Friend of Graza: Ellen Van Dusen

Friend of Graza: Ellen Van Dusen

The designer behind Dusen Dusen on finding inspiration in '60s pop artists, letting prints breathe, and her favorite popsicles.

Read this, then check out our collaboration with Ellen—The Mitts—on sale now! 

Q: How do you describe yourself?

E: I'm a designer and small business owner based in Brooklyn NY.

Q: Finish this sentence: Cooking for me is _____  

E: Both relaxing and a thrill!

Q: What's your current favorite grocery store find? 

E: I am obsessed with Outshine tangerine popsicles.

Q: What's your go-to crowd-pleaser meal?

E: When I'm cooking for a big group, i always make stuffed pasta shells (stuffed with quinoa, 4 kinds of cheese, spinach and garlic).

Q: Who do you turn to or follow for design inspiration?

E: My parents, my friends, pop artists from the '60s.

Q: You began Dusen Dusen as a clothing line and it has now evolved into its own universe! What first led you to exploring home textiles and items outside of clothing? What are you most excited about designing now?

E: After designing clothing for 5 years, I found that my favorite part of the process was designing the prints. Home goods gave me an opportunity to explore that in a more focused way, since the product became all about the print (whereas with clothes, the silhouette and pattern work in tandem). There's things I love about designing all of our products, but at the moment I'm deep in bedding. Bedding is fun because of the scale-- lots of opportunity for a print to breathe!

Q: What’s one piece of advice or a practice you see in the design world you think is overrated, overly aspirational, unhelpful, or is otherwise just not the vibe?

E: I think it's not necessary to study design to be a designer. I'm self taught, and I think it has made my approach to design unique and personal.

Q: What is your favorite part of or design element in your home?

E: I had my kitchen cabinets routed in one of my favorite DD patterns, arc. I love the way it came out, and the room itself gets great light and houses a lot of my favorite little design objects. It's a great place to hang out.

Q: What are your all-around life mottos, mantras, philosophies that guide you in your work?

E: Be yourself!

Q: What has been bringing you joy lately?

E: This isn't new news, but my dog. With age she's becoming the best version of herself.

Q: What's on the horizon for you!

E: Next year I'm looking forward to bringing some new product categories to our catalog, a honeymoon in Jamaica and finally finishing a renovation on a house upstate that I share with my brothers.

Check out our collaboration with Ellen, The Mitts, on sale now!