Limited Edition: Art of the Rug
Katia De Witte, director of Limited Edition, tells TLmag how she has turned her receptiveness to new ideas into one of the brand’s greatest assets.
Limited Edition perfectly combines the value of the centuries-old tradition of weaving with new technologies. The brand enjoys an international reputation, while priding itself on its Belgian identity. Katia De Witte, director of Limited Edition, has turned her receptiveness to new ideas into one of the brand’s greatest assets. To give an example: submitting high-end carpets to the critical gaze of an artist, even at the risk of a surprising result. This family business, specialising in the bespoke, is now celebrating its 25th anniversary, even as it constantly renews itself.
TLmag: Limited Edition is marking a quarter of a century. How did the adventure begin?
Katia De Witte: I have always had a passion for textile and colour. I wanted to create products with extremely meticulous finishings, to take each rug to another level. Little by little, the company grew: first my brother, and then my husband joined me to move it forward. Today, around 100 people work for the company, which is based in Mouscron, my family’s home town. At the beginning, we specialised in sisal rug borders, and in side finishes and edges. Then we began buying up companies that needed some support. These companies wove and tufted beautiful luxurious carpets, with beautiful, noble materials: silk, wool, linen, cotton. We renovated their collections, while retaining the high quality of the products. Today, we have an international reputation, supported by the seriousness and the quality guarantee of Belgian production.
TLmag: Does this Belgian identity define Limited Edition?
KDW: It is certainly a part of our DNA. We train our artisans: transmitting knowledge is paramount. Most young tufters, weavers and couturiers are trained on site, by experienced artisans. We have strict quality requirements, and the work must be perfect. The border, the lines, the colours: everything must be impeccable. That has to be taught. Through repetition, the young artisans learn to work autonomously, but it takes two to three years.
TLmag: Is this expertise also one of your primary strengths?
KDW: We are the only company in the world that brings together so many different techniques: weaving, tufting, sewing, finishing, dying, etc. We try to combine the various techniques, because we master all of them. Right now, for example, we are working with a new woven leather collection.
TLmag: Where do you find your inspiration?
KDW: I travel a lot, as does my team. We go to trade shows, we meet clients, we keep ourselves up-to-date with trends… The stylists make proposals, we discuss them, we transform them into designs, we prototype them, we verify the scale, we rework them … this all takes time. We are finalising the 2018 collection, and we have been working on some of the projects for a year. We need to find the right ‘thread’, try it out on the loom … each collection is a wonderful adventure. I pay very close attention to colour association, which creates emotions. For the colours, as well as the techniques, you have to go beyond the obvious and create interactions.
TLmag: Do you collaborate with designers?
KDW: We are always looking for Belgian or international designers who will enrich our ideas. We have collaborated with Diane Steverlynck and Tomáš Libertíny. With Tomáš, we created a custom-made rug that is exhibited at Spazio Nobile Gallery. It was very interesting. Creativity is freedom…so how do we reconcile that with our constraints? We had to question ourselves. We asked ourselves: how are we going to produce this? We made prototypes and we successfully turned a project into a reality. This enabled us to move out of our comfort zone. This is the kind of experience I am seeking. Tomáš didn’t have a textile approach, and his design was special; transforming it was a wonderful challenge.
TLmag: Limited Edition also has a sister company: 2tec2. What is its story?
KDW: The brand is 10 years old, and focusses on another sales niche. We produce vinyl threads that we weave ourselves. 2tec2 is more oriented towards the professional market, so the volumes are larger.
TLmag: Let’s get back to the brand’s 25th anniversary. You have called upon the talents of artist/photographer Frederik Vercruysse. How did this collaboration come about?
KDW: We wanted to work with an artist to promote the two brands, to take a different look at our work. Frederik Vercruysse came to the factory, with carte blanche: I didn’t want to give him any instructions, because I was curious to discover what he would see and take away from our work. For example, he photographed the underside of a carpet, and it was magnificent. He took pictures of our machines, which have a very futuristic feel. We would never have thought to take photos like these. Today, the photographs are travelling and being exhibited internationally. The dialogue with artists and designers interests me very much. Those who visit the factory see the magnitude of the possibilities: the techniques, the colours, etc… they are very enthusiastic. And on our side, this allows us to continues to learn and grow.
WBDM – Wallonie-Bruxelles Design Mode is closely collaborating with TLmag for interviewing a selection of Belgian talents in fashion and design from Wallonia and Brussels, in order to promote them on the international scene.
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