Style Connoisseur

Hook, Line, and Sinker

Designer Dawn Oliveira traded the New York City skyline for Bristol’s rocky coastline and never looked back

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In a historic brick building on High Street in Bristol you’ll find the light-filled workshop and retail space of Oliveira Textiles and its founder and creative director Dawn Oliveira. After years of working in New York City, first for places like Liz Claiborne and then for herself, Oliveira returned to her Rhode Island roots in 2007 to create in “more healthful surroundings.” Inspired by the seaside, she introduced The Ocean Collection, a line of contemporary patterns printed on hemp and organic cotton, available to the public by the yard along with finished pillows.

What are some of your favorite colors?
Admittedly, I am completely seduced by jewel tones: crimson, deep blue, viridian. At home I lean toward deep reds, ivories, whites, mixing in blue, grey, and khaki. In fashion I’ll wear literally any color if I love the garment.

Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere. Outdoors, indoors, libraries, museums. And often a found object, cast shadow, or trippy sunset can inspire. It’s about paying attention.

How does that style translate to other parts of your life? For example, does your home or business reflect that style?
My current home is filled with simple furnishings – many found, a few new, and lots of art on the walls. I keep trying to get rid of stuff in order to live more minimally. I’m finally at the point in life where only the most loved objects and art matter to me. We all just need less. My studio is quite another story. It can get a bit messy and cluttered since I usually have several projects going on at once. But as long as I’m being super productive, cleaning can happen later.

How would you describe your personal style?
Back in my NYC days when I was working in fashion, I was always au courant, shopping sample sales all over the garment district and staying trendy. Since returning to Rhode Island, however, I’ve chilled out with my fashion obsession. That’s the Zen of living in a quieter, cleaner, coastal setting like Bristol. If I had to define a personal style, it would be “Casual Modern”. I have a forever-appreciation and love for exquisite design but really enjoy a relaxed vibe in both home and fashion now. Over the years I’ve pared down my daily attire to a simple tee, printed skinny jeans, some chunky wedges, and a great pair of earrings. Though I will admit to still owning a rack full of black. You can take the girl out of the city…

Oliveira Textiles
220 High Street / Byfield Building, Bristol
401-332-9898