Aelfie Oudghiri aims to bridge the gap between histories, cultures, and globalization with her inspired textiles. Using ancient techniques to weave fresh, eye-popping colors and designs, she's quickly becoming the queen of modern home decor.
Who are you?
I started my work in vintage and antique textiles and transitioned into designing and producing carpets in 2012.
You studied Religion at Columbia and were a research assistant in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies. How do those experiences (if at all) inform your work?
My education also frames my work as a designer. I think in terms of genealogies. A question I always ask is how does this design relate to the history of that particular craft and relate to what is happening now? How can I situate this product in a meaningful way? We are living in a time that to me feels extremely severed. The internet, along with globalization and urbanization, has brought us together horizontally but we are severed vertically from our histories, from our earth, from our physical communities. And one of the cultural prices we pay for that is the disappearance of certain age old crafts, like carpet weaving or embroidery. I think about that a lot, and in my itty, bitty way I am trying to build a bridge there and make sense of that.
As a maker where every piece is your brainchild, how do you feel when people buy/love your stuff?
I feel amazing. It is a delight every single time.
You love color, playful patterns and juxtaposition. Have you always been an aesthetic person? How has your “style” evolved, both personally and with Aelfie, in particular?
My personal style is always in flux, but the brand's aesthetic has been pretty consistent since it's launch. Loud, adventurous, goofy yet refined and well made. It's a fun line to walk.
Over time AELFIE has evolved to be much more collaborative. I was originally doing all the design work, but I am now in a position to bring on other talent and creatively direct, which has been fantastic and really gratifying.
Right, you do a ton of artist collaborations - how do you find your design partners and what’s that process like?
The process totally depends on the artists and their work. Sometimes it's as simple as an email exchange. Sometimes, like with Alex Proba, we work together for months and it feels like magic.
Tell about the importance of “home.” What does it mean to build and furnish a home? What is your approach to interior design?
Home is a feeling - it's a level of comfort. Home is where you take your shoes off, where you make love, where you eat pasta with your hands while binge watching Law and Order SVU. It is unlike any other space, which is why I absolutely love designing for the home and being part of people's nesting process.
If anyone could own a piece, who would you freak out for?
Susan Sontag. I so wish she was still alive.
Have you always been or felt entrepreneurial?
I couldn't hold a job if you paid me to.
Why do you love Brooklyn?
Love is a strong word.
Fair. Then what inspires you in general?
All kinds of stupid stuff. I love giphs. I love ceramic dogs. I love bawdy illustrations. And of course, I really love textiles.