15 Minutes with Erin Fetherston


Known for building a global fashion empire of romantic and ethereal designs and cultivating a massive fan following, Bay Area native Erin Fetherston is now making her mark in the world of interiors. Like the dainty frocks she once produced, her residential design projects are light, airy and sophisticated. We spoke with Fetherston about the differences between the two practices, her dream client and what shapes her design perspective.

Photo by Ryan Garvin

What has been the greatest creative shift working in interior design versus fashion?
The shift is how different it is to work on the human body versus working with three- dimensional spaces and volume. As a fashion designer, I was always draping fabrics on myself or would throw on samples as they came in to get a sense of how the fit was developing. With interior design I have had to learn different tricks to visualize volumes in space. I always keep my measuring tape next to my desk and will compare the measurements of furniture or rooms against pieces in my office or home to give myself easy references for scale.

How does your expertise and experience with growing a global fashion brand contribute to your design business? I find the fundamental creative process of interior design is very similar to fashion. You start with a concept and then have to execute your vision in the most strategic and resourceful way.

What has been the biggest challenge thus far in your design career?
I think I still struggle with how to show the creative process unfold on social media. When I was starting out as a fashion designer, social media didn’t exist yet. It was all about the big reveal on the runway. Now people really want to see the behind the scenes and that doesn’t come naturally to me. I prefer to share an end result that I feel is 100 percent complete.

How does being a mother of two influence your approach to design?
As a mom, I’m very interested in the durability and livability of materials. I think it’s so important to love the aesthetic of your home, but you also want to make choices that can stand up to the wear and tear of family life. I also think about layouts differently now that I’m a mom. For example, I encourage all my clients who are expecting or who have young children to consider the sight lines from your kitchen, where you inevitably spend a considerable amount of time. You want to have the maximum range of visibility to all your children’s play areas (indoor and outdoor) so you can keep an eye on them while cooking. I’m a big fan of the kitchen sink being in the kitchen island for this reason; it allows you to face your family while doing meal prep versus having your back to them.

-Who or what inspired your career the most? I’m forever grateful for the years I lived in Paris at the beginning of my design career. I originally moved there to attend Parsons School of Design in Paris and I ended up staying there for five years, and that’s where I originally launched my womenswear collection. I learned so much about aesthetics, design and how to develop one’s own creative universe from my time in Paris and I feel that it still serves me today.

What is your favorite digital inspiration source for design? I am loving the new Domino Kids site, for my own home and so many of my mom clients.

-If you could design a home for anyone, who would it be? Gwyneth Paltrow!

What artist or manufacturer are you currently obsessing over? I’m actually really obsessed with some of the modern modular pre-fab home builders out there. I would love to collaborate with one of the leading studios in this space on a vision for pre-fab homes.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you do? Something in the health and wellness space. I’ve always been passionate about nutrition and clean living.

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