Sketches to Textiles: Rouda

Doodles become playful, colorful apparel for the Melbourne-based label

by Chérmelle D. Edwards

Doodling is the root of all of Rouda‘s final products. While sketches to textiles to wearable pieces might not seem to be a stretch in terms of process, the brand’s founder—Melbourne-based Megan McNeill—certainly has an adventurous and playful approach. First appearing in winter 2014, Rouda’s “Positive/Negative” collection was a monochromatic boutique hit. When returning with this year’s A/W collection (called “Fiesta”), McNeill used her doodles to create whimsy with a palette of colors that appear in patterned prints on everything from twin-sets to poncho blankets.


Drawing since the age of four, McNeill only began crediting the art form as part of her creative process as a textile designer six years ago. “It wasn’t until I was 19 that I realized I could use my drawings for textiles. At the time, I was studying textile design and really like it,” she tells CH. With this creative fire reignited, Rouda began an explorative journey of simple designs with the patterns and fabric as the focal point—accented with trims and embellishments.


Working with inks and acrylic, McNeill’s doodle-to-design process is informed by the theme of her collection. “For my current collection ‘Fiesta,’ I was researching a lot of Mexican textiles for my other job [working in a homewares design studio] and began painting motifs inspired by embroideries for Rouda,” she says. “I also somehow found myself watching a documentary on Mexican competitive dance troupes that wear pointy cowboy boots during their competitions. I started painting these crazy colored and out-of-proportion boot shapes that became one of my prints.”


The result is vibrantly hued boot motifs and cactus gardens, imaginative patterns and playful backgrounds. The apparel is a perfect blend of adult and child-like, stylistically interesting and still functional—the over-arching vibe, however, is a sense of tongue-in-cheek fun. She tells CH, “Thankfully specializing in textiles rekindled my love for design.”


Rouda products are available online, with prices starting at approximately $120 AUD.

Images courtesy of Megan McNeill