Made in Hackney: Ella Doran’s popular designs include bikes in the borough

Ella Doran. Photo Paul Wyatt

Ella Doran. Photo Paul Wyatt - Credit: ella doran

Each week, the Gazette takes to the streets to unearth something being manufactured right here in Hackney. This week we speak to Ella Doran who creates her iconic photography-inspired homeware designs at her studio in Lawford Road, De Beauvoir.

Ella's bike design

Ella's bike design - Credit: ella doran

Having studied printed textiles at college, she knew she wanted to do “her own thing” when she graduated in 1997. She spent six months working at a print works in Africa – “a visual attack on her senses” – and came back with lots of imagery ready to set up her own business with a Princes Trust loan.

She told the Gazette: “It was pre-digital where I would use my photos as inspiration, but at that point we were able to start experimenting with the process of applying new digital photographic images on every day products. I rode that wave and grew the brand and name quickly because of its notoriety and the seminal moment.”

Ella’s patterns decorate the likes of plates, blinds and bags which are then sold by the likes of Conran and Heels. They include leaves, flowers, camouflage and even “bikes of Hackney”.

“That is one of our popular ones,” said Ella. “It incorporates lots of bicycles people could probably spot.

“I’ve always taken my inspiration from my visual interpretation of the every day.

“It might look like you “just put the pattern on that and it looks nice”, but you don’t know the half of what goes into making something good, that’s designed well visually and in material. It’s a time consuming role.”