In partnership with Toast, we meet the House of Quinn founder who swapped menswear for quilt making.
Textiles were bound to be part of Julius Arthur’s life, given a childhood spent doing crochet and sewing with his mum, and a summer job at Truro Fabrics—one of the UK’s largest fabric shops. Following a fashion design degree and four years working in menswear, Arthur left clothing behind and, from his fabric remnants, fashioned a new calling in quilts. Since 2016, when he transitioned from fashion to contemporary crafts, his textiles practice has gone from strength to strength. With his emerging label, House of Quinn, Arthur is now part of Toast’s inaugural class of New Makers—a mentorship program for designers working in contemporary crafts.
Quilting isn’t the most obvious choice for a young designer with a background in fashion. What drew you to it?
A quilt is about home, daily life, where you’ve been and who you’ve known. It’s about stories and history. I hope people take one of my quilts and 20 years down the line, it’s changed hands and ended up who knows where.
How do you source your materials?
The materials I use all have a second nature. I forage for one-off textiles, buying ends of rolls from suppliers or straight from the factory, or offcuts—things that can’t be used. I look for stories in fabric—I think a fault is the best thing. Maybe it hasn’t come out of the dye vat properly and that color is actually better than the one they were going for in the first place. It’s magical when you discover something that’s perfect for what you need. And then when you work the fabric into an item, it has a second life.
Does your personal history influence your work?
I try not to imbue the work with too much of my own memory. The last collection was called En Tir, which is Cornish for “the land”. My parents are Cornish, and I grew up there. Back then, it was always somewhere I wanted to escape. But now when I go back, I appreciate it—it’s a great chance to reflect. The land is so important to Cornish history, with mining being a major industry. For En Tir, I looked at the landscapes of the old mines, using textures and colors from the rocks, and shapes from traditional tools.