Laura Ashley Fabrics
Welsh fashion designer and businesswoman, Laura Ashley made a huge impact on the world of interior design. Her empire started when she undertook some developing for the Women’s Institute on quilt work, designing napkins, tea-towels, and headscarves. With a small investment between her and her husband, Bernard Ashley, Laura began to print her Victorian style headscarves in 1953. Her talent proved successful, and stores were begging to carry her products. Laura and Bernard were in many ways a “dynamic duo,” with Bernard on the operational side and Laura designing.
Laura’s brand continued to grow at an exponential rate with over 40 stores and 1,000 employees worldwide by 1975. Her attention then went from fashion back to her home base: fabrics. She enjoyed using natural materials to create a 19th century rural appeal while keeping her designs colorful and youthful. Many women enjoy the Laura Ashley brand because it has stayed true to its femininity and heritage. These patterns are offered now through Kravet, and are available for the public to use her fabrics as a platform for their very own creations.
Tragically, in 1985, Laura died as a result of falling down a flight of stairs while visiting her children. Even with the loss of its designer and founder, the company continued to run off of her strong values and design ethos. It is clear that her enthusiasm and dedication ran deeply through the company, because over 50 years later, her products can be seen in stores around the world. Laura Ashley was a true inspiration.