The Two of Us | Sophie Tatlow + Bruce Slorach
Creative duo Sophie Tatlow and Bruce Slouch are partners in life and in business. They work together designing homeware collections for their homeware company Utopia Goods - a range inspired by nostalgic Australian fauna and flora. Artist Bruce illustrates all the designs and Sophie produces the collection from Bruce's delicate designs; each design illustrated and hand-screen printed on premium linen cotton. We caught up with them to see why they work so well together and what makes their relationship so unique.
Hi Sophie and Bruce, tell me about when you first met? Sophie: We had a few first meetings and many mutual friends. I first met Bruce back when he was designing a streetwear label in Melbourne and I was a teenager. Several years later I made him a coffee at Bills in Darlinghurst, then we met again through a PR buddy from Mambo at a backyard BBQ.
When did you start working together - when did the Utopia Goods journey begin? Sophie:We started working together 17 years ago - as co-directors of our agency, Deuce Design. These days we’re still side-by-side with Deuce, and now Utopia Goods has joined the party (Utopia Goods came into being in 2012 - years (and years) after we first started talking about it).
What's the best part about working together? Sophie: The trust, respect, collaboration and the bouncing of ideas.
Sophie, what do you admire most about Bruce? His professionalism, creativity and determination. Bruce always has an answer for every design problem, whatever the situation.
What is Sophie most talented at Bruce? Sophie is a visionary, she always sees the big picture. Endless enthusiasm…
How would you best describe the Utopia Goods aesthetic? Bruce: Utopia Goods is a homage to the history of textile design throughout the ages and over the various continents, with a contemporary Australian twist. We are on a mission to create a truly Australian design handwriting that represents our incredible Australian flora and fauna in truly authentic way.
Tell me about your fascination with Australian natives - why are they such a constant in your work? Sophie: Sense of place - they are symbolic of Australia. Real and totally authentic. We feel like they are a metaphor of place, totally unique to this country and as hardy and robust as it is.
What do you love most about the Australian landscape? Sophie: Our landscape feels raw and wild, and there’s that juxtaposition between being real and tough. It says something about the types of people that the Australians are. We are distinct in our attitude.
What's your proudest achievement? Sophie: How can you go past your children! Getting Utopia Goods up and running against the odds (production, manufacturing, ebbs and flows of Australian trade, cash flow) has been given us both an incredible sense of achievement.
What's in store for Utopia Goods in 2017? Bruce: A wallpaper range is coming really soon. Expanding the fabric range. A new NY agent. A NY textile show. We’ve just provided a whole lot of fabric for a luxury French shoe brand that’s opening up in Miami. An art show of Bruce’s illustrations later in the year. There’s plenty in the pipeline to keep everyone on their toes.