Call it eternal sunshine of the restless mind, but Dusen Dusen has always had the capacity to awaken the imagination with even the simplest line drawings. Designer Ellen Dusen is obsessed with textiles, which she renders with drawings based on whatever is flying her fancy at the moment. For spring? It’s canines, watermelon and The Dirty Projectors—a seamless evolution for the designer who last invited the Arcade over to her Brooklyn studio to talk sharks and knapsacks. Ellen confesses that spring is her favorite season, and with popsicle brights leading the charge for 2013, it’s certainly the sweetest season.
Does the design process start with a theme?
This collection was inspired by the Memphis Design Collective, a design group from the 80s that worked with patterns, unexpected color combinations and simple, geometric shapes. They made everything from bookshelves to flatware to rugs. I am a huge fan of their work and it resonates well with my aesthetic, so looking through their gigantic body of work was a great starting point when fleshing out the collection.
What does this collection mean to you?
I think this collection is very me—I tend to gravitate towards the spring palette and sensibility more than fall. It’s a fruity and very colorful group. When I was growing up my family referred to me as “watermelon Ellen,” (it’s my favorite food and always has been). The watermelons in the collection are particularly personal!
Are there any secrets of the studio we might share?
My dog is the real creative force behind the line—she calls all the shots!
What other artworks have inspired you recently?
I have recently been listening to The Dirty Projectors’ Swing Lo Magellan on repeat. It has such a unique sound, it’s one of my favorite things that’s come out in a long time. I am really inspired by their work ethic. They take the music really seriously and will work on each detail until it’s perfect. I read something a while ago about how they will work for hours and hours in the studio on a harmony that lasts for seconds. If you’re gonna do it, do it right! I think they’ve really nailed it with this album.
2013 is just around the corner. What are you excited about for the new year?
I’m really excited about some of the new stuff I’m working on for Fall ‘13. I’m sourcing for it now, and I’m incorporating some new things like embroidery and raw silks. It’s really fun for me to work with new materials. Plus I plan on doing a good bit of traveling in 2013!—Angela Cravens