Self-confessed colour addict, Barbeline Lusandu, tells us about her design journey – from childrenswear to interiors – and how her childhood in the Congo helped shape her love for print.

 

On the journey to Barbeline as we know it today…

My design career started in 2012, when I launched a children’s clothing brand called Barbeline. Although I’d always had a passion for interiors, I went into childrenswear instead as I wanted print and pattern to be in everything I did, and the minimalist and Scandi trends in interiors at the time didn’t allow me to do this. It was later on in 2015 that I created my interiors brand under the same name.

Before all of this I worked as a nursery nurse and when I had my son I had to sacrifice that job. I’m so glad I did because starting a children’s brand was the most exciting thing ever and I was so happy to wake up in the morning and get things done.

 

On the highs and lows of running a business…

Posting orders is probably the hardest part and I would say, more broadly, that business itself has not been an easy thing to do. My favourite parts will always be designing new prints and artwork.

 

On going green…

Barbeline offers eco-friendly fabric, wallpaper and cushions, while promoting non-toxic processes and less waste in production. For me, this was a natural progression as I used to design children’s clothing using organic bamboo and raising my son with organic food and body creams gave me the idea to keep all of the interiors eco-friendly and organic too.

 

On her love of bold print and colour…

I’m from the Congo in Central Africa and as children we used to hand sew our own fabric dolls, and the doll’s clothes, using African prints. I did this from the age of seven so, for me, designing prints has always been in my nature and it’s been a very long journey to get it right! I also used to design houses for my dolls made out of cardboard, with curtains, windows, doors and furniture so my passion for designing both fashion and interiors has always been there.

Before moving into interiors, friends would come to our home in East London and say how much they loved the punchy patterns and colour we had in every room, so I began making cushions and lampshades for them.

 

On what’s next for Barbeline…

I’m so proud of the progress we’ve made, from using Liberty London prints to designing our own, but I’m also excited about what comes next. I’m looking forward to expanding to custom-made men’s and women’s clothing, furniture and home accessories.

 

 

View the Barbeline collection