of playful charm and effortlessness through simple styles with a hint of tongue in cheek.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. Hello! I am Megan, I am a textile designer from Melbourne, Australia. I graduated from university two years ago, where I majored in Print Design. I work full time in a design studio for a commercial homewares brand, and do some freelancing on the side. Recently, I have started my own clothing label, Rouda which has probably been one of the most challenging things so far. Rouda acts as my real creative outlet that isn’t constrained by colour palettes or commercial viability and I can design without inhibition. I enjoy hand painting and experimenting with materials and different printing techniques.

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Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why?

My morning starts like this:
1. sightunseen.com– My friend introduced me to this website a couple of years ago and it has become my first search every morning at work, aside from Rouda, I work in a very commercial homewares design studio so this website is a nice thing to open up my day with really cool furniture, graphic design, ceramics and textiles. I also love seeing what people’s houses look like on the inside, so it’s always a treat when they visit the home or studio of someone- although it will make you want to do a complete overhaul of your house!
2. designfiles.net– This is undoubtedly Australia’s most popular design blog, if there is a new or up and coming designer, artist, shop, Lucy and her amazing team are on it. They have really good sections like Tasty Tuedays, and a New Kids On The Blog section, as well as feature really beautiful homes across Australia, which is probably the best part.
3. www.missmoss.co.za– I basically want to live in this blog! It is like a dreamy holiday!

How has living in Melbourne affected your work? I think being in Melbourne (a city of about 3 million) has been really integral to my work; it is a city that is big enough in that a lot of people around Australia move here to pursue creative careers, but it is small enough that everyone still kind of knows everyone. The people here are so supportive and are really encouraging, so that has really helped Rouda especially in getting out there. There’s a really good live music scene here too, so aside from launches, opening and exhibitions, you can always go and see your friends’ band playing down at the pub for a bit of release!

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What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Right now, I am really influenced by early 20th century textile designs by Sonia Delaunay or Dagobert Peche, and anything with a weird colour palette that seems so wrong it’s right! I am a bit of a Japan-o-phile, so I would have to say i’m really inspired by Japanese tiles/ ceramics and the onsen experience!

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? Alongside Rouda, I have been a part of a textile design collective for about four years called Full Drop Co.; it comprises of six textile designers, with work specialising in print, knit and weave and we get together as much as we can to work on projects (only four members are currently residing in Melbourne). We create a risograph calendar every year which showcases print designs that we have been working on over the year, and we are just about to launch out 2015 version which is really exciting. I also have another collab in the pipeline with Melbourne artist/ furniture maker Brodie Wood; after being “friend set-up” we have become great pals, and are now working together on a small homewares and furniture range which will include textile pieces for the home on my part.

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If you were a drink what drink would you be? Espresso martini- not only do I love them to death, the cocktail is a bit like me, quite a bit of pep, but after a while the alcohol kicks in it gets a bit confusing.

What designers are you interested in right now? A really cool clothing label from Melbourne called VERNER, they have just come out with a new range, and it is perfect! Cool, convertible dresses, really beautiful fabrics and really interesting product ideas, like a sleeveless robe that almost resembles a hotel beach towel!

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What past trends in fashion should never come back? Haha, you can never say a trend won’t come back. Just at the point that the trend becomes so gross and you think it’s the most disgusting thing ever, it’s ready to make a comeback!

Tell us about your work process and how it develops. If it’s a self directed project, I try to be a bit regimented with my work progress trying to make a deadline, but recently I have been doing a lot more collaborations with friends, and these are happening more organically, and we can work on them when we wish which has been a very enjoyable experience!

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What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? This is a hard one! I would probably have to say Wilson’s Promontory, in Victoria, Australia, about 3 hours from Melbourne. It is such a beautiful place and you can go camping there and there are wombats EVERYWHERE, they come up to your tent and you can pat them. It’s a national park so it really untouched and serene, there are mountains you can climb and really beautiful beaches. The sun setting on the huge rock formations are seriously awe inspiring!

What were you like in high school? I was a bit of a nerd-burger, hanging out in the art room all the time, but high-school was a really great time. I was very content making things just for the sake of it; it’s important to remember why you are doing something especially when things like work and deadlines become overwhelming.

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Favorite article of clothing? Anything black or grey marle!

Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? My friend George does this really funny thing when she sees something of mine she really likes, mind you, at first you might not know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, it’s a bit of an in joke between us, she basically tells me to fuck off and can’t talk to me for a while haha.

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