Sharon Crowson, The Design Archives

By Matt Balmer
March 6, 2019

Sharon Crowson established The Design Archives two years ago, based on a vast archive of old prints, fabrics and sketches amassed by her father

When was the business founded, and why?
I founded The Design Archives in 2016 as I had taken over the huge archive of historic fabrics and prints collected by my father Derek Crowson, who founded Crowson Fabrics.  I wanted to bring some of the most beautiful and iconic designs back to life, recolouring and rescaling the designs for today’s interiors.

How many staff?
We have a team of four plus our UK and global sales teams.

Where is it based?
We have a showroom in the Worlds End Studios, Chelsea.  The huge archive is kept in West Sussex, adjacent to my family home.

What is your latest significant achievement/project of note?
We have just launched our latest collection – the Jewel collection, which is inspired by some of the most vibrant and eye-catching designs in the Archive. It is coloured from ruby reds to cool, elegant opals – very sophisticated and right on trend for 2019 maximalist design.

What is your best selling product?
To date, Malaya from our first collection, Archive 1, is proving very popular. The design is inspired by an Eastern batik-style block archival print. It comes in a number of colourways, which make it a perfect coordinating design. The Grosvenor design from Archive 1 is also popular – a beautiful and traditional well-balanced flowing trail and coloured in delicate vintage shades.

I’ve just discovered…
The most beautiful book of historic chinoiserie fabrics from Paris in the archive. They are beautifully coloured and exquisite designs. I’m hoping to develop them for a future collection. That’s the glory of the archive – there are so many surprises! 

Who inspires me…
My father, Derek Crowson, whose drive, ambition and eye for colour and design never ceases to amaze me.

I’ve always been a fan of…
Manuel Canavas, because his use of colour on traditional design inspires a contemporary look.

My highlight of the last 12 months…
Expanding into the US market where I am thrilled to find huge interest in The Design Archives.

My next design trip is to…
The US to visit the showrooms from West to East Coast.  We have representation all the way from LA to Boston – very exciting.