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In the Picture with Colours of Arley founder, Louisa Tratalos

In the Picture with Colours of Arley founder, Louisa Tratalos

ARTCH Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

LT I’m the founder of Colours of Arley, but before Colours of Arley I worked as an interiors and portrait photographer. My background as a photographer means I’ve always had a passion for telling stories about people and the spaces in which they live. This is the ethos that drives the brand, we make bespoke striped fabric, and encourage people to tell their story through their unique colour combination choices.

Louisa Tratalos founder of Colours of Arley

ARTCH Colours of Arley is a stripe-lovers paradise, can you tell us about your love affair with stripes and how this inspired you to set up your brand?

LT I designed a dog bed for my rescue terrier Patch and found it so difficult to find the right stripe, options were limited. So, I commissioned my own and had so much fun in the process.

Colours of Arley invites others to design their own stripes, based on personal memories or inspired by the spaces that they inhabit. We create stripes for banquettes, curtains, garden seating and accessories and even shower curtains. Since launching the brand, I have been obsessed with the history of stripes, and even had an exhibition in our East London store earlier this year. The exhibition explored stripes throughout time, from the uniform of butchers, barbers, prisoners and the devil, to its associations with seaside and childhood.

Louisa Tratalos founder of Colours of Arley

ARTCH What was the first piece of art you bought and what made you buy it?

LT I don’t remember the first piece of art that I bought, but the last piece was a print from Joe Sweeney which says ‘Big Boy Breakfast’ from an exhibition at my boyfriend’s bookshop, Record 28 Books. The print now sits in the kitchen above our dining table, and I love it.

ARTCH Piece of art (attainable or not!) you’d love to own?

LT I’d love a Studio Lenca, a couple of friends have early paintings of his, but I think I’ve missed the boat on that one.

Studio Lenca

ARTCH Can you tell us about your favourite collaborations so far and why?


LT We’ve had amazing opportunities to work with a huge range of brands and people, from The Body Shop, to Glassette, and Ladurée. But I’d have to say my favourite has been with fashion designer, Adam Jones. Together, we’ve collaborated on a collection of recycled bags which are all based on colour combinations inspired by his hometown of Wrexham. I also have an ongoing collaboration with Christie Leigh, the amazing florist, and we do a lot of creative projects together. She also does the flowers for our Hackney Road store!

ARTCH Your colour combinations are amazing.. How do you go about choosing them?


LT I always encourage people to choose colour combinations that remind them of something that they love, a meaningful photograph or a particular dessert. I see colour combinations everywhere I go, and I always share a roundup of stripe inspiration from my trips on our Instagram, @coloursofarley. Colour combinations can be inspired by snacks, visits to nail salons, architecture or an old poster, it’s often the most unexpected places where I see the best combinations.

ARTCH Current favourite colour combination?

LT Shutters & Pear, we’ve chosen it for the cushions and the wallpaper in the seating area in the store and even the lampshade. A bright, light aqua inspired by wooden shutters on holiday, with a soft, subdued green found in freshly ripened pears.

Colours of Arley

ARTCH Current favourite artist to watch?


LT Layla Andrews, she’s currently got a show in Margate with Tracy Emin. It’s so nice watching her career grow and I love her obsession with putting crabs and lobsters in her pieces. I’m a Cancer, so I love crustaceans.

Artist Layla Andrews

ARTCH What’s next for Colours of Arley? Anything exciting in the pipeline you can share with us?

LT We specialise in fabric made of recycled plastic bottles, but we’re also launching some amazing new recycled natural fabrics which I’m excited about. I’ve also designed something a bit extra for Patch’s 10th birthday. I like doing over the top things for him, especially as he inspired me to start the business in 2022.

ARTCH If you could have done one thing differently in your career so far, what would it be?

LT Sleep more and drink less coffee.

ARTCH Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

LT Look after your teeth.

ARTCH And worst?

LT Be realistic.

ARTCH How would you suggest people bring colour into their home in small ways?

As a photographer, I always ask people to look at the art and photography they have in their homes to inspire colour choices. Choose tablecloths based on colours in a painting you have above your dining table, or choose cushions for your lounge based on a framed photography print. You can even bring colour in using mount paper or the frames themselves (like the colourful striped ones you’ve launched!) Oh, and I often tell people to choose a detail in the photograph or artwork, not the main colours... so it's not too obvious.

ARTCH We’re supporting Arts Emergency this year who do amazing work supporting young people from under-represented backgrounds to get into the arts. We’d love to know why you think this is so important for our society?

LT The arts need people from under-represented backgrounds, this perspective is important and needs to be valued in culture whether that’s art, film or theatre. Art helps people to dream, and create. Everyone has creativity in them, everyone deserves an opportunity and space to explore. If people are denied this, then there are grave consequences for society, it’s important that whole communities feel valued.

Thanks so much for chatting with us Louisa. You can follow Colours of Arley here and browse our new framed prints with striped frames, 'Benji Boat' and 'Mermaid Margot'.


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