Moving to Japan had a big impact on the life of Sydney designer Eloise Rapp. “The Japanese design process exemplifies a huge respect for quality, elegance and function, and this made me certain I should be trying to achieve similar goals with my own design projects,” she says. The move followed four years of working in fashion studios in Sydney after completing a Bachelor of Design in Fashion & Textiles at UTS in 2007. Since returning from Japan, Eloise has been working part-time as a designer and creative co-ordinator for Ken Done studio, and creating her own range of textiles, as well as working as a freelance illustrator and art director.

Which five words best describe you? Observational, rational, passionate, good-humoured and warm-hearted.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? After graduation from UTS, I was lucky to go straight into a role as a textile graphic designer for a small Sydney studio. I worked for various fashion studios before moving to Tokyo in 2010, where I began working on more independent and collaborative projects. Since then, I’ve moved away from the fashion industry and have a more varied career in product development, production, surface design and art direction.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Not everything has to happen at once, and that diligence and considerateness always pays off. Also, wise up to your rights as a designer.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Probably the project I’ve most recently completed – design and production of a range of textile and interior products for The Old Clare Hotel in Sydney. It came about as I was curious about the development happening at my old uni pub. Turns out they were looking for collaborators, and it was just a great marriage of aesthetics, timing and personalities. A very lovely project that wouldn’t have come about if it weren’t for the variety of work I’d completed in my career thus far.

What’s been your best decision? To follow my values and ethical concerns and remove myself from the commercial fashion industry. 

Who inspires you? Activists.

What are you passionate about? Design longevity and creating a more caring, humane society.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Matsuo Bashō, an influential poet from Edo era Japan.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Being able to work on a design project that is accessible and beneficial to people living in poverty, and way too many travel dreams to list in one sentence. I’m in awe of the natural and historical built world, and need to see more of it before it’s razed and dismantled.

What are you reading? A field guide to getting lost by Rebecca Solnit.

images courtesy of eloise rapp; portrait georgia blackie