Ren Valuzyte set up Ren London to create simple, beautiful and functional textiles for the home. If you take a look at her striking instagram feed, you will immediately see that Ren is influenced by abstract art, architecture and sculptural pieces all with a very calm and soft colour palette.
Ren’s family are from Lithuania and the mill where she sources most of her linen fabrics is the very same flax mill her grandmother worked in for nearly four decades. Whilst the fabrics are sourced from Lithuania it is in her East London studio that the production and making process take place. All the designs are hand printed using repurposed wooden blocks with the aim of creating contemporary designs that compliment and showcase the natural beauty of the linen. Ren very kindly answered our questions on her most recent visit to see her grandmother.
What led you to set up Ren London?
Initially, just wanting the freedom to work for myself and be in control of my own time. I’ve been itching to do something creative for as long as I can remember, but fear and circumstance didn’t allow it for a while. Then I threw caution to the wind and took up wood working, which in a funny roundabout way led me to textiles. I have a family connection to linen, so I’m passionate about propagating its use because it’s a truly amazing cloth and one of the best choices you can make if you’re mindful about consumption and the environment.
You launched your own womenswear range this year, can you tell us a little more?
I’ve always loved and been interested in clothing, but felt that pursuing fashion was frivolous and I didn’t want to be a part of that world. I realised that it can be done in a mindful way, using beautiful natural fabrics and small batch, local production and decided to give it a go. I already had a great fabric supplier and then found a small sewing company that would help me realise my ideas. It’s a massive learning curve, but so far so good.
Can you describe a typical working day for you?
Up at 8/8.30, out the door by 9, coffee stop at Wilton Way Cafe en route to the park to walk my dog which I usually combine with posting orders. Back at home I’ll jump on my laptop to do any admin or emails for the remainder of the morning. Then either off to my studio to make stock/complete wholesale orders or I’ll work from home testing new prints or sketching clothing. I’ll try to wind it down around 6 or 7, but sometimes I can be sewing or setting prints well into the night if I have deadlines to meet.
What is the most exciting thing that has happened since you founded Ren London?
Running block printing workshops for TOAST has been a really amazing partnership and I’ve recently exhibited in London Design Fair as part of British Craft Pavilion curated by Hole & Corner magazine and they’ve been really delightful to work with. Besides all that, I think just the fact that I have the freedom to do what I love and that my little business is still very much growing.
Who, where and what inspires you?
My partner Jean Michel who has his own business and whose drive and positive outlook I very much admire and aspire to. South Devon coast, road trips around Europe, textiles, abstract art.
What do you use everyday that you wish you had designed?
My fellow designer friend Zoe Morton designed this beautiful palm leaf carrier bag that has these clever leather straps. It can be worn as a shoulder bag or transformed into a backpack. It’s been a lifesaver as I’m always lugging fabrics, clothing and whatever else between my home, studio and whatever pop up shop I’m involved at the time. It’s probably the most stylish way to haul your junk around!
What can we expect in the future?
I’m exploring the textile world beyond linen (which is still very much my first love) and am going to incorporate some hand spun, hand woven organic fabrics into the clothing line as well as woolies for the homeware range.
To see the collection by Ren in our Homeware collection click here
All Photography by Chloe Winstanley for an article in Hole & Corner