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PROFILE: Amy Sia, Expat Pattern Designer at Surtex 2016

Amy Sia is an Australian-born, London-based pattern designer. She sells her dreamy yet colorful designs through her own line of products, and you can also find her scarves, cushions, and bedding in retail stores like Anthropologie, Kohl’s, and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Amy Sia Profile_scarf_1Doni (Culturs’ Founder),  and I caught up with Amy in Manhattan, New York during Surtex 2016, the trade show for licensing and sourcing original art and design, and asked her about her background, cultural differences in designs, top tips for new designers, and what’s next for her eponymous line.

This transcript has been edited for flow.

Doris Füllgrabe: We’re here with Amy, born and raised in Australia, and now in London, and you’re a pattern designer!

Amy Sia: That’s correct – I started out in fashion, that’s my background, that’s what I studied in Melbourne, and now I’ve slowly made my way into the pattern and textile design world. I’ve always loved painting and drawing as a child, so that’s why I pursued this career path.

DF: What prompted your move from Australia to the UK?

AS: Australia is a wonderful place to live, it’s sunny, gorgeous, there’s lots of space to live, but I got a bit bored and really wanted to work in a more creative environment. I had spent some time working in the fashion industry (in Australia), but there is a lot more opportunity in London. As an Australian it’s quite easy to get a visa, and it’s English-speaking, so I thought – you know what? Let’s try and do that! I had visited before and loved it, so I moved about five and a half years ago to pursue a textile and print design career.

You need to persevere, because it takes time to be good at anything in life.

DF: How would you describe the cultural differences you see in the art between Australia and the UK?

AS: I think climate has a lot to do with what people are attracted to, so in Australia I tend to sell a lot of bright colors and bold prints, whereas in the UK the climate is colder, everything is much more muted, and people are attracted to more subdued designs. I also find that my work is really bright, and it tends to resonate with people in Latin America, South America, Portugal, and Spain, so places where there’s a warmer climate, more light, and a beach definitely helps!

DF: For those of our readers who also want to go into the design world, what would be your top three tips?

Amy Sia Profile_scarf_2AS: The first thing is not to give up. You need to persevere, because it takes time to be good at anything in life. When you begin, it’s probably not always going to be that nice, but you just need to keep going, and take time and practice to perfect something.

The second thing is, make something you love. If you don’t love it, chances are it will be more difficult to find someone who does.

The third thing I would say is, if you want to be in the design world and make things sellable, think about whether you would want to buy it. Do you love it? The question I ask myself is, “who would buy it? Does it make me really want to buy it?” That’s my testing point.

DF: What’s next for Amy?

AS: We have some beach towels here, we’re working with a company called Westpoint Home, and hopefully these will be coming to market next year. I think they would be a perfect extension to the work I do. Being from Australia and loving and growing up by the beach, it’s a dream to do a line of beach towels, and hopefully you’ll see them in store soon!

DF: Thank you so much for your time, hope you had a great show, and looking forward to seeing you again!

I may not live near a nice beach, but I can’t wait to lounge on one of those towels in Central Park. If you’d like to check out her line, visit Amy Sia’s website and join the 193k+ who follow her on Pinterest.

Listen to Sia’s advice on Design Success:


By: Doris Fullgrabe

Doris Fullgrabe is a German-born multi-national expat. She has over 10 years experience in leadership development, culture, and personality type coaching for expats and international teams, and is currently exploring creative avenues. Doris lives in New York City with her Spanish husband.