Behind the design: Textile extraordinaire Margo Selby

Designer Margo Selby is best known for her three-dimensional fabrics in fashion accessories and homewares including cushions, rugs and wallpapers. She has worked on exclusive creations for The Tate and The British Museum and is a keen promoter of traditional craft. ACHICA Living catches up with Margo to talk top interiors tips, find out which three products she couldn’t live without and she tells us a secret she's never told anyone...

What was it like training at top places such as Chelsea College of Art and Design and The Royal College of art and did you always know you wanted to be a designer?


From an early age my grandmother taught me needlepoint and watching her create her beautiful pieces was a huge influence on my own need for creating.  At Chelsea I naturally fell in love with weaving and never really looked back. The RCA gave me a wonderful opportunity to develop my ideas and it became clear that being a designer was the only thing I wanted to do in life.


The Ann-Sutton foundation gave me the opportunity to weave my designs on industrial machinery, which is how I was able to create the unique three-dimensional fabrics, which I am most well known for.

What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on?


I’m really enthusiastic about collaborations and find it inspiring to work with others on realizing designs.  I have had some amazing opportunities over the years, especially developing exclusive fabrics for some of Britain’s best museums such as Tate, National Galleries and The British Museum.


Any exciting projects coming up?


I am working on new upholstery fabric designs, which means weaving on the loom again!


What’s your favourite personal design?


Being around so many talented designers has a big influence on my personal style and most of what I wear or have in my home is collected from other designer-makers I have met along the way. I love the idea that we support each other and that we are all passionate about each other’s designs!

Describe your interior style in three words?


Eclectic, unique, and colourful.


Who and what inspires you?


A lot of my designs are inspired by my travels around he world, such as the luxurious and meticulously woven saris made in Varanasi-India or the fluorescent colours from the textiles of San Cristobel De la Casas, Mexico, and finally, the refined structural qualities created by contemporary Japanese weavers.


Your fashion items are sold in The Old Curiosity Shop, imortalised by Charles Dickens. What is your favourite Dickens novel?


Wow, it’s been awhile since I have read Dickens. I guess Oliver Twist comes to mind since I love the childish cheekiness inherent to the story!

[Above: Margo Selby cushions]


What three products could you not live without?


  1. Handmade ceramics I collect pieces from makers wherever I go and love to drink from a handmade vessel.

  2. Piles of cushions - you can never have enough cushions and I love the comfort you get from excessive use of them.

  3. Essential oils - I am into feeding all my senses and my home feels complete when I can smell beautifully blended oils burning or some good home cooking.



What’s your top interiors tip?

I have recently redone my house using my own wallpapers and fabrics so that I can understand how to live with them, alongside classic pieces I have been passed on by my family and more funky ones I have collected over the years. The way I design a space is to bring together contrasting patterns, colours and styles, whilst ensuring each room has it’s own story.

[Below: Margo Selby wallpapers]

Tell us a secret you’ve never told anyone?


I once wore a tea cosy to a party thinking it was a hat  - it was a beautiful hand crotchet tea cosy and I only realised later when I found the hole for the spout!


How will you be spending the Jubilee weekend?


I’ll be spending the weekend with my one-year-old daughter and friends at a festival in Kent, which feels appropriately British!

Don't miss the Margo Selby homewares promotion at ACHICA starts on Wed 16 May 2012.

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor